Asian American Studies

Asian American Studies

  • Letter of Support for The GEO

    February 3, 2018


    We, the faculty in the department of Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, write to express our support for the Graduate Employees’ Organization in their effort to bargain a fair contract with the University. Graduate employees at UIUC have been without a contract since August, with negotiations for a new contract having stalled. We urge Provost Cangellaris to accept the GEO’s proposals for a new collective bargaining agreement, preserving graduate employees’ tuition waivers, paying them a living wage and providing them with adequate healthcare. 

    Graduate employees perform essential work for the University as teachers and graduate assistants. At some point, every undergraduate student is taught by a graduate instructor, and over 2,800 graduate workers on this campus provide valuable labor. In fact, Illinois ranks 6th in the country among universities where graduate employees teach the most classes. 

    In spite of its dependence on graduate labor, the University is proposing cuts to the tuition waivers that many graduate employees need in order to be here. This will directly impact the quality of education and research at Illinois, harming our ability to attract the graduate workers who help make UIUC a preeminent institution of higher learning and research in the United States. 

    Additionally, the GEO’s contract proposals call for a living wage and adequate healthcare coverage. Despite the fact that Teaching Assistants making the minimum salary earn about $6,000 less than the University’s own published cost of living, the University has not raised their wages in a meaningful way, while attempting to force them to pay significantly more for their healthcare in the current contract negotiations. Graduate employees should not have to choose between healthcare and food, and the quality of education at Illinois will suffer as long as this is the case. 

    We urge Provost Cangellaris and the University bargaining team to work with GEO to provide graduate employees with a fair contract. If the Graduate Employees’ Organization is forced to strike, we understand that this drastic measure means that the University administration is unwilling to resolve negotiations at the bargaining table. We recognize that striking graduate employees are protecting themselves, undergraduates, and the integrity and quality of education at the University of Illinois.  Therefore, we support this and all efforts by GEO to secure economic stability for its members.   

  • Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowship

    The Fellowship

    The Asian American Studies Department (AAS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign seeks one postdoctoral research associate for the 2018-2019 academic year. This is a one-year, non-renewable, appointment. Applicants should conduct research germane to Asian American Studies.  Proposed research projects should have the potential to make a significant contribution to the field.  S/he is also expected to give a presentation on his/her research project and to teach one of the department’s regularly offered undergraduate courses.This associate will be housed in the Department of Asian American Studies, but will also be provided opportunities to build a supportive on-campus community with the associates from African American Studies, American Indian Studies, and Latina Latino Studies.

    Stipend and Benefits

    $47,476 salary over a 12-month period. Additional $5,000 for research expenses. Comprehensive benefit package.

    Minimum Qualifications

    Applicants must must have received a doctorate or appropriate terminal degree within the past five years or have completed this requirement by July 31, 2018. They must demonstrate promise for a tenure-track appointment at a research college or university and their primary research focus must be Asian American, and/or transnational Asian populations in the U.S. and across the Asian Diaspora.

    To Apply

    Create your candidate profile through the University of Illinois application login page at and upload your application materials:

      • Cover letter
      • Curriculum vitae
      • Statement of the research/writing project to be undertaken during the appointment
      • Scholarly writing sample (20 page minimum)
      • Graduate transcripts (copies are acceptable, but official transcripts may be requested at a later date)
      • Contact information for two professional references. For candidates who have not yet completed their Ph.D. at the time of application, one of these letters must be from the chair of the dissertation committee addressing the likelihood of completion by the starting date of the associateship. Note: Letters of reference cannot be uploaded. You must request that your letter writers email (preferably) or mail their recommendations directly to the department (by the deadline):

    Post Doc Review Committee
    Department of Asian American Studies
    University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    1208 W Nevada St. 
    Urbana, IL 61801


    To be considered,  applications must be submitted by January 22, 2018. Additional materials may be requested at a later date.

    For further information about the fellowship, contact the Department of Asian American Studies at (217)244-9530 


    Illinois is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. (

  • Call for Proposals 2017-2018 Re:Search The Undergraduate Journal of Literary Criticism at Illinois

