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Lecture Series 2013-2014


Past Spring events

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
4:30 pm
McCormick 106
Carolyn Chen
Associate Professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies
Northwestern University
The Extraordinary Religiosity of Second-Generation Asian American Muslims and Evangelical Christians 

Carolyn Chen studies religion, race and ethnicity, and immigration. Her book, Getting Saved in America: Taiwanese Immigration and Religious Experience (Princeton University Press, 2008) examines how religious conversion to evangelical Christianity and Buddhism restructures self and community among Taiwanese immigrants. She has edited a volume written with Russell Jeung, Sustaining Faith Traditions: Race, Ethnicity, and Religion among the Latino and Asian American Second Generation (New York University Press, 2012). She is currently working on a project that examines spirituality and alternative health in the United States.

For audio of the event, please click here.

Carolyn Chen with Mo Chen

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
4:30 pm
010 East Pyne

Claire Kim

Associate Professor of Asian American Studies and Political Science, University of California, Irvine
Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species, and Nature in a Multicultural Age

Claire Jean Kim received her B.A. in Government from Harvard College and her Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University. She is an Associate Professor at University of California, Irvine, where she teaches classes on race, multiculturalism, and animal studies. Her first book, Bitter Fruit: The Politics of Black-Korean Conflict in New York City  (Yale University Press, 2000) won two awards from the American Political Science Association: the Ralph Bunche Award for the Best Book on Ethnic and Cultural Pluralism and the Best Book Award from the Organized Section on Race and Ethnicity.  Her second book, Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species and Nature in a Multicultural Age (Cambridge University Press, 2014), examines the intersection of race, species, and nature in impassioned disputes over how immigrants of color, racialized minorities, and Native people in the U.S. use animals in their cultural traditions. Dr. Kim has also written numerous journal articles and book chapters.  She is an Associate Editor of American Quarterly and the co-guest editor with Carla Freccero of a special issue of American Quarterly entitled, Species/Race/Sex (September 2013).  She is the recipient of a grant from the University of California Center for New Racial Studies, and she has been a fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and the University of California Humanities Research Institute.  Dr. Kim's current book project explores the political, economic, legal, and philosophical processes by which Blackness, Asianness, and Whiteness were mutually constituted within the U.S. from the antebellum era to the late 20th century.

For audio of the event, please click here.
Click here for part 2.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
4:30 pm
010 East Pyne
Catherine Bliss
Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of California, San Francisco
Race Decoded: New Paradigms and Problems of the 21st Century 

Catherine Bliss’s research explores the sociology of race, gender and sexuality in medicine, though she is especially interested in scientific controversies in genetics. Bliss’s book Race Decoded: The Genomic Fight for Social Justice (Stanford University Press 2012) examines how genomics became today’s newest science of race. Her latest book project examines convergences in social and genetic science in the postgenomic age. 

For audio of the event, please click here.

Fall 2013

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Monday, September 30, 2013
4:30 pm
McCormick 106
Mae Ngai
Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and
Professor of History, Columbia University
Chinese Goldminers and the Chinese Question in Pacific World Settler Colonies, 1848-1908

Mae M. Ngai is a U.S. legal and political historian interested in questions of immigration, citizenship, and nationalism. She is author of the award winning Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (2004) and The Lucky Ones: One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America (2010). Ngai has written on immigration history and policy for The Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and The Boston Review. Before becoming a historian she was a labor-union organizer and educator in New York City, working for District 65-UAW and the Consortium for Worker Education. She is now working on Yellow and Gold: The Chinese Mining Diaspora, 1848-1908, a study of Chinese gold miners and racial politics in nineteenth-century California, The Australian colony of Victoria, and the South African Transvaal.

Click here to listen to audio from the talk.

