Welcome from the Director, Anna Guevarra

Welcome to the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago!

We are a vibrant community of scholars, teachers, and activists who seek to advance a critical understanding of contemporary issues through the interdisciplinary study of Asian American histories and experiences while engaging with various communities of color in the United States and Asian diasporas globally. Asian American Studies explores the histories, identities, cultural expressions, social and community formations, and politics of people of Asian ancestry (including but not limited to those from East Asia, South Asia, Southwest and Southeast Asia) in the United States. It is a field that has continually expanded and transformed in relation to new immigration patterns and historical shifts in U.S. racial formations, including, most recently, phenomena such as Islamaphobia, new Orientalisms, and anti-Arab/South Asian/Muslim racisms. In a variety of intellectual and pedagogical spaces, including the classroom, scholarship, and campus and community advocacy programs, we emphasize that Asian American experiences are fundamental to the fabric of U.S. society and are linked to the experiences of other communities of color in the United States as well as to Asian diasporas globally. The Asian American Studies Program at UIC offers courses that are interdisciplinary and comparative in approach and reflect the program’s thematic foci:  Transnational/diasporic studies which examines Asian migrations and diasporic communities in relation to larger global processes of empire, nation-building, and globalization; Intersectional Race/Gender studies, which contextualizes Asian American experiences through historical and contemporary interplays of race, gender, class and other social markers in the United States; and  Community Engagement, Activism, and Social Justice, which works to foster the process and politics of bridging the academy and wider community, and engages with questions of movement building.

The Asian American Studies program and the Minor began in 2010 after the tireless, dedicated, and selfless efforts of students, staff, and faculty since 1991. The two videos you see on this page reflect the Asian American Movement at UIC, from 1991-2010 produced by the Asian American Coalition Committee and Jenny Tsang, a UIC Alumnus. We are committed to supporting and advancing this legacy of activism through engaged scholarship and research that focus on a range of issues including immigration, gender and sexuality, cultural and literary studies, food politics, and health disparities. Our courses reflect transformative pedagogies that offer students opportunities to experience learning that takes place in multiple spaces within and beyond the classroom – whether they are in partnership with community organizations in the Chicagoland area or abroad in India. Our faculty include award winning authors, beloved teachers and mentors, and fearless leaders with a firm commitment to social justice work. Our students are key partners in the program – who commit their time and labor as advisory board members, volunteers, and avid supporters as alumni. 

The Asian American Studies Program is a proud recipient and beneficiary of a $4 million dollar grant from the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) program of the U.S. Department of Education. This grant also federally designates UIC as a Minority Serving Institution by supporting the recruitment, retention, and graduation of Asian American, Pacific Islander, and English language learner students. The AANAPISI Initiative has created and sustained a number of curricular and co-curricular initiatives in ASAM including the hiring of visiting faculty and an expansion of curricular offerings, faculty-led summer study abroad programs in India in 2012 and 2013 (and a forthcoming program in Japan in 2014), a community-engagement project that provides students with opportunities to work and learn from community based organizations, a lecture series highlighting prominent scholars and artists in the field, the undergraduate research and creative grants program that has funded student projects that have garnered media attention, served as stepping stones to a graduate education or a national recognition like the Fulbright scholarship, or support their work as researchers, civic leaders, community organizers, and artists. 

Welcome to ASAM at UIC! We hope that you return to our site frequently to learn more about the Program and the various events we are organizing.