    Re:Search, the Undergraduate Literary Criticism Journal at the University of Illinois, is seeking submissions for its fifth issue in Spring 2018!
    Students currently enrolled as undergraduates at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign from anydiscipline or major are encouraged to submit to Re:Search as long as the submissions are in accordance with our vision of the journal as a site of critical analysis. The most important criterion for acceptance is that the author proposes fresh, new critical analysis of a text, film, television show, graphic novel, or other work. We ask students to submit literary, media, or cultural criticism. We accept revisions of papers written previously for a class, current or completed honors theses, and even projects conceived outside the classroom. We welcome an analysis of texts from any period or language, given that modern English translation is provided for any material quoted within the submission and the submission itself is composed in English. Our audience includes university students, instructors, administration, alumni, and prospective students.
    Please note that students whose proposal is accepted by the journal will be required to work with a
    faculty mentor to revise and develop their research throughout the remainder of the Fall and Spring
    semesters. We recommend that you contact a faculty member prior to submitting your proposal. You will be required to submit the names of faculty you plan to reach out to for mentorship in your
    proposal. Further instructions will be provided if the proposal is accepted.
    This journal is supported by the English Department and the Office of Undergraduate Research in
    collaboration with the University Library.
    If you are interested in submitting a work, we recommend that you attend our first Information
    Session, which will be held on October 11th at 5:15 (location TBA). At the session, we will explain
    in more detail the requirements for the proposal and you will have the opportunity to ask questions.
    The deadline to submit a proposal is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 10th, 2017.

    More Information

  • Congratulations to Associate Professor Soo Ah Kwon for receiving the Conrad Humanities Professorial Scholar Award.


    Administered through the College of Letters and Arts, the goal of the Conrad Humanities Professional Scholar Award is to recognize exceptional achievement in humanists between the initial promotion to associate professor through the promotion to professor, with the aim of enhancing retention of our strongest scholarly leaders. These awards are designed to recognize tenured faculty members who are established or emerging leaders with exceptionally strong scholarly recognition and significant promise for continued achievement.

    The award is funded by a gift from Arlys Conrad, the daughter of an Illinois farmer and teacher, Mrs. Conrad was strongly encouraged in her pursuit of higher education. She always aspired to attend the University of Illinois and in 1940 she received a four-year scholarship. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education

  • Listen now: AAS Professor Lila Sharif on Imagine Otherwise Podcast

    What does the rising popularity of the olive mean for global consumers, producers, and resisters? How do our intimate connections with food build memories and notions of place?

    In Episode 39 of the Imagine Otherwise podcast, host Cathy Hannabach and guest Lila Sharif discuss the role of food in both transnational settler colonialism and resistance to it, how Lila uses the classroom to get students thinking about their own food histories, the complex dynamics of ethical consumerism and where we get our food, and decolonization as an embodied, everyday form of imagining otherwise.


  • AAS Professor Augusto Espiritu wins Excellence in Mentoring Award
    Congratulations to Asian American Studies Professor, Dr. Augusto Espiritu for winning this year's Association of American Studies Excellence in Mentoring Award!
  • AAS Professor Fiona Ngo Named Conrad Humanities Scholar

    Asian American Studies and Latino/Latina Studies Professor Fiona Ngo has been named a Conrad Humanities Scholar for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences for 2016-2021. The award recognizes mid-career scholars with the highest potential for continued achievement in the humanities fields.

  • AAS Professor Martin F. Manalansan wins Richard Yarborough Mentoring Award
    Congratulations to Asian American Studies Professor, Dr. Martin Manalansan for winning this year's Richard A. Yarborough Mentoring Award!
    The American Studies Association Minority Scholars Committee awards the Richard A. Yarborough Mentoring Award to honor a scholar who, like Richard Yarborough, demonstrates dedication to and excellence in mentoring underrepresented faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and/or college, university or high school students.


  • AAS Professor A. Naomi Paik's New Book Published in April
  • AAS Professor Lisa Cacho Named Conrad Humanities Scholar

    Asian American Studies and Latino/Latina Studies Professor Lisa Cacho has been named a Conrad Humanities Scholar for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences for 2015-2020. The award recognizes mid-career scholars with the highest potential for continued achievement in the humanities fields.

  • AAS Receives iSEE Certified Green Office Award

    APRIL 23, 2015 — On Earth Day, the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) announced award winners for its 2014-15 Certified Green Office Program.


    Twenty-four participating offices all agreed to the five basic commitments to become a Certified Green Office: appoint a Sustainability Ambassador; adopt a sustainable travel policy; use 30% recycled-content and FSC-certified paper; identify, label and communicate the location of office recycling stations; and turn off and unplug all unnecessary electronics.

    Of the participating offices, 23 chose to go the extra mile, choosing from among 17 extra suggested commitments to earn a Gold, Silver or Bronze level of achievement.

