A Brief History
By the mid-1990s, three significant trends became increasingly prominent across many colleges around the U.S. -- (1) a recognition of the growing importance of globalized international affairs, particularly focused on Asia; (2) the political, economic, and cultural growth of the Asian American population; and (3) demographic trends and a large increase in the number of Asian and Asian American students enrolling in college. As a reflection of these developments, many students and scholars pushed for the expansion of Asian Studies and Asian American Studies at their campuses.
In the late 1990s, students at UMass Amherst engaged in numerous forms of activism, including protests and occupying the administration building, to demand the creation of an Asian American Studies program. Their efforts successfully culminated with the creation of a new joint undergraduate program in Asian and Asian American Studies in the spring of 2000. Since then, the Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program has graduated dozens of students from diverse personal and academic backgrounds who have gone on to apply their knowledge and skills in numerous careers and pursuits.
Why It Matters
As U.S. society becomes more diverse, multicultural, and globalized, and in the context of the cultural and economic emergence of Asian countries such as China and India, the Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate gives students the opportunity to learn about the interconnections between two similar but unique sets of histories, cultures, and issues -- Asia and Asian America.
With course offerings and faculty specializing in numerous academic disciplines, the Certificate is designed to give students (1) an understanding of different Asian and Asian American ethnic groups and the range of historical, political, economic, demographic, and cultural issues related to their experiences and (2) interdisciplinary and multi-method research and learning skills. In turn, these skills will give the student a competitive advantage in both their studies at UMass and in whatever career they enter once they graduate.
Please refer to the menu on the right for links to more information about the Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program, including requirements of the certificate, frequently asked questions, and an updated listing of courses that count toward the certificate. For additional information about the Certificate, please contact:
C.N. Le, Director
Department of Sociology
Thompson Hall 508
Congratulations to the following students for completing the UMass Amherst Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate for 2011-2012:
- William Goldstick, Concentration in Asian Studies
- Lisa Hum, Concentration in Asian Studies
- David Pham, Concentration in Asian Studies
- Yevin Roh, Concentration in Asian American Studies
All of them worked very hard throughout their courses and particularly with their Senior Seminar capstone projects. Completing the Certificate is an important accomplishment and one that they should definitely feel proud of. It is students like these who sustain the Certificate Program and help make it vibrant and dynamic. Best of luck to them all as they graduate, start their careers, and bring their knowledge and wisdom to their own communities.
The Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program (AAASCP) has completed another productive and successful 2011-2012 year. We are very pleased that four students completed the Certificate this year. This number is a little lower than the last few years (we averaged seven students the past two years). However, several students are poised to complete their requirements for the Certificate by the end of the next academic year.
Further, in emphasizing quality over quantity, the Certificate students completed very interesting and relevant projects that analyzed and personified complex issues such as spoken word inspirations on being an Asian American male, comparisons of nutrition and dietary patterns of Asians and Asian Americans, a review of China's modern educational system, and the contexts and constraints faced by Asians and Asian Americans in professional sports.
This year, the AAASCP and several affiliated faculty were involved in numerous public events, activities, and talks that took place here at UMass and at other Five College campuses. We have forged stronger relationships with the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS) and the Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center (YKCC) and were very pleased to collaborate with them on events that focused on such issues as Tibetan culture and Sino-Tibetan relationships, Indian arranged marriages, Korean American culture, Hmong refugees, the democracy movement in Burma, a tribute to survivors of the Khmer Rouge, redefining Asian American beauty, Asian American activism in the 21st century, single motherhood and women's employment in Japan, and transcultural health policies. By all accounts, these events were a big success and raised the profiles of the AAASCP, its students, faculty, and of UMass Amherst as well.
Our affiliated AAASCP faculty were also busy during the academic year. In particular, I am pleased to report that Miliann Kang's (Associate Professor in Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies) book The Managed Hand: Race, Gender and the Body in Beauty Service Work (University of California Press) won several national awards from three sections of the American Sociological Association and the National Women's Studies Association. Further, through the work of Ranjanna Devi, Director of the Asian Arts & Culture Program at UMass, we are very excited to host nationally-renowned performance artist Dan Kwong to UMass and the Five College area this fall.
As we continually impress upon our current and potential Certificate students, as American society becomes increasingly culturally diverse and globalized, those who have a detailed understanding of different racial/ethnic groups, of international socioeconomic issues, and multi-methodological and interdisciplinary research and analytical skills -- all of which the AAAS Certificate gives them -- will have a competitive advantage in their studies at UMass, in whatever career they enter once they graduate, and in applying their knowledge as community leaders in 21st century U.S. society.
For an updated listing of upcoming talks, events, and other activities related to the certificate program, remember to check the Events & Activities Calendar and the Recent Announcements & Opportunities pages.