As we end this Spring 2020, a semester unlike any we have ever known, ASAM wishes you the best in managing this challenging time.
We hope everyone is safe and well!
In this newsletter we announce exciting news about our ASAM community and share some of our spring memories.
Please check our website for more information about Fall 2020 ASAM courses and news and updates.
We can't wait to see you again!
Congratulations to all the 2020 graduates! Best wishes for continued success in all that you do! ASAM looks forward to celebrating with you in May 2021.
Enjoy a restful and healthy summer!
News & Announcements
Asian American Studies has been awarded
The Sachs Program’s 2020 Grant!
The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation awarded a number of grants for the 2020 year. From the official press release: The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation is thrilled to announce our 2020 Grant Awards. We are awarding upwards of $270,000 in funding to 34 successful applicants this year, which marks a record high for our program in its three years running. Grants are being awarded in eight categories, and the recipients represent a diverse cross-section of Penn’s community: students, staff, and faculty from seven of Penn’s twelve schools, as well as many of Penn’s arts and cultural centers.
The Asian American Studies program will bring Jenny Zhang, acclaimed writer of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, to Penn for an intensive, two-day workshop: an experimental space, fostered by Zhang, which will combine her expertise in the craft of writing with live concerns about contemporary Asian American identity and experience. Zhang is currently completing a screenplay based on her acclaimed 2017 short story collection, Sour Heart. Her latest collection of poetry, My Baby First Birthday, continues to explore basic human emotions, but through raw, gendered, and unsettled paths. Zhang’s visit provides a unique opportunity for students to combine research interests and the arts. In addition to this workshop, Zhang will give a reading at the Kelly Writers House and host an event with Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.
ASAM is pleased to announce the reapportionment of Dr. Rupa Pillai as Senior Lecturer.
Dr. Pillai came to Penn from the University of Oregon with a PhD in Anthropology. She teaches key ASAM courses including Introduction to Asian American Studies and classes on the Asian Caribbean and sexuality as well as Asian American Religion.
We have been thrilled to work alongside Dr Pillai the past two years as she led critical programming on citizenship, gender, and Asian American women. We look forward to another exciting year!
The Asian American Studies Program is pleased to announce the inaugural ASAM Fellowship recipients for the academic year
Claire Nguyễn, Julci Areza, Tiffany Tieu, Erin Jin Mei O’Malley,
Neelu Paleti & Jaywon Kim Read their bios here!
The ASAM Fellows Program supports and recognizes undergraduate research relating to Asian American Studies. The Fellowship aims to involve more undergraduates in original research, increase student engagement with ASAM faculty, and allow students to expand upon work in prior classes. The ASAM Fellows Program will provide the chance to enhance critical thinking skills, learn about new areas of research, and strengthen knowledge of Asian American Studies. In Fall 2020, ASAM Fellows will present their summer research in a colloquium series and in Spring 2021 Fellows will curate a speaker series.
Please join us for both series!
Winner of the 2020 Dr. Rosane Rocher Prize
in Best Undergraduate Essay in Asian American Studies
The Dr. Rosane Rocher Prize for Best Undergraduate Essay in Asian American Studies is awarded annually in honor of Dr. Rosane Rocher, the first Director of Asian American Studies at Penn. The ASAM program invites students and instructors to submit academic papers within any field of Asian American Studies.
The submissions this year were strong examples of research and writing and the decision was very difficult. The Committee agreed that "Intimate Spaces and Unwanted Bodies" is an excellent study of race and Asian Americans during a critical moment in United States history.
Here's where we spotlight some of the amazing students on ASAM Undergraduate Advisory Board (UAB).
Julci is a senior studying Health & Societies and concentrating in Race, Gender, and Health. She is interested in sociocultural approaches to understanding health, the politics of nutrition, community building, and Southeast Asian representation. At Penn, she is involved with Spice Collective, Seven | Eight, Service Link, Penn Sangam, and she also interns at the ASAM office.
