Established in 2000, the Five College Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program offers an undergraduate certificate and hosts a number of events, lectures, and symposia for students and faculty.
Internationally renowned scholars and writers from across the Five Colleges participate in the program and represent a wide variety of fields and areas of specialization, including Asian American literature and culture, anthropology, creative writing, education, environmental studies, gender and sexuality studies, history, and sociology.
Faculty research and teaching encompass a wide range of topics, including:
early twentieth century Asian American literature
the sociology of immigration and education
Japanese American wartime incarceration
voluntary and forced migration
Hawaiian plantation labor
the Chinese in the Philippines
intersections between Latinx and Filipinx studies
disability and illness
race and settler colonialism
transnational politics of development in India
mothering and care
queer and trans* incarceration
Korean American history
Each year, the program organizes a Distinguished Lecture and sponsors numerous events on topics related to transnational Asian/Pacific/American Studies. The program also hosts regular meetings to discuss faculty and graduate student works in progress.
Statement from Association for Asian American Studies
The Association for Asian American Studies unites in solidarity with our Black family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and co-workers to call for an immediate end to anti-Black racism and the killing of Black people. We are an organization committed to social justice, intersectional analysis, and global human rights. Our fight against anti-Asian pandemic racism is rooted in a common struggle against White supremacy. The recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and George Floyd propel us to state, clearly and definitively, that Black lives matter and that we must abolish the militarized police state in which anti-Black racism is embedded. To end global anti-Black racism, we must fight racism in our local communities and educate ourselves and others about the rich history of Black Americans and support, validate, and value Black lives now and always.
-The Association for Asian American Studies Board of Directors
Payal Banerjee is Associate Professor of Sociology at Smith College. Her research focuses on globalization, migration and the centrality of state policies in sculpting the structures of displacement and labor incorporation. Her work on Indian immigrant IT workers in the United States has appeared in Critical Sociology; Race, Gender, and Class; International Feminist Journal of Politics; Irish Journal of Anthropology; Women's Studies Quarterly; Social & Public Policy Review; Man in India and in several edited volumes. Her research on Chinese minorities in India and India-China relations has been published in Huaqiao Huaren Lishi Yanjiu (Overseas Chinese History Studies, in Mandarin), Security and Peace, China Report, and in the book Doing Time with Nehru. Her recent work on hydroelectric power projects and privatization in India has appeared in Perceptions and as a UNRISD Occasional Paper. Banerjee has been a research fellow at the BRICS Policy Center (BPC) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She has taught as visiting faculty at the Graduate Program in International Affairs (GPIA), The New School in New York City, and in India at Sikkim University in Gangtok and at FLAME in Pune.
*on leave Spring 2022*
Sony Coráñez Bolton is an Assistant Professor in Spanish and Latinx and Latin American Studies at Amherst College. Their research draws on Filipinx and Latinx queer cultural theory and critique. Their courses, taught in Spanish, English or a combination of the two(!), intentionally make connections between the fields of Asian American, US Latinx, Black, and indigenous studies. Sony’s research and teaching revolve around the intersection of Spanish colonialism and US imperialism in the Philippines as another “Borderlands” of encounter. Sony received their PhD in American Studies from the University of Michigan.
Kimberly Chang is an Associate Professor Emerita of Cultural Psychology at Hampshire College. She is a writer and teacher of hybrid stories and forms, with a focus on those whose lives span national borders and cultural worlds. Her interdisciplinary work combines anthropology and psychology to explore the relationship between culture and self, and turns to history and the arts as interpretive ways of knowing and representing both the diversities and the inequalities of human experience. As a writer, she is interested in the radical possibilities of creative non/fiction as a hybrid literary form for writing about migration and diaspora. Her book, Accomplice to Memory (Kaya Press, 2017), mixes memoir, fiction, and documentary photographs to explore the limits and possibilities of truth telling across generations and geographies. She is an alumni of the Juniper Summer Writing Institute and the Vermont Studio Center. She publishes under the name, Q.M. Zhang, and is the Prose Editor for The Massachusetts Review.
