News

On April 11th, 2024, David Eng presented a talk titled “Racial Rage, Racial Guilt: The Uses of Anger in Asian America” at Duke University. David Eng is the Richard L. Fisher Professor of English and the Faculty Director of the Program in Asian American Studies at University of Pennsylvania. By examining the Netflix-series Beef, Eng boldly asked the audience to consider emotions (anger, ego, resentment, etc) as part of an Asian American structural position and itself as the energy necessary for social change.… read more about Racial Rage, Racial Guilt: The Uses of Anger in Asian America  »

In the Spring of 2024, the Asian American Diaspora Studies (AADS) program finally acquired a permanent space in Friedl 120 as part of the larger goal to institutionalize and strengthen AADS at Duke.  Esther Lee, the current Director of AADS and a Frances Hill Fox Professor of Theater Studies, spearheaded the effort.  The process for securing a permanent space for AADS has been “long and challenging,” Dr. Lee remarked in an interview.  One issue was the confusion around AADS’s mission. Initially AADS was in… read more about AADS Reaches a Key Milestone with a Permanent Home for the Program »

Mejdulene B. Shomali is a Queer Palestinian poet and Associate Professor in Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies at the University of Maryland in Baltimore County.  As part of the last installment of the Spring AADS Speaker Series on March 1, 2024, Shomali presented “Sahq: Queer Femme Futures.”  Named after the last chapter of her recently published 2023 book, Between Banat, “Sahq: Queer Femme Futures,” seeks to study literature, film and art by and for Arab women to locate queer Arab women and imagine… read more about Sahq: Queer Femme Futures  »

Chris Suh is an Assistant Professor of History at Emory University and drew from his recent book, The Allure of Empire: American Encounters with Asians in the Age of Transpacific Expansion and Exclusion (Oxford University Press, 2023), during his talk for the Spring 2024 AADS Speaker Series on February 23. Suh began by asking to reconsider the way the United States government chose to exclude different Asian immigrants beyond the conventional understanding of exclusion laws being implemented based on the… read more about The Allure of Empire: American Encounters with Asians in the Age of Transpacific Expansion and Exclusion »

Vivian Huang is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at San Francisco State University, specializing in race and performance studies. Their work has been recognized by the Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders Award, the Hellman Foundation, and the Association of Asian American Studies.  On Feb 16, Huang began the second installment of the AADS Speaker Series, a series that brings attention to new directions in Asian American Studies.  Huang presented a talk titled “Inscrutability of Sociality and Queer… read more about The Inscrutability of Sociality and Queer Forms of Asian American Inscrutability  »

Moon-Ho Jung, Ph.D. is a Professor of History and the Harry Bridges Endowed Chair in Labor Studies at the University of Washington. In 2022, he published Menace to Empire which seeks to reconsider Asians within the American nation-state.  On February 2nd, as part of the AADS speaker series which elevates critical scholars in Asian American Studies in invited talks, Jung came to East Campus to pose an intervention to the studies as a whole, and largely, to the racialization of Asian/Americans. In this… read more about Why Asian American Studies Needs To Be a Menace to the Empire: Dr. Moon-Ho Jung Challenges American Liberal Democracy  »

The course of Esther Kim Lee’s scholarship was set by a book that didn’t exist. When she accepted the 2023 Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) on November 11, Duke's Frances Hill Fox Professor of Theater Studies, International Comparative Studies and History recounted an experience from her days as a graduate student at The Ohio State University in the 1990s. While working on her dissertation, Lee searched the library for books about the history of Asian American theater. To… read more about Esther Kim Lee Wins American Society for Theatre Research’s Distinguished Scholar Award »

Asian Americans, Takeo Rivera posits, cannot escape the model minority figure. Rivera puts forth two pathways through which Asian/American people define their relationship to model minority – and, by extension, form the contours of an uneasy racial identity. The first group he outlines is characterized by a pleasurable attachment to the model minority positionality, embracing the stereotype and rising through U.S. capitalist hierarchies into American-Dream-esque success. The second group takes a stance of self-punishing… read more about Model Minority Masochism: Guest Speaker on the Inescapable Model Minority Figure »

