The Center has sought to advance new fields of scholarship and teaching in Asian American Studies since its founding. The individual work of the Center's faculty, staff, and students, as well as the larger-scale projects of its affiliated research institutes, continue that legacy.

In conclusion, UCLA has in its possession the most highly regarded and valued intellectual resource in the nation, the Asian American Studies Center. Under the able leadership of the director and the faculty, the Center has become the preeminent center of Asian American studies.

Fifteen-Year External Review Committee, 1999-2000


UCLA has the largest and most diverse faculty in Asian American Studies in the nation, with nearly forty professors who teach and undertake research on Asian Pacific Americans from disciplines ranging from History to Urban Planning, and Literature to Public Health. All are members of the Faculty Advisory Committee of the Center.

History -- "Recovering Our Buried Past"

We set three goals: an attempt to accurately assess our past, to attain a clear understanding of our present situation, and to pose plausible, well-defined visions of our future.

"A Message to Our Readers"
Amerasia Journal 1:1 (March 1971)

One of the original goals of Asian American Studies was to replace long-standing, inaccurate, and demeaning myths and stereotypes about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with accurate knowledge and fresh analysis. This goal directed our historical studies of the past, our social science research of the changing conditions of contemporary Asian Pacific America, and our projections and creative visions of the future.

UCLA has played a leading role in our understanding of Asian American history. Current Center history professors Valerie Matsumoto, Henry Yu, Michael Salman, and Vinay Lal are following in the footsteps of stellar historians who helped to pioneer the field of Asian American history, such as Yuji Ichioka, Alexander Saxton, Roger Daniels, Franklin Odo, and Ronald Takaki. Their path-breaking, award-winning books include Farming the Homeplace: A Japanese American Community in California, 1919-1982 by Valerie Matsumoto; Thinking Orientals: Migration, Contact, and Exoticism in Modern America by Henry Yu; The Embarrassment of Slavery: Controversies over Bondage and Nationalism in the American Colonial Philippines by Michael Salman; Of Cricket, Guinness and Gandhi: Essays on Indian History and Culture by Vinay Lal; The Issei: The World of the First Generation Japanese Immigrants, 1885-1924 by Yuji Ichioka; The Indispensable Enemy: Labor and the Anti-Chinese Movement in California by Alexander Saxton; Coming to America: A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life by Roger Daniels; No Sword to Bury: Japanese Americans in Hawai'i during World War II by Franklin Odo; and Strangers from a Different Shore by Ronald Takaki.

The Center's faculty has also provided graduate training to an extraordinary group of historians throughout the United States and around the world, including Gary Okihiro (Columbia), Sucheta Mazumdar (Duke), Renqiu Yu (SUNY Purchase), Catherine Ceniza Choy (UC Berkeley), Arleen de Vera (SUNY Binghamton), Chris Friday (Western Washington), Linda Maram (CSU Long Beach), Amy Sueyoshi (San Francisco State), Daniel Lee (Japanese American National Museum), and Richard Kim (UC Davis), among others.

Literature and Humanities

Asian American writers have reclaimed the voices and hearts of individuals and communities-- of migrants and refugees; of women, men and youth; of gays and lesbians; of generations in the Americas, in Asia, and the Pacific region. In addition, the Asian American scholars and writers at UCLA have influenced the understanding of literature nationally and internationally; their works are read and taught in China and Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Poland, Italy, and Canada.

Deeply committed to creative writing, literature, and the arts, the Center has helped to recruit a core group of scholars and creative writers to its affiliated faculty and as Regents lecturers. Their award-winning works have placed the Center at the forefront of both defining the field of Asian American literature and of expanding the canon of short stories, novels, and poetry within American literature.

Selected works by Center-affiliated faculty and fellows include: Articulate Silences: Hisaye Yamamoto, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Joy Kogawa and Words Matter: Conversations with Asian American Writers by King-Kok Cheung; The Americas of Asian American Literature by Rachel Lee; Phoenix Eyes and other Stories by Russell Leong; Narrating Nationalisms: Ideology and Form in Asian American Literature by Jinqi Ling; The Barbarians are Coming by David Wong Louie; Writing Modernism in Semi-Colonial China, 1917-1937 by Shu-mei Shih; and Year of the Dragon, Donald Duk, and Bulletproof Buddhists by Frank Chin, 2004-2005 UC Regents Lecturer.

The Center's faculty has worked with creative writing students on honing their craft, including writers Jennifer Tseng, Mika Tanner, Jeff Chang, Steve Hosik Moon, and David K. Song.

