2024 AADS Undergraduate Research Symposium

The 2024 Undergraduate Research Symposium hosted by the Asian American & Diaspora Studies Program (AADS) will recognize current or past creative and academic work done by Duke undergraduate students in the areas of Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies. Students were invited to submit an application to be selected for inclusion in the symposium.

The event will take place on Monday, March 25 at 5 PM at the Ruby Lounge. If you have any questions, please contact AADS at dukeaasp@duke.edu.


Shanzeh Sheikh

Shanzeh Sheikh: Duke Vietnam War Student Activism

Undergraduate Student
Duke University

I am a History and Global Health co-major. My research interests center on understanding the historical and cultural factors shaping a community’s relationship with the healthcare system. I am currently completing a dual honors thesis on how internationally-organized vertical disease programs and gaps in primary health care provision have prevented the eradication of polio from Pakistan. Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, I am also particularly interested in the experience of Asian Americans in the southern United States. The AADS research projects featured here focus on the creation and sharing of Asian American history in the South. The project on the left was completed for AADS 201 exploring how one might present southern Asian American history to grade schoolers. The project on the right was completed for AADS 229 and explores Asian American student activism in the South and at Duke during the Vietnam War, as seen through sources from the Duke Rubenstein archives.

Tina Zheng

Tina Zheng: A Selection of Projects

Undergraduate Student
Duke University

I am from Brooklyn, NYC, majoring in Environmental Science & Policy and minoring in Asian American Diaspora Studies. During my first two years of undergrad at Williams College, I was involved with Asian American Students in Action, a student organization advocating for the establishment of an Asian American program. Upon transferring to Duke, I was thrilled to discover the AADS minor, where I have continued exploring my interests under the guidance of exceptional academic faculty. 

I will be presenting a selection of my most beloved projects from my studies at Williams and Duke. Among these is an investigation into labor, capitalism, and bodies in the 2009 sci-film Sleep Dealer, a play titled “Marlboro Confession,” drawing inspiration from my own experiences and delving into themes of religion, sacrifice, and love within a Chinese immigrant household. Additionally, i will discuss her in-depth analysis of the sensuous mukbang sub-genre, featuring East Asian women and the presence of phallic-like objects, alongside other noteworthy projects. 

Sophie Zhu

Sophie Zhu: The Culture of Street Racing and Imported Cars in San Jose

Undergraduate Student
Duke University

My name is Sophie, and I’m a senior studying economics and creative writing at Duke. One of the first things anyone will learn about me is that I’m from California, and I love anything to do with it. My project is a book about the culture of street racing and imported cars in my home city, and its rich relationship with Asian American history. It’s a fictional work grounded in themes of immigration, diaspora, sexuality, coming-of-age, and most importantly, how Asian American youth made a world for themselves.

Project Description: In the 50s and 60s, "American Muscle" dominated the car scenes in San Jose. This continued until the early 70s, when Japan became a super exporter and Japanese cars began to be sold in America. At first, no one but immigrants would choose to drive them. However, an interesting phenomenon soon occurred: Asian American teenagers would take their parents' loaned down cars, fix them up, modify them, and show them against the American muscle. In this way, a strong counterculture rose up to rival the preexisting one. It's a fascinating chapter in both the history of California and of the Asian American experience. I'm excited to be writing a book with this premise as a vehicle to explore new facets of Asian America.