Seeing Our Lives: Research Fellows

The Center hosts a 9-month Visiting Scholar sponsored by the Institute of American Cultures (IAC) and a 15-week Scholar-in-Residence annually.

IAC-AASC Visiting Scholars

First Name Last Name Institution Department Project Title/Name Years Awarded
erin Khuê Ninh University of California Santa Barbara Asian American Studies Perfect Lies: Passing for the Model Minority 2019-2020
Josen Diaz University of San Diego Asian American Studies Configurations of Martial Law: The US-Philippine Cold War and the Making of Filipino America 2018-2019
Crystal Baik University of Southern California (USC) American Studies and Ethnicity Demilitarized Futures: Korean Transnational Artists and A Poetics of Division 2017-2018
Tanachai Mark Padoongpatt University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) Ethnic Studies Thais That Bind: Food and the Making of Thai American Los Angeles 2016-2017
Isabela Quintana New Mexico State University History Urban Borderlands: Neighborhoods and Nation in Chinese and Mexican Los Angeles, 1870s-1930s 2015-2016
Margaret Rhee UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies How We Became Human: Race, the Robots, and the Asian American Body 2014-2015
Sharon Luk University of Southern California (USC) American Studies and Ethnicity The Life of Paper: A Poetics 2013-2014
Lily Anne Yumi Welty UC Santa Barbara History Multiraciality and Migration: Mixed Race American Okinawans 1945-1972 2012-2013


2020: Jane Nguyen

Jane Nguyen, a co-founder and core organizer of Ktown for All, has led outreach and policy advocacy since May 2018 when the organization was founded to counter-protest protesters of a proposed homeless shelter in Koreatown, Los Angeles. Nguyen is active with the Services Not Sweeps coalition as a founding member and serves on the board of Invisible People, a nonprofit that uplifts the experiences of unhoused people and produces news and educational materials that reaches millions of viewers worldwide.

As part of her residency in 2020, Jane Nguyen will fully dedicate herself to the work of building a grassroots coalition throughout Los Angeles that provides direct aid to unhoused residents, fights for dignity, and housing for all.


2019: Tanzila "Taz" Ahmed

Tanzila "Taz" Ahmed is an activist, storyteller, and politico based in Los Angeles. She currently is a Campaign Strategist at the Asian American new media organizing group 18MillionRising.

Taz was honored in 2016 as White House Champion of Change for AAPI Art and Storytelling. She is cohost of The #GoodMuslimBadMuslim Podcast that has been featured in Oprah Magazine, Wired, and Buzzfeed as well as live shows recorded at South by Southwest and the White House. An avid essayist, she had a monthly column called Radical Love and has written for Sepia Mutiny, Truthout, The Aerogram, The Nation, Left Turn Magazine, and more. She is published in the anthologies Modern Loss (2018), Six Words Fresh Off the Boat (2017), Good Girls Marry Doctors (2016), Love, Inshallah (2012) and poetry collection Coiled Serpent (2016). Her third poetry chapbook Emdash and Ellipses was published in early 2016.

Taz curates Desi music at Mishthi Music where she co-produced Voices of Our Vote: My #AAPIVote Album (2016) and Beats for Bangladesh (2013). Her artwork was featured in Sharia Revoiced (2015), in Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center's "H-1B" (2015), and Rebel Legacy: Activist Art from South Asian California (2015). She also makes disruptive art annually with #MuslimVDay Cards.

As a part of her residency in 2019, Taz incubated a digital audio storytelling project that would provide Asian American political education to new Asian American activists. Framed as an audio advice column delivered through podcast format, the monthly show will highlight various questions about the movement with some of the leading AAPI thinkers and doers of our generation. "The fellowship provided an opportunity to step into a space of reflection and thinking — an opportunity as a rapid response organizer I rarely get. I was able to have engaging conversations with both students and activists and I am looking forward to building out a narrative to share based on these conversations." The podcast will be released in conjunction with 18MillionRising.


2018: Yvonne Yen Liu

Yvonne Yen Liu is the co-founder and research director of the Solidarity Research Center, a worker self-directed nonprofit that advances solidarity economies. Over the last decade, she has authored participatory research projects on alternative economic practices in partnership with low-wage service workers, migrant farmworkers, incarcerated workers, and indigenous communities. Her research has led to the $15 minimum wage increase in Los Angeles, which is a $5.9 billion boost for over 720,000 low wage workers. Her work also contributed towards the decriminalization of street vending, a $504 million industry plied by 50,000 microbusinesses on the streets of Los Angeles.

She serves on the board of the United States Solidarity Economy Network and co-convened a cohort of Asian American community-based organizations who are building worker cooperatives to increase community wealth and to empower their members.

As part of her residency in 2018, Liu explored the history of solidarity economies in the Asian American immigrant and refugee experience, to find lessons from past economies, based on mutual aid and cooperation, to guide future community economic development and forge collective economic agency. "This fellowship provided me with the opportunity to deepen a participatory research project aimed at lifting up the history and contemporary practice of solidarity economies by Asian American grassroots communities."


2017: Lisa Hasegawa

Lisa Hasegawa served as the Executive Director of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Development (CAPACD) for the past 15 years and recently stepped down in December 2016. Prior to National CAPACD, she was the Community Liaison of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans Pacific Islanders at the end of the Clinton Administration. For her entire career, she has worked at the intersections of civil and human rights, housing, health and community organizing. Lisa is committed to leveraging her cross-disciplinary networks across the country for UCLA students, faculty, and larger community. Returning to the Asian American Studies Center (AASC) as Activist-in-Residence was a homecoming for her. While she was an undergraduate at UCLA, she started her career in community activism through an AASC internship at the Asian Pacific Health Care Venture.

"We are in a very challenging period for Asian Americans Pacific Islanders, undocumented immigrants, communities of color, low-income and queer communities," said Hasegawa. "I look forward to facilitating lively dialogue and concerted action among networks of activists, advocates and practitioners, together with students and faculty."

As part of her residency in 2017, Hasegawa documented achievements and challenges faced during the Obama Administration. She also engaged students, faculty and community activists in dialogue about how strategies have fallen short, and took stock of policies that can be strengthened, preserved or defended.