Our program is committed to four goals:
1) to increase awareness of the contributions of the Asian/Pacific Islander American presence in American life, history and through teaching;
2) to transform the production of knowledge about Asian/Pacific Islander American communities and concerns through socially-engaged research;
3) to inspire multiple Asian/Pacific Islander American communities through dedicated outreach;
4) to create new paradigms for acknowledging and appreciating Asian/Pacific Islander American diversity through innovative curriculum and programming.
The unique circumstances surrounding the incorporation of Asian immigrants and native Pacific Islanders into American society, as well as the broad range of stratification spanning Asian American and Pacific Islander American communities, underscores the richness and theoretical importance of developing a deeper understanding of the Asian/Pacific Islander American experience alongside—and often in contrast to—that of other groups in the United States. Students may take a full range of courses examining the historical, political, economic, literary, artistic, cultural, and psychological forces which have shaped and continue to shape the lives and communities of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans.
A Comment on Our Name
The addition of the term “Islander” recognizes the specific circumstances of indigenous populations that inhabit the islands of the Pacific.
The term “Islander” acknowledges the necessity to consider the experiences of inhabitants of the Pacific Islands along with those of Pacific rim countries.
The use of the slash mark between “Asian” and “Pacific Islander” is necessary to indicate that both qualify “American.”
The use of the slash mark between “Asian” and “Pacific Islander” also brings Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander ancestry into a framework that allows study of intersections among multiple communities as well as unique situations within particular communities.
The presence within Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies of a cluster of four faculty whose research and teaching specialities focus on Pacific Islands studies and Pacific Islander American issues is a conjunction that signals important new directions in three fields: Asian American studies, Pacific Islands studies, and American studies.