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.
Statement in Support of UMass Amherst's Black Community
In light of recent incidents of anti-Black racism that included anonymous emails sent to Black students and organizations at UMass Amherst, the Asian & Asian American Studies Program stands in unwavering solidarity with our Black community at UMass Amherst and beyond. We strongly echo the statements that were recently released by the Black Advisory Council of the Office for Equity and Inclusion, the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, the Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies, the Native Advisory Council, the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies department, and our other allies across campus.
First and foremost, our thoughts are with the Black members of the UMass Amherst community who have been affected by these and other examples of anti-Black racism on campus and elsewhere. As the Black Advisory Council wrote, we share their outrage and heartbreak at once again having to endure such examples of hateful spite and we celebrate their ongoing resilience and strength in the face of these and other challenges.
As our colleagues have also pointed out, these ignorant and repugnant incidents illustrate how the legacy and ongoing tragic effects of institutional injustice and white supremacy are firmly embedded into U.S. social institutions, and demonstrate how Black lives are being systematically devalued. We support efforts to hold those who commit such acts of racial terror accountable, and we also call for changing the fundamental structures that reinforce and perpetuate systemic racism in all areas of U.S. society.
Finally, we reiterate our earlier calls for the Asian American community to recognize how the model minority stereotype contributes to false divisions with other communities of color, and may blind us to the oppression and injustice felt by members of the Black community. We also urge Asian Americans to reject attempts to use the increase in anti-Asian racism as another mechanism to perpetuate the overcriminalization of the Black community and instead, call on Asian Americans (and the field of Asian and Asian American Studies) to fight for concrete, meaningful actions that address fundamental inequities related to economic insecurity, healthcare, unemployment, housing, and incarceration for the Black community and all those in vulnerable positions.
Due to the pandemic the last two years, we only have two UMass students who completed the Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate this year:
- Rachael Chen, Concentration in Asian Studies
- Liya Liang, Concentrations in Asian American Studies
Rachael and Liya both 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, and they deserve particular congratulations for being flexible, resilient, and determined to overcome the myriad of challenges that they faced these past two years during the pandemic. We wish them the best of luck as they graduate, start the next chapter of their educational journey or their careers, and bring their knowledge and wisdom to their own communities.
A History of the Program
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 close to one hundred students from diverse personal and academic backgrounds who have gone on to apply their knowledge and skills in numerous careers and pursuits.
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, including requirements to complete the certificate, frequently asked questions, and an updated listing of courses that count toward the certificate. For additional information, please contact:
C.N. Le, Director
Department of Sociology
Thompson Hall 828