The Center for East Asian Studies hosted a “Roundtable on Race in Asian America” for students, staff and faculty on Sept. 29. Participants were encouraged to discuss what it means to be Asian American and share personal stories. Pictured is Takeshi Watanabe, assistant professor of East Asian studies. Watanabe teaches Japanese Culture through Food and Life in Premodern Japan.
At left, Long Bui, visiting assistant professor of American studies, and Alton Wang ’16 moderated the discussion. While at Wesleyan, Wang studied sociology and government, chaired the Asian American Student Collective and taught a course on Asian American history. He currently works in Washington D.C. at Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote and serves on the Board of Directors for the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership.
Bui’s work crosses numerous fields that involve the study of race, gender, sexuality, community/identity, neoliberal political economy, transnationalism, globalization, area studies (Southeast/East Asia), science and technology, visual culture, media communications, and history. This fall, Bui is teaching Asian American History, Asian American Gender and Sexuality, and Techno-Orientalism.
Grace Wong ’18 and Sarah Small ’18 are members of the Asian American Student Collective.
Joan Cho, assistant professor of East Asian studies, assistant professor of government, shared that she is a “1.5 generation Korean American,” meaning that she was born in South Korea, and by choice, naturalized to become a U.S. citizen. “Being a 1.5 generation helps me to relate to different experiences and perspectives of first generation (Asians living/studying/working in the U.S.) and second generation (those who are more likely to identify themselves as ‘Asian Americans’),” she said.
Ying Jia Tan, assistant professor of history, attended the discussion to learn about the concerns of Asian-American students. He spoke about his experience as faculty advisor to the Asian Students Association at his previous institution and drew parallels between the racial categorization in his home country of Singapore and the United States. The term “Asian American” was analogous to the “others” category in Singapore.
Mary Alice Haddad, professor of government, professor and chair of East Asian studies, professor of environmental studies, organized the discussion.
Yamil Velez, assistant professor of government, teaches Racial and Ethnic Politics and Political Psychology. His research focuses on the topic of public opinion toward immigration in the United States.
Elijah Jimenez, who is double majoring in East Asian studies and African American studies, speaks at the roundtable. The event was co-sponsored by the Deans of Division I and II, the Office for Equity and Inclusion and Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life. (Photos by Olivia Drake)