Scholars in Asian American Studies have always been in conversation with scholars in Black Studies, Chicano and Chicana Studies, Native American Studies, and Feminist Studies, as well as scholars working in race and ethnicity across more traditional departments in the social sciences and in the humanities. Scholars in comparative ethnic studies have shown, through their research, how law and social norms have cut across racial, ethnic, and gendered groups, denying a range of people their dignity based on race, ethnicity, migration status, gender, sexuality, and disability. These scholars have also shown how, in turn, people have organized across these differences, to resist unjust and unfair conditions by forming powerful alliances. Professor Diane Fujino’s research has focused on cross-racial solidarities, especially between African Americans and Asian Americans. Professor Lisa Park has explored how environmental and social policies have impacted a broad range of vulnerable groups, and Professor John Park has published work that shows, in similar ways, how immigration rules continue to shape inequality in the United States.
Many of our courses in the Department reflect approaches common in comparative ethnic studies. In addition to Asian Americans, we study the impact of law and policy and structural racism on African Americans, Native Americans, and Chicano and Chicanos. By including and illuminating the experiences of other people of color, we stress how oppressed people often share common problems, and by highlighting how we can work together, we teach students the importance of coalition building and collective problem solving.