Richard T. Chu is Five College Associate Professor of History. He is author of Chinese and Chinese Mestizos of Manila: Family, Identity, and Culture 1860s–1930s (Brill, 2010). Currently, he is working on his next book entitled “Building A Nation, Effacing a Race: The “Chinaman” Question of the United States in the Philippines, 1898-1905” that analyses different newspaper articles dealing with the Chinese in the Philippines during the American colonial period. He teaches courses on the Chinese diaspora, Philippines, U.S. empire in the Pacific, and Asian/Pacific/America.
Jane Hwang Degenhardt is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Although her work focuses on early modern drama, it is often informed by and in conversation with questions that lie at the heart of Asian American studies. She approaches Shakespeare’s plays trans-historically and places them in conversation with writers of color and theoretical discussions of race and gender. Her undergraduate courses often foreground Asian American and African American writing, particularly as grounds for exploring cultural and inter-generational trauma. Her graduate courses address the historical underpinnings of race as well as its development in relation to changing definitions of the human and emerging templates for the post-human. She is the author of Islamic Conversion and Christian Resistance on the Early Modern Stage (Edinburgh, 2010). She is completing a book entitled Fortune’s Empire: Chance, Providence, and Overseas Ventures in Early Modern English Drama that explores the meaning of chance, luck, and risk--and how these concepts become racialized and gendered--in the context of early English global expansion. She is also beginning a new book project on pluralistic understandings of the concept of “world” that sources its arguments in Shakespeare’s plays as well as in contemporary creative fiction and non-fiction writing, in visual and performance art, and in film and digital media.
Robert Hayashi is Associate Professor of American studies at Amherst College where he teaches courses in Asian American studies, sports history, environmental studies, and writing. He is the author of Haunted by Waters: A Journey through Race in Place in the American West (Iowa, 2007), which explores the connected environmental and racial histories of Idaho. He served on the National Park Service Asian American Pacific Islander Theme Study Scholars Panel and has recently completed his second book manuscript, “Yinz Got Game? Sport and Identity in the Steel City.” He is currently working on research projects related to Asian American sports history.
Prof. Kang is an Associate Professor of the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Department at UMass Amherst and is affiliated with the Sociology Department. She received her B.A. magna cum laude in Social Studies at Harvard University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology at New York University, 2001. Her research is on Asian immigrant women's work in the service economy and her book, The Managed Hand: Race, Gender, and the Body in Beauty Service Work, focuses on Korean women in the nail salon industry and won multiple awards from several academic associations. Her other areas of interest are the social construction of race, gender and class, Asian American activism, second generation families, and ethnography. She also teaches a course on "Asian American Women: Gender, Race and Immigration."
Jina B. Kim is Assistant Professor of English Language & Literature and of the Study of Women & Gender at Smith College. She received her doctorate in English and women’s studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her bachelor's in studio art and English from Agnes Scott College. She specializes in feminist disability studies, women-of-color feminisms/queer-of-color critique and contemporary ethnic U.S. literatures with an emphasis on feminist-of-color writing and cultural expression post-1968. Prior to joining Smith College, she was a Consortium for Faculty Diversity postdoctoral fellow at Mount Holyoke College in the program in critical social thought.
Lili M. Kim is Associate Professor of History and Global Migrations in the School of Critical Social Inquiry at Hampshire College. She has served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar and Professor of History in the Division of International Studies at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, South Korea during the 2017-2019 academic year. She was also a Visiting Associate Professor of History and Ethnic Studies at Harvard University in 2010-2011. She is an interdisciplinary scholar who teaches 20th-century United States history broadly, focusing on the issues of (im)migration, race, gender, class, nation, and empire. She is currently at work on her book manuscript, In Transit: Migration, Globalization, and Koreans in Argentina and the United States, which traces the history of Korean migration to Argentina that began in 1965 and their remigration to the United States. Her work has been supported by the NEH, Fulbright, and Whiting Foundation, among others. Prior to coming to Hampshire College, she has taught at the State University of New York at Buffalo, University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California at Los Angeles.