    The Gold Certified Green Offices (14-17 additional commitments):

    • McCall Research Group (all 17 additional commitments)
    • Campus Recreation (16)
    • I-STEM Education Initiative (16)
    • University Housing (15)
    • Native American House (15)
    • Department of Asian American Studies (15)
    • Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) (14)
    • Smart Energy Design Assistance (SEDAC) (14)
    • Illinois Engineering First-Year Experience (IEFX) (14)
    • Facilities & Services Capital Programs (14)

    The Silver Certified Green Offices (11-13 additional commitments):

    • Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education (MSTE) (13)
    • Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) (13)
    • Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Administrative Suite (13)
    • iSEE (13)
    • Department of Chemistry Administrative Office (12)
    • Department of Natural Resources and Environemental Sciences (NRES) (11)
    • LAS – Access & Achievement Program (11)

    The Bronze Certified Green Offices (7-10 additional commitments):

    • Office of Technology Management (9)
    • Inorganic, Materials, and Physical Chemistry Office (9)
    • Office of Corporate Relations/Office of Public Engagement (7)
    • Illini Union Office of Registered Organizations (7)
    • Energy Billing Services (7)
    • Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) (7)

    The Certified Green Office:

    • Pre-Law Advising Services

    For a full description of the Certified Green Office Program and the commitments that offices can make to become greener, visit the program web page.

    If you wish to express interest in signing your office up for next year, please visit our web form. We will respond in early summer as we begin to prepare the qualifications and commitments needed to participate in the 2015-16 Certified Green Office Program.

  • AAS Faculty receive Teaching Excellence Awards


  • Congratulations to AAS Office Support Specialist Mary Ellerbe 2015 Recipient of the Chancellor's Distinguished Staff Award.

    The Chancellor's Distinguished Staff Award (CDSA) is designed to annually recognize Staff employees for their exceptional accomplishments and service to the University.  Thank you Mary and congratulations.

  • Congratulations to IPRH Fellow Prof. Mimi Nguyen

    Congratulations AAS Professor Mimi Nguyen for being selected as one of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities Fellows for 2015-2016.


    2015-2016 IPRH Fellowship


    The Department of Asian American Studies (AAS) believes in free speech and the respectful exchange of ideas. A vital research institution such as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign cannot flourish without such a commitment. This is the foundation of our work both inside and outside of the classroom. And this is why the January 27 and 28 events were so disturbing for our community. At issue are those students who acted on their understandable grievances (re: Chancellor Phyllis Wise’s decision to not cancel classes) with vulgarly offensive invective against the Chancellor. These students, via social media including Twitter, crossed the line by employing blatant racism and sexism directed against the person of the Chancellor as a woman and as a racial minority of Asian descent. Gratifying is that other students and some U of I alums condemned their colleagues’ blatant racism and sexism.[i]

    We in AAS condemn this offensive form of communication. We do not believe that sexism (misogyny and the infantilization of women) and racist language attacking a person’s biological traits, national origins, and ethnic identity count merely as “free speech.” These are, in our view, speech acts, which in themselves are both psychologically damaging and can work as incitements to further verbal abuse and even physical violence.

    We in AAS believe that the U of I community has been far too often silent in the face of racism or sexism regarding Asian Americans and other vulnerable groups. To be silent at this time is to condone the unacceptable and to perpetuate the noxious climate that nurtures these views and actions. Those who believe in a just society should let their voices be heard.

    We can begin by expressing our support for Chancellor Wise and letting her know, that beyond our perspectives on other campus issues, we will never condone the use of racism and sexism in our public discourse.

    We can begin by participating in classroom conversations, programs, and forums to talk about and attain a deeper understanding of racism and sexism and to plan short-term and long-term solutions to address these problems.

    We can begin by acknowledging, as some critical students tweeted, that the undeniable racism and sexism in our midst applies to all of us. We as a community must accept and confront this reality. We cannot resolve such a serious problem unless we name our problems correctly.

    One final appeal: we in AAS have for many years now been calling for a recognition of Asian Americans as a racial minority, a matter that this campus has ignored or sidestepped for far too long. By federal law, state law, and the guidelines of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Asian Americans are a historically oppressed racial minority. Yet, the U of I has never publicly issued a statement to this effect. Such a silence, we believe, has contributed to the disturbing climate that we see today, and unless addressed, will likely make for further hostility to Asian Americans as well as to the large numbers of Asian international students at the U of I campus. It is time for this university to recognize Asian Americans as a racial minority deserving of recognition and respect.


    [i] These comments and more are reviewed in BuzzFeed staff member Rega Jha’s article, “After Being Denied A Snow Day, University Of Illinois Students Respond With Racism And Sexism,”