History, after all, is the version of the victors. . . . Literature, on the other hand, documents the version of the conquered. I'm on the side of literature.

Wendy Law-Yone
from Words Matter: Conversations with Asian American Writers (2000)

Social Sciences

The Center has sponsored a number of large-scale multidisciplinary research projects that examine economic, political, and social trends involving Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the context of changing racial relations in Los Angeles and across the country.

Pioneering Asian American sociologists Lucie Cheng and Harry Kitano and psychologist Stanley Sue have paved the road for current social scientists of the Asian American Studies Center to continue a rich tradition of making theoretical and empirical contributions in a variety of disciplines. Those who analyze the contemporary Asian American experience through multidisciplinary approaches include Kyeyoung Park and Marjorie Kagawa-Singer (anthropology); Paul Ong (economics); Cindy Fan (geography); Don Nakanishi, Thuhuong Nguyen-vo, and James Tong (political science); Anna Lau and Cindy Yee-Bradbury (psychology); and Min Zhou (sociology).

Influential books by UCLA professors who utilize a social scientific approach to Asian American Studies include Labor Immigration Under Capitalism by Lucie Cheng; Japanese Americans by Harry Kitano; Asian Americans: Social and Psychological Perspectives by Stanley Sue; Asian American Politics by Don Nakanishi; The New Asian Immigration in Los Angeles and Global Restructuring by Paul Ong, Lucie Cheng (and Edna Bonacich); The Korean American Dream: Immigrants and Small Business in New York City by Kyeyoung Park; Growing Up American: How Vietnamese Children Adapt to Life in the United States by Min Zhou.

Many leading social scientists in the field of Asian American Studies received their graduate training at UCLA, including Yen Espiritu (UC San Diego), Leland Saito (USC), Carolyn Wong (Stanford), John Liu (UC Irvine), Teresa Williams-Leon (CSU Northridge), Diane Fujino (UC Santa Barbara), Dean Toji (CSU Long Beach), Jennifer Abe-Kim (Loyola-Marymount), Sumie Okazaki (University of Illinois), among many others.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have actively sought to be recognized actors in the grand theater of American public policy and politics and have undertaken an ambitious agenda for social change, improved quality of life, and inclusion.

Paul Ong and Don Nakanishi
AAPI Nexus 1:1 (2003)

Professional Schools

The Center has been committed to the development of research, teaching, and professional practice in service Research to Asian American and Pacific Islander communities by the major professional school disciplines. The Center has the largest and most diverse group of faculty who have sought to integrate Asian American Studies with professional school disciplines such as the arts (Lucy Burns, Lorraine Sakata), education (Mitch Chang, Don Nakanishi), film (Robert Nakamura), social welfare (Ailee Moon), public health (Roshan Bastani, Emil Berkanovic, Marjorie Kagawa-Singer, Snehendu Kar, Ninez Ponce), law (Jerry Kang), library and information studies (Clara Chu), management (William Ouchi), medicine (Nancy Harada, Takashi Makinodan), psychiatry (Kaz Nihira), and urban planning (Shirley Hune, Lois Takahashi, Paul Ong).

Professional school faculty affiliated with the Center include Roshan Bastani, Marjorie Kagawa-Singer and Ninez Ponce of the School of Public Health, who are at the forefront of research and public outreach focusing on the high incidence of breast and cervical cancer among Asian American women and the need to collect ethnic-specific health information.

Center Professors Jerry Kang (author of Cyberrace) and Rachel Lee (author of Asian America.Net: Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Cyberculture) have been among the nation's leading scholars in understanding how Asian Americans and America's racial and ethnic communities have been challenged by innovations in new communications technology such as the Internet.

Higher education and diversity research by Center Professor Mitchell Chang of the Graduate School of Education has had an impact on the national debate and legal deliberations dealing with affirmative action. His most recent book (with Witt, Jones, and Hakuta), Compelling Interest: Examining the Evidence on Racial Dynamics in Colleges and Universities (Stanford University Press, 2002), was cited in the majority opinion written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra D. O'Connor in the Grutter v. Bollinger (University of Michigan Law School) decision.

A growing number of faculty members across the nation received their graduate professional school training with an Asian American Studies specialization at UCLA, including Tarry Hum (Queens), Ayanna Yonemura (Loyola-Marymount), Zeus Leonardo (CSU Long Beach), Anthony Antonio (Stanford), Eunie Shrake (CSU Northridge), Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales (San Francisco State University), Pauline Agbayani-Siewart (CSU Los Angeles), Erin Wright (Director of the San Manuel Band of Native Americans, San Bernadino), among others.