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Research and Scholarship

The Department of Asian American Studies congratulates Professor erin Khuê Ninh on her new book, Passing for Perfect: College Impostors and Other Model Minorities

From the publisher's summary: "In her engaging study, Passing for Perfect, erin Khuê Ninh considers the factors that drove college imposters such as Azia Kim—who pretended to be a Stanford freshman—and Jennifer Pan—who hired a hitman to kill her parents before they found out she had never received her high school diploma—to extreme lengths to appear successful. Why would someone make such an illogical choice? And how do they stage these lies so convincingly, and for so long? 

These outlier examples prompt Ninh to address the larger issue of the pressures and difficulties of striving to be model minority, where failure is too ruinous to admit. Passing for Perfect insists that being a 'model minority' is not a 'myth,' but coded into one’s programming as an identity—a set of convictions and aspirations, regardless of present socioeconomic status or future attainability—and that the true cost of turning children into high-achieving professionals may be higher than anyone can bear.  

Ninh’s book codifies for readers the difference between imposters who are con artists or shysters and those who don’t know how to stop passing for perfect."

Book trailer now on YouTube: https://youtu.be/LHBdhcwbVJo

Department Spotlight

The Department wishes to give a special shout to Cali Poeu Huynh, AS AM major from the Class of 2021! Thank you for providing us with your testimonial for our Student Spotlight series on what made you decide to pursue our major. Wishing you all the best in your future endeavors!!

Are you interested in sharing your story about what lead you to major in AS AM? Email Undergraduate Advisor Cora Danielson at cora@ucsb.edu to be featured on our next Student Spotlight!