Wednesday 17th January 2018,

Asian Americans

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Beginning of New Era, End of Another in Asian Pacific American & Ethnic Studies

posted by Randall
Archaelogical dig in French Polynesia

Teamo Maitia-Papa, a local Tahitian crew member, and Kelly O’Toole ’14 excavate in French Polynesia under the direction of Jenny Kahn (photo courtesy of Jenny Kahn).

William & Mary University in Williamsburg, VA is making preparations for the launch of a new interdisciplinary program that will enable students to minor in Asian and Pacific Islander American Studies.

The program which received final approval in the spring will incorporate a Pacific American Island component.

“One of my roles in the minor will be to provide students with opportunities to visit the Pacific Islands and conduct archaeological research and cultural heritage management,” said Jenny Kahn, an assistant professor of anthropology.

Momentum for the program took hold in 2014 with the establishment of the Asian American Student Initiative in 2014. As with similar programs, the establishment of Asian and Pacific Islander American Studies is the result of decades of work, going as far back as the enrollment of William & Mary’s first Asian American students in the 20’s and 30’s.

“Even before I came here, students were mobilizing with faculty. They did not know that what they wanted necessarily was Asian and Pacific Islander American studies, but they were interested always in creating the space,” said Francis Tanglao-Aguas who will direct the program.

Retiring American Ethnic Studies UW professors Gail Nomura, Steve Sumida, and Tetsuden Kashima. • Courtesy Photos

Retiring American Ethnic Studies UW professors Gail Nomura, Steve Sumida, and Tetsuden Kashima. • Courtesy Photos

On the left coast, it’s an end of an era at the University of Washington where three Asian American professors–Steve Sumida, his wife Gail Nomura, and Tetsuden Kashima–are retiring from the American Ethnic Studies Department, reported the International Examiner.

Sumida and Nomura have a long history in Asian American Studies. They are credited with launching Washington State University’s first Asian American Studies curriculum after a lawsuit protesting the exclusion of Asian American Studies when the university already had Chicano, African American, and Native American studies.

Both came to the University of Washington in the late 1990s.

Kashima has been at the University of Washington since 1976. Kashima took part in the third world student strike for Ethnic Studies in 1967.

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