The Department of Asian American Studies at UCSB was the very first academic department dedicated to the study of Asian Americans at a major research university, and the first department in the United States to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian American Studies.

The Department offers undergraduate majors the opportunity to study and understand the experiences of Asian Americans, particularly their histories, communities, and cultures. Students learn to evaluate the existing literature in Asian American Studies, to analyze a variety of data on Asian Americans, to conduct original research, and to participate in internships and social justice issues.

A minor degree, Honors program, and community studies courses are also available to students. The Department provides a well-rounded, interdisciplinary curriculum which engages approaches from traditional disciplines, including history, sociology, anthropology, and literature, as well as from interdisciplinary scholarship in women's studies, law and society, public policy, global studies, social movements, cultural studies, and film and media studies.



Angela Marie Subido

The Asian American Studies Department has given me new meaning as to what it means to be “Asian American.” Through each course I have enriched my understanding of history, multiculturalism, and community formations. Each lesson has served as a unique piece to the puzzle that fits together and defines Asian American identity. Being an Asian American Studies major has allowed me to see the greater picture, to be more mindful of the lived experiences of others, and to be more thoughtful in examining myself as a cultural being. Although my time here at UCSB is coming to an end, I have realized that I have barely unearthed the surface of the Asian American experience. Despite all that I have studied and critiqued in the classroom, when I leave Santa Barbara in the Spring, I will remain bright-eyed and curious, and most importantly inspired to translate the knowledge I have gained into tangible change. I thank the department for igniting my passion, and strive to be an advocate for the mental health, well-being, and solidarity of the Asian American community in future endeavors. -- Class of 2019


Jenna Leung

Becoming an Asian American Studies minor was one of the best choices I could have made at UCSB. After taking my first Asian American Studies course during winter quarter of my freshman year, I decided I wanted to learn more about Asian American Studies. Since then, I have taken classes about Asian American immigration, popular culture, religion, aesthetics, and so much more. I would not trade these classes and the knowledge I have obtained for anything. Each class has brought a new and different perspective and aspect of Asian American culture that I have previously knew nothing about. I have learned so much about my own family's history that I would have never explored had I never taken Asian American courses. This department has redefined what being Asian American is to me and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to learn and broaden my understanding of culture and myself. -- Class of 2019




Department professor co-authors book examining important period in China's history, its human impacts and resistances.

Students use personal stories to connect environmental justice with issues of race and migration.