Over a year ago, Naoko Shibusawa, associate professor of History and American Studies at Brown University, published an article entitled “Where is the Reciprocity? Notes on Solidarity from the Field” in the Journal of Asian American Studies. The article put forth a call for racial solidarity across academic disciplines and insisted upon the centrality of Asian American Studies (or even Asian America more broadly) to a full understanding of the United States. Shibusawa drew upon scholarship, anecdotes, and analysis of… read more about Guest Talk Challenges the Entanglement of Deference Politics, White Liberalism and Racialized Power Dynamics in Academia »

The American Studies Association — the oldest and largest scholarly association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of U.S. cultures and histories — announced the recipients of their 2023 awards and prizes. Postdoctoral Associate in Asian American and Diaspora Studies Athia Choudhury received an honorable mention for her dissertation “Gut Cultures: Fat Matter(s) in Genealogies of Health, Nation, and Empire.” In the dissertation, Choudhury conceptualizes the emergence of “health” as a vital dimension to U.S. and Third… read more about Athia Choudhury Receives Honorable Mention From the American Studies Association »

The Medical Humanities and Asian American Studies symposium on September 22, 2023 highlighted a growing field picking at the ways that Asian/American bodies and ideologies are bound up with medical spaces, health, and well-being more generally. It began with a panel, chaired by Emily Rogers (Duke), entitled “Toxicity, Militarism, and Diaspora.” Rachel Lee (UCLA), Cynthia Wu (Indiana U), and Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu (NYU) gave brief talks about the entanglements between war, chemical toxins, and Asian bodies. Lee uses oral… read more about Symposium Highlights Growing Research into Asian American Well-Being »

This past summer, the Supreme Court ruled that affirmative action violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, catalyzing a broad spectrum of conversations about the role that race plays (or should play) in college admissions. Dr. Cheung-Miaw’s brown bag talk last week, entitled “Asian Americans and Affirmative Action: An Activist History,” took on Jameson’s maxim to “always historicize!” pushing against conversations positing affirmative action in a vacuum and gesturing at the complex role that Asian/… read more about Brown Bag Talk on Affirmative Action Addresses Complex Role of Asian American Students »

Happy 5th Anniversary to AADS!! Welcome to the academic year 2023-24, a significant milestone for AADS as we proudly commemorate our 5-year journey as a program. Back in 2018, the inception of AADS was a response to decades of impassioned student activism and resounding calls for the inclusion of Asian American Studies at Duke. This remarkable journey has been made possible by the community of unwavering support, brought together by the collective efforts of students, faculty, staff, and alumni. I am profoundly grateful to… read more about A Letter from the Director: Fall 2023 »

Note: This statement does not reflect admission practices at Duke and draws largely from Prof. Calvin Cheung-Miaw’s research on the history of Asian American Studies. The faculty of the Asian American and Diaspora Studies program disagrees with the recent Supreme Court decision regarding affirmative action. Based on our scholarship and our experience as educators, we unequivocally support race-conscious admissions and believe that affirmative action is an important tool in remedying racial… read more about Statement on Affirmative Action  »

Seven faculty members have been named 2023 Bass Chairs and inducted into the Bass Society of Fellows in recognition of their demonstrated excellence in both undergraduate teaching and research. The group was celebrated Monday evening during a reception at the J.B. Duke Hotel. The chairs were created in 1996 when Anne T. and Robert Bass gave $10 million as a matching gift to encourage Duke alumni, parents and friends to endow the positions. Candidates are nominated by faculty and evaluated by a faculty committee for… read more about Three Trinity Faculty Named 2023 Bass Chairs »

From the Director: It is with great pleasure that we extend our warmest congratulations to David Lee and Miriam Shams-Rainey, the first students to graduate with the AADS minor. AADS recently hosted its first Graduation Dinner at Namu in Durham, where graduating seniors were celebrated by AADS faculty, staff, and members of AASWG (Asian American Studies Working Group). The event also provided an opportunity to recognize the recipients of two newly introduced AADS awards: the AADS Faculty… read more about A Letter from the Director | Spring 2023 »