Prof. Le is a Senior Lecturer in the Sociology department and also the Director of the Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program at UMass Amherst. His main research focuses on using Census data to describe and compare assimilation outcomes (socioeconomic, marital, residential, and entrepreneurial) among different Asian American ethnic groups, with a particular focus on Vietnamese Americans. He is the author of the book Asian American Assimilation: Ethnicity, Immigration, and Socioeconomic Attainment (2007). He teaches "The Asian American Experience" and "Bridging Asia and Asian America Colloquium" courses every year and also maintains a website titled Asian-Nation: Asian American History, Demographics, and Culture.
Asha Nadkarni is Associate Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research and teaching interests include postcolonial literature and theory, transnational feminist theory, US empire studies, and Asian American studies, with an emphasis on the literatures and cultures of the South Asian diaspora. Her book, Eugenic Feminism: Reproductive Nationalism in the United States and India (Minnesota, 2014), traces connections between U.S. and Indian nationalist feminisms to suggest that both launch their claims to feminist citizenship based on modernist constructions of the reproductive body as the origin of the nation. She is working on a second book project, tentatively titled From Opium to Outsourcing, that focuses on representations of South Asian labor in a global context.
Mazen Naous is Assistant Professor of English at University of Massachusetts Amherst. He holds a BFA from The Boston Conservatory in composition and classical guitar performance, and a PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Before joining the faculty at UMass, he taught at the College of Staten Island, CUNY, the College of Wooster, and the University of Balamand (Lebanon). His teaching and research interests include postcolonial literature and theory, Arab American literature, music and literature, classical and modernist Arabic literature, and translation theory. He has published on Arab American fiction, 19th and 20th-century comparative Anglo-Arab poetry, and postcolonial fiction. Naous recently edited a collection of international, interdisciplinary articles titled Identity and Conflict in the Middle East and Its Diasporic Cultures. His current book project is titled Poetics of Visibility in the Contemporary Arab American Novel.
Franklin Odo is currently The John J McCloy Visiting Professor of American Institutions and International Diplomacy at Amherst College. He teaches Asian American Studies in the American Studies Department. Among his regularly scheduled courses is a seminar on WWII and Japanese Americans. Odo was founding director, in 1997, of the Asian Pacific American Center at the Smithsonian Institution, retiring in 2010. He was Chief of the Asian Division at the Library of Congress in 2011. Odo was among the first faculty teaching Asian American Studies in the early 1970s at UCLA and Cal State Long Beach. He continued at the University of Hawaii Manoa and was a visiting professor at UPenn, Princeton, University of Maryland College Park, Hunter College, and Columbia in the 1990s. His last major monographs were No Sword to Bury: Japanese Americans in Hawai`i during WWII(Temple 1004) and Voices from the Canefields: Folksongs from Japanese Immigrant Workers in Hawai`i, published by Oxford in 2013. Odo edited Finding a Path Forward: Asian American Pacific Islander National Historic Landmarks Theme Study – published in hard copy and launched online by the National Park Service in 2017.
Malcolm Sen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Malcolm’s research areas include postcolonial studies and the environmental humanities with a focus on Irish and South Asian literatures; beyond these his interests range from global anglophone to climate fiction. He is the co- editor (with Lucienne Loh) of Postcolonial Literature and the Challenges for the New Millennium(Routledge, 2016). He is currently completing a book-length study of the transformation of sovereignty at a time of climate chaos: Unnatural Disasters: Literature, Climate Change and Sovereignty. He is the editor of The Cambridge History of the Environment in Irish Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2020). Other forthcoming publications include “Godhuli / Twilight” in Loanwords to Live With in the Anthropocene (University of Minnesota Press, 2019); “Sovereignty at the Margins: The Oceanic Future of the Subaltern” in Representing Poverty and Precarity in a Postcolonial World (Brill, 2019), “Risk and Refuge: Contemplating Precarity in Contemporary Irish Literature” in The Irish University Review (May 2019), “Particulate Matter and Planetary Aesthetics: Post-Statist Ecologies of James Joyce” in Irish Literature as World Literature (Bloomsbury, 2020). His podcast series, “Irish Studies and the Environmental Humanities,” is available through University College Dublin’s Scholarcast, Google Play and Apple iTunes. His thoughts on zombies and other crucial matters are found in The Chicago Review of Books.