Anne Cheng with Mae Ngai

Valerie Smith and Mae Ngai

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
4:30 pm
McCormick 106
Karthick Ramakrishnan
Associate Professor of Political Science
University of California, Riverside
Director, National Asian American Survey and
Bolting Blue: What Explains the Dramatic Change in Asian American Voting Patterns

Karthick Ramakrishnan is associate professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside. He has published several books and articles on civic participation, immigration policy, and the politics of race, ethnicity, and immigration in the United States. Relevant to Asian American studies, Ramakrishnan was author of Democracy in Immigrant America (2005), which compared variation in political participation across racial groups and immigrant generations in the United States, and is co-author of Asian American Political Participation: Emerging Constituents and their Political Identities (2011). Ramakrishnan directs the National Asian American Survey and, and is a partner on the Asian Australian/American Voter Research Project (AAVRP). He received his Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University in 2002.
To listen to the audio from the lecture, please click here.

Marta Tienda, Karthick Ramakrishnan, and Anne Cheng

Monday, November 11, 2013
4:30 pm
Robertson Hall, Bowl 2
Henry Yu
Associate Professor, Department of History
University of British Columbia
The Cantonese Pacific: Migration, Historiography, and Unsettling Settler Societies

Henry Yu was born in Vancouver, B.C., and grew up in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island. He received his BA in Honours History from UBC and an MA and PhD in History from Princeton University. After teaching History and Asian American Studies at UCLA for a decade, Yu returned to UBC to help build new programs focused on the trans-Pacific connections between North America, Asia, and the Pacific. Between 2010-2012, he was the Project Lead for the $1.175 million “Chinese Canadian Stories” project ( involving UBC, SFU, and a wide spectrum of over twenty-nine community organizations across Canada. He was also the Co-Chair of the City of Vancouver’s project, “Dialogues between First Nations, Urban Aboriginal, and Immigrant Communities. Currently, he is working on a trio of book projects that each aim to provide new perspectives on global history and migration history.

Click here to view the PDF of the Power Point presentation.

To listen to Henry Yu's lecture click here
Click here for part 2

Henry Yu with Dirk Hartog and Anne Cheng

Monday, November 25, 2013
4:30 pm
Robertson Hall, Bowl 2
Mel Chen
Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies
University of California, Berkeley
Bodily Siting: Race, Disability, Development

Mel Chen’s teaching and research interests include queer and gender theory, animal studies, critical race theory, disability studies, and critical linguistics. In the fall of 2009, Mel convened “Species Spectacles,” a U.C. Humanities Research Institute Residential Research Group focused on animality, sexuality, and race. Mel’s short film Local Grown Corn (2007) explores interweavings of immigration, childhood, illness and friendship; it has played in both Asian and queer film festivals. Mel’s book Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect, was released in July 2012 with Duke University Press in the Perverse Modernities series.

To listen to Mel Chen's lecture click here
Click here for part 2

Anne Cheng with Mel Chen and Dirk Hartog

Thursday, December 5, 2013
4:30 pm
McCormick 106
Taeku Lee

Professor of Political Science and Law
Chair, Department of Political Science
University of California, Berkeley
Of Black Swans and Blue Tigers: The Political Imperative of Asian Americans

Taeku Lee is Professor of Political Science and Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.  He has written or edited Mobilizing Public Opinion (2002); Transforming Politics, Transforming America (with Ricardo Ramírez and Karthick Ramakrishnan, 2006), Why Americans Don't Join the Party (with Zoltan Hajnal, 2011), Accountability through Public Opinion (with Sina Odugbemi, 2011), and Asian American Political Participation (with Janelle Wong, Karthick Ramakrishnan, Jane Junn, 2011).  Lee is co-Principal Investigator of the 2008 and 2012 National Asian American Survey and has served in various leadership, advisory, and consultative capacities including the Board of the American National Election Studies, the Board of the General Social Survey and the Council of the American Political Science Association. 

For audio of the event, please click here.
Click here for part 2.

Taeku Lee

Series organizers:
Professor Anne A. Cheng
Professor of English and African American Studies
Hendrik Hartog, Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor in the History of Law and Liberty
Director, Program in American Studies

Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies
Department of English
Department of Sociology
Office of the Dean of the College