The annual Undergraduate Research Symposium hosted by the Asian American and Diaspora Studies Program (AADS) at Duke University took place on March 30, 2023, providing a platform for undergraduate students to present their research on topics related to Asian American and Diaspora Studies. The symposium was a culmination of the students' hard work and dedication to their respective research topics. The event drew a diverse audience comprising of students, faculty, and special guests, including Dr. Pawan Dhingra of Amherst… read more about 2023 AADS Undergraduate Research Symposium in Review »

David Lee (T ‘23) is one of the first students to minor in Asian American & Diaspora Studies at Duke. The AADS program started in 2018 and the minor was approved for students for Fall 2022. Its first class graduates this spring. Lee has been involved in student organizing for Asian American Studies since his first year, in spaces where maybe “the real Asian American studies are the friends we made along the way.” He joined the Asian American Studies Working Group (AASWG) and found not only a much-lauded base of… read more about First Cohort of AADS Minors to Graduate in May »

The Friends We Made Along the Way: Interview of Graduating AADS and AASWG Student, David Lee David Lee (T ‘23) has been involved in student organizing for Asian American Studies since they were a freshman, in spaces where maybe “the real Asian American studies are the friends we made along the way.” In AASWG (the Asian American Studies Working Group), he found not only much-lauded base of student investment in Asian American Studies, but also a kind of “political home” rare at Duke. Over the last 20 years, AASWG… read more about The Friends We Made Along the Way: David Lee Interview »

How can scholarship on Asian Americans deepen our understanding of race and immigration in the United States? Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professor Pawan Dhingra made a case for broadening the reach of Asian American studies to involve popular discourse and revise long-held public perceptions. Speaking to a full house of students, faculty and community members, Dhingra said the stereotype of “the model minority” ignores key aspects of American society that opened avenues for Asian American advancement. He used… read more about Duke Today: Keohane Professor Brings Together UNC and Duke Faculty and Students to Energize Asian American Scholarship on Both Campuses »

One year ago, the Arts and Sciences Council approved the Asian American and Diaspora Studies (AADS) minor.  The first of its kind in the American South, the minor is led by Esther Kim Lee, AADS director and professor of theater studies, international comparative studies and history. The minor requiresfour electives and one introductory course — either Introduction to Asian American History or Introduction to Asian American and Diaspora Studies.  Lee shared how, after only a year, the… read more about Duke Chronicle: Duke’s Asian American Diaspora Studies minor nears one-year anniversary »

How can scholarship on Asian Americans deepen our understanding of race and immigration in the United States? Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professor Pawan Dhingra made a case for broadening the reach of Asian American studies to involve popular discourse and revise long-held public perceptions. Speaking to a full house of students, faculty and community members, Dhingra said the stereotype of “the model minority” ignores key aspects of American society that opened avenues for Asian American advancement. He used a… read more about Keohane Professor Brings Together UNC and Duke Faculty and Students to Energize Asian American Scholarship on Both Campuses  »

Eileen Cheng-yin Chow, associate professor of the practice in Chinese and Japanese cultural studies, speaking on ABC’s Nightline in the aftermath of the Monterey Park shooting, about the important role senior centers serve in Asian-American communities. You can view the interview here. read more about Eileen Cheng-yin Chow speaking on ABC’s Nightline in the aftermath of the Monterey Park shooting »

Meet Your Humanities Faculty: Yun Emily Wang Our Spring 2023 tgiFHI series continues with Yun Emily Wang. Here's an interview with Prof. Wang on her research interests, method, and practice. Tell us about your research interests and how they developed for you. My current body of work focuses on Asian Canada, and more specifically the Chinese diaspora in Canada. The geocultural areas and topics I work on include East Asia, Asian America, and transpacific circulation/migration… read more about Spring 2023 tgiFHI series: Meet Your Humanities Faculty: Yun Emily Wang »

Haley Warren, Trinity Communications Though her office is small, it is filled with the stories of former students. Printed out copies of journal articles and clippings from graphic novels are pinned to her walls. Essays and collections cover her desk. She proudly points them all out, explaining the research these papers originated from and how excited she is to have them published in various journals. She looks at one, explaining how the essay’s author writes about the plight of the “no-no boys,” a group… read more about From Footnote to Main Idea: Award Winner Teaches Writing via Asian American Narratives »