The Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate is an interdisciplinary program consisting of eight courses that provides students with (1) a thorough understanding of both Asian and Asian American histories, experiences, and contemporary issues and (2) multi-disciplinary and multi-method research, analysis, and critical thinking skills, both of which prepare students for the increasingly diverse, globalized, and interconnected world of the 21st century.
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 to communicate and collaborate across cultures. 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 828
Congratulations to the following students for completing the UMass Amherst Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate for 2018-2019:
- Emily Chin, Concentration in Asian Studies
- Samantha Huynh, Concentrations in Asian American Studies
- Dien-Lien Riquier, 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 AAASCP has worked very hard to promote the Certificate around campus, and more students are seeing the value of the Certificate’s combination of providing them with a detailed understanding of the increasingly important political, economic, and cultural connections between Asia and Asian America, along with practical interdisciplinary and multi-methodological skills that they can use in their studies and their future careers.
As part of its mission to contribute to the rich and vibrant academic community of UMass Amherst and the Five Colleges, the AAASCP continues to forge strong collaborative relationships with the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS), the Asian/Asian American Residential Community in Lewis Hall, the Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center (YKCC), and the Asian Arts and Culture Program (AACP) and was very pleased to partner with them on several events and activities.
In the Fall 2018 semester, the AAASCP collaborated with CMASS and several Asian American student organizations on the first annual UMass Asian American Film Festival. Spearheaded by student Lily Tang and using funds from a Campus Climate Award and other fundraising efforts, this UMass Asian American Film Festival featured works from renowned filmmakers Ken Eng ("My Life in China,” a biographical documentary about his father’s immigration journey from China), Adele Pham ("Nailed It” documenting the rise of the nail salon industry among Vietnamese Americans), and the Wong Fu Productions (“Yappie,” a comedy series about the lives of ‘Young Asian Professionals’). The turnout was outstanding and standing-room only for all three films as attendees got the chance to not only view each film but to also have intimate Q&A and ‘Meet and Greet’ sessions with each filmmakers and to learn about each of their journeys into the realm of media and filmmaking and how they incorporate Asian American identity and experiences into their work. Through Lily’s tireless hard work, passion, and energy, the UMass Asian American Film Festival was a resounding success and the Certificate program was thrilled to contribute to this impressive achievement.
Certificate faculty also participated in a luncheon with representatives from the South Korean Consulate that was also attended by Chancellor Subbaswamy and Kalpen Trivaldi (Director of the International Programs Office), in which attendees worked to develop a professional network aimed at fostering closer academic ties between UMass Amherst and the South Korean government. The Certificate was also proud to host several very successful visits of notable scholars to the UMass and other Five College campuses, including Pei-cha Lan (Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Director of Global Asia Research Center, and Associate Dean of the College of Social Sciences at National Taiwan University) and Jeff Chang (Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University). Throughout the year, we also had a number of lectures, workshops, and/or panels given by or featuring Certificate-affiliated faculty, graduate students, staff, and undergraduate students related to Asian Studies and Asian American Studies on topics such as a Young Leader’s Symposium (hosted by the Massachusetts Asian American Commission), the 2015 Candlelight Revolution in South Korea, indigenous Hawaiian history and culture, the Harvard affirmative action lawsuit, the Japanese American internment, a special Asian American issue of the Massachusetts Review, and “hyper education” among Indian Americans, to name just a few.
The AAASCP is also preparing to commemorate our 20th anniversary -- in the late 1990s, students at UMass Amherst engaged in numerous forms of activism, including protests and occupying the Goodell 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. To mark this anniversary, the AAASCP will collaborate with the Five College Asian Pacific American Studies Certificate Program (FCAPA), whose program was established soon thereafter, to put on a day-and-a-half symposium to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Asian and Asian American Studies at UMass Amherst and the Five Colleges in the Spring of 2020. Toward that end, the AAASCP capped off the academic year by participating for the first time in the UMass Gives annual giving campaign. Since this was the Certificate Program’s first year participating, we had modest goals but using our networks to publicize our goal of raising money to support the 20th anniversary commemoration activities, we raised almost $500 from committed alumni and supporters.
As we continually impress upon our Certificate students, as U.S. 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.
University Response to Federal Immigration Actions
UMass Amherst has created a page that contains updated information and resources related to recent federal actions restricting immigration from certain countries. Any member of the UMass Amherst community with travel-related concerns or questions should contact the International Programs Office at (413) 545-2710. For further information, contact Kenneth Reade, Director of International Student & Scholar Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (413) 545-2843.
For an updated listing of upcoming talks, events, and other activities related to the certificate program, remember to check and to 'like' our Facebook Page!