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Ethnic Studies and the Global 1960s

Asian American studies was founded as a result of student strikes at San Francisco State College and UC Berkeley in 1968-69, as one component of the first Ethnic studies departments. Over the next decades, these efforts had a dramatic impact on the place of Asian Americans in American society and they also reshaped American higher education. Student activism, however, was part of larger Asian American movement that sought to mobilize communities in order to confront issues of race, social and economic inequality, urban development, labor, gender, war and colonialism, among others. This movement was inspired and motivated by struggles in the Third World, and movements for national independence and liberation. This talk will emphasize the coalitional and translational dimensions of Asian American studies by situating its origins in these larger national and global contexts. Mark Chiang is an Associate Professor in the Global Asian Studies Program and English Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he teaches course on Global Asian studies, Asian American literature, film, and race. He is the author of The cultural Capital of Asian American Studies: Autonomy and Representation in the University (NYU Press 2009). His current research examines theories of racial capitalism in relation to anti-Asian movements and discourses f race and economy in the late 19th and early 20th century US. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Chinese American Museum of Chicago.