Erin Jin Mei O’Malley is a senior studying Comparative Literature, Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies and Asian American Studies. They are a Mellon Mays Fellow and the poetry editor of the first anthology of API transmasculine writing (forthcoming 2021). They are also on the Philadelphia Asian American Theater Festival Selection Committee.
ASAM UAB 2020-2021
Congratulations to our new ASAM UAB co-chairs for the 2020-2021 school year: Erin O’Malley (C’21) and Claire Nguyen (C’21)! In addition, we welcome Caitlin Ang (C’22), Kai Song (C’22), and Alice Heyeh (C’22) as new members to the UAB!
In the news
6ABC celebrates the 2020 Asian Pacific American
‘Reality is hitting me in the face’: Asian Americans grapple with racism due to COVID-19 by Rob Buscher April 21, 2020
Thanks to Rob Buscher, for a critical article on anti-Asian racism in the Philadelphia area and how Asians and Asian Americans are confronting it.
"Rumors that the virus originated in China has placed undue stigma on Chinese Americans and other Americans of Asian descent", writes Rob Buscher. (Emma Lee/WHYY)
"It has been difficult learning about the many hate incidents affecting our local Asian American community during the time of COVID-19, but I am glad to be able to shed light on the situation. Thank you everyone who opened up and told me your stories, and thanks to WHYY for publishing this piece." (Rob Buscher/ Facebook post)
"In Search of Our Frontier explores the complex transnational history of Japanese immigrant settler colonialism, which linked Japanese America with Japan’s colonial empire through the exchange of migrant bodies, expansionist ideas, colonial expertise, and capital in the Asia-Pacific basin before World War II. The trajectories of Japanese transpacific migrants exemplified a prevalent national structure of thought and practice that not only functioned to shore up the backbone of Japan’s empire building but also promoted the borderless quest for Japanese overseas development.
Azuma offers new interpretive perspectives that will allow readers to understand Japanese settler colonialism’s capacity to operate outside the aegis of the home empire." Published October 2019. Get the book here!
On the Social and Psychic Lives of Asian Americans Authors: David L. Eng & Shinhee Han
"In Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation professor David L. Eng and psychotherapist Shinhee Han draw on case histories from the mid-1990s to the present to explore the social and psychic predicaments of Asian American young adults from Generation X to Generation Y. Combining critical race theory with several strands of psychoanalytic thought, they develop the concepts of racial melancholia and racial dissociation to investigate changing processes of loss associated with immigration, displacement, diaspora, and assimilation. These case studies of first- and second-generation Asian Americans deal with a range of difficulties, from depression, suicide, and the politics of coming out to broader issues of the model minority stereotype, transnational adoption, parachute children, colorblind discourses in the United States, and the rise of Asia under globalization." Published February 2019 Get the book here!
Professors in Action
Self -care for women in the South Asian community
We would like to share an initiative promoted by Dr. Raili Roy, who joined as ASAM Lecturer in the Spring and currently teaches the courseAsian American Women: Nation, Self, Identity. Moved by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic Dr. Roy felt the call for self -care for women in the South Asian community and realized the need for charting new territories in bonding. LET'S KEEP MOVING VIRTUALLY. LKMV emerges as a response to this disruptions. It's an inter/media cultural intervention during the pandemic focusing on bodies, movement and desire.
"I wanted to create a judgment free space where every week women come together and learn dance. Almost 60 women are members now, some of them beginners delving into this art form for the first time. Thus we have created a virtual community of dancers and a support group for South Asian women across three countries (US, UK and India) to help get through these unprecedented times. Recently we organized a global/transnational fund raiser for organizations in US, UK and India fighting against COVID".
Some of our past events
The Citizenship Series
Asian Americans Across the Disciplines
ASAM is grateful for all the students that have been part of our work-study team. Thank you for your hard work and enthusiasm.
We also extend our deep appreciation for all the professor, guest speakers and students that have been participating in ASAM Food for Thought and all the Asian Americans Across the Disciplinestalks along this academic year. Particularly, we want to thank everyone who joined us online during this outbreak.