Caroline H. Yang teaches Asian American literature and African American literature using the framework of critical race studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her first book, The Peculiar Afterlife of Slavery: The Minstrel Form and the Chinese Worker in American Literature, forthcoming from Stanford University Press in 2020, examines blackface minstrelsy as a US cultural institution that played a crucial role in literary representations of Chinese workers during and after Reconstruction in order to highlight the enduring antiblackness born out of slavery. Her other scholarly publications can be found in Modern Fiction Studies (MFS), MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, the Journal of Asian American Studies, and Asian American Literature in Transition Volume I (1850-1930), forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in 2020.
The Five College Asian/Pacific/American Studies Certificate Program enables students to pursue concentrated study of the experiences of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the Americas. Through courses chosen in consultation with their campus program advisers, students can learn to appreciate Asian/Pacific/American (A/P/A) cultural and artistic expressions, understand and critique the racial formation of Asian/Pacific/Americans and investigate how international conflicts, global economic systems and ongoing migration affect A/P/A communities and individuals and their intersections with others.
Drawing upon diverse faculty-, archival- and community-based resources, the Five College Program in Asian/Pacific/American Studies encourages students not only to develop knowledge of the past experiences of Asian/Pacific/Americans, but also to act with responsible awareness of their present material conditions.
Normally, application for the certificate occurs in the spring semester of the final year, when students, in consultation with their campus program advisor, complete a Certificate Completion Form (below). The campus program advisor, after signing the form, will submit the application for review and approval by the Five College Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program Committee.
Students approved for the certificate by the committee will be awarded certificates and acknowledgment of successful completion of the program will be added to official transcripts by campus registrars.
The requirements include a minimum of seven courses, distributed among the following categories. To earn an A/P/A certificate, you take one foundation course, choose five electives, and complete an independent project. You can apply courses you are already taking for your degree to the A/P/A certificate—something you wouldn’t be able to do with a degree minor. In this way, you can make earning a certificate an extension of your existing course of study or an exploration of something completely different.
One Foundation Course
During your first or second year, you will take one foundation course that offers an interdisciplinary perspective on historical and contemporary experiences of Asian/Pacific/Americans. Attention will be paid to interrogating the term Asian/Pacific/American and to comparing different A/P/A populations distinguished, for example, by virtue of their different geographical or cultural derivations, their distribution within the Americas, and their historical experience of migration.
Five Elective Courses
You then take five elective courses, including at least one from each of the following categories:
Expressions. Courses devoted to the study of A/P/A expression in its many forms.
U.S. Intersections. Courses dedicated to the study of intersections between A/P/A and non-A/P/A experiences within the United States.
Global Intersections. Courses that offer perspectives on Asian/Pacific/Americans from outside the United States.
Usually in your third or fourth year, you complete a special project based on intensive study of an A/P/A community through research, service learning or creative work such as an internship, action-research or a fine arts project. This is often done by students enrolled in an upper-level or independent study course.
Projects should include both self-reflective and analytic components. Students fulfilling this requirement will meet as a group at least once during the semester to discuss their ongoing projects, and at the end of the semester to present their completed projects at a student symposium or other public presentation. Students' plans for completing the requirement should be approved by a campus program advisor in the previous semester.
Other Notes and Stipulations
Students must receive the equivalent of a "B" grade or better in all courses counted toward the certificate. (In the case of Hampshire students taking courses at Hampshire, "B" equivalence will be determined by the Hampshire program advisor based on written evaluations supplied by course instructors.)
Courses counted toward satisfaction of campus-based major requirements may also be counted toward the Five College Certificate.
No course can be counted as satisfying more than one certificate distribution requirement.
Courses taken abroad may be used to fulfill the distribution requirement with the approval of the campus program advisor.
Students are encouraged to attain some proficiency in at least one language other than English, especially if such proficiency facilitates the completion of the Special Project component of the certificate program. While English is sufficient and appropriate for the completion of many projects involving Asian/Pacific/American communities, many sources and communities can be consulted only through other languages.