Forum

Advancing a Vision of Asian America: The Role of Higher Education
Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Noon to 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time
Zoom event (RSVP)

Hosted by Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies (AAADS), UC Berkeley, Asian American Research Center (AARC), and AAADS Community Supporters

Speakers

The forum will explore the roles of Asian American Studies and of higher education institutions in addressing the challenges and opportunities facing Asian American communities. Speakers will discuss how Asian American studies have seeded many grassroots organizations that have been central in building community resilience. They will also discuss the revived movement to advance Asian American Studies and Ethnic Studies, more generally, at the K-12 education level and on college campuses across the country.

Attendees will also be shown a preview of “Making Waves: The Rise of Asian America,” an upcoming documentary by Jon Osaki exploring the impact of Asian American studies programs across the country. The documentary examines the long-term outcomes of organizations and groups that emerged from the early ethnic studies movement as well as more recent efforts to establish new academic and community programs.

This event is free and open to the public. If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting/CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.) in order to fully participate in this virtual event, please contact aarc@berkeley.edu or (510) 642-0813 with as much advance notice as possible and at least 7-10 days in advance of the event.

The Asian American Research Center is part of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues

This event is funded by a generous grant from the Minami Tamaki Yamauchi Kwok & Lee Foundation. We thank the MTYKL Foundation and especially foundation board member Donald K. Tamaki for their support!


Statement from Ling-chi Wang for AAADS Forum on March 16

Nearly a decade ago, I came out of my retirement and returned to Berkeley to lead a fundraising campaign for the Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies (AAADS) program in conjunction with the program’s 50th anniversary.

I was concerned about the steady erosion of the faculty strength and budget support of the very first, and arguably, one of the best academic programs in the U.S. but also an alarming resurgence of ugly and vindictive racism, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and white nationalism.

The resurgence of hate was at that time marginal, but has since entered the mainstream, becoming the new normal in all aspects of American life and worse, occupied the center of political power in the country. Unapologetically these forces are in the process of negating the civil rights progress and gains made since the 1960s.

I helped found Asian American Studies in Berkeley in Fall 1969 as an interdisciplinary field of study of Asian American history, culture, and community to which I devoted my entire teaching, research, and service career.

Before 1969, this program did not exist anywhere in the U.S. In fact, the word, “Asian America,” did not even exist in the American vocabulary and back then, Asian Americans (Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, etc.) were collectively and derogatorily known as “Orientals,” a sub-human species. They had neither history nor identity in American history and culture other than being objects of contempt and convenient targets of racial exclusion and discrimination.

Now, because of the founding of Asian American studies more than 50 years ago and the creation of new perspectives and knowledge, Asian American experiences and contributions have slowly made their way into the curricula of most research universities and elite liberal arts colleges and some public schools across the U.S. and we have new concepts and analyses for understanding our history and our rightful place in America.

The need for a strong and vibrant AAADS is greater now and will be through the foreseeable future. We must never stop fighting for the future of Asian American Studies in Berkeley.

~ Prof. Ling-chi Wang