With mentorship from senior scholars, graduate student essays demonstrate new directions in Asian American Studies in latest Amerasia Journal

42.2 coverAmerasia Journal’s newest release “Intergenerational Collaborations” celebrates its 45th anniversary by highlighting graduate student research in Asian American Studies.  A first for Amerasia, the special issue focuses exclusively on graduate student essays that benefited from collaborations between these emerging scholars and their esteemed mentors.  As guest editors Yến Lê-Espiritu (University of California, San Diego) and Cathy Schlund-Vials (University of Connecticut) explain the inspiration for the project, “‘Intergenerational Collaborations’ brings to light the disciplinary diversity of a critical field that reflects and refracts histories of race-based oppression, the ongoing-ness of U.S. empire, and the possibilities embedded in cross-racial solidarities.”

The research collected feature new perspectives that seek out complex and under-explored intersections, be they between ethnic and racial groups or transnational engagements.  Divided into two parts, the first focuses on “Community Formations and Communal Histories.”  Lawrence Lan offers a look at China City, a tourist attraction in Los Angeles that existed from 1938 to 1948, delving into the relationship between development projects, white supremacy, and U.S. imperialism.  Michael Schulze-Oechtering’s essay traces what he calls the “cross-fertilization” of African American and Filipino American labor consciousness, connecting blues epistemology and Manong knowledge.  Transnational border-crossings are the focus of Jael Vizcarra’s description of Laotian refugee resettlement to Dirty War-era Argentina in the late 1970s and Se Hwa Lee’s study of Korean wild-geese mothers navigating co-ethnic networks for their children as they migrate to North America.

The second half of “Intergenerational Collaborations” is devoted to issues of cultural representation.  Melissa Phruksachart rethinks Asian American representation in television, explaining how 1950s-‘60s sitcoms are part of a “televisual genealogy of the model minority.”  Two essays turn to Asian American literature and how its dimensions have expanded:  Michelle Huang cites genetics and science fiction studies alongside Asian American Studies in her analysis of Larissa Lai’s Salt Fish Girl, while Danielle Seid interrogates the intersections between trans identity and the Asian immigrant experience in Kim Fu’s For Today I Am a Boy.  Lina Chhun considers how different archives and art capture–or fail to capture–Cambodian memories of war atrocities and their aftermath.

The guest editors and staff of Amerasia Journal are pleased to have brought together a diverse issue that presents some of Asian American Studies rising scholars, as well as offers a glimpse of the future of the field. This issue also includes a profile of the Orange County-based Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association, a non-profit organization that reaches out to communities through Vietnamese arts and culture.  Books reviewed include Khatharya Um’s From the Land of Shadows, Robeson Taj Frazier’s The East Is Black, the collected volume on Hawaiian sovereignty A Nation Rising, and Sean Metzger’s Chinese Looks.

[PDF of this Press Release]


Copies of the issue can be ordered via phone, email, or mail.  Each issue of Amerasia Journal costs $15.00 plus shipping/handling and applicable sales tax.  Please contact the Center Press for detailed ordering information.

UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press
3230 Campbell Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1546
Phone: 310-825-2968 | Email: aascpress@aasc.ucla.edu
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Amerasia Journal is published three times a year:  Spring, Summer/Fall, and Winter.  Annual subscriptions for Amerasia Journal are $99.00 for individuals and $445.00 for libraries and other institutions.  The annual subscription price includes access to the Amerasia Journal online database, with full-text versions of published issues dating back to 1971.  Instructors interested in this issue for classroom use should contact the above email address to request a review copy.


K. Scott Wong, Williams College
Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, University of Irvine
Lisa Sun-Hee Park, University of California, Irvine
Min Zhou, Nanyang Technological University and UCLA
Peter X. Feng, University of Delaware
Crystal Parikh, New York University
Tina Chen, Pennsylvania State University
Lisa Yoneyama, University of Toronto


Title:  The Rise and Fall of China City
Author(s):  Lawrence Lan
Affiliation(s):  UCLA

Abstract:  This essay brings Los Angeles’s short-lived China City into a broader narrative of United States Orientalist fantasy, comparative racial formation, and imperial multiculturalism in the 1930s and 1940s.  On June 7, 1938, wealthy socialite Christine Sterling unveiled her latest tourist and commercial project to the public:  China City.  For the next ten years, before it burned down for the second and last time in 1948, China City existed as a commercial tourist attraction to outsiders who came to enjoy the Orientalist spectacle captured by Sterling’s vision, which included set pieces and costumes taken from the film adaptation of Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth, and a “Great Wall” motif donated by filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille.  Through the examination of mainstream newspaper accounts, this essay locates a domesticating mode of white supremacy in China City and argues that Christine Sterling’s “dreams of Oriental romance” in China City represented a mode of white supremacy that attempted to mobilize images of Chinese racial difference to support U.S. imperial projects in the Pacific. The “failure,” or transience, of China City marked the limits of such a commercial, racialized spectacle at this historical moment. Against the backdrop of various local, national, and transnational contexts.


Title:  The Alaska Cannery Workers Association and the Ebbs and Flows of Struggle
Author(s):  Michael Schulze-Oechtering
Affiliation(s):  University of California, Berkeley

Abstract:  The recent scholarship of civil rights historians and ethnic studies scholars have troubled the notion that appeals to a “common oppression” as “people of color” can unify multiracial coalitions.  Rather, they have built their analysis around the concept of “differential racialization.”  While distinct racial experiences should not be conflated, we also know that that communities of color do not live in isolation.  With this later point in mind, this article examines an understudied history of black and Filipino labor solidarity in the Pacific Northwest.  Specifically, my analysis centers the Alaska Cannery Worker Association (ACWA), a group of Filipino and other non-white white cannery workers in Alaska that formed in the summer of 1973.  While they were a product of a long history of Filipino labor radicalism on the West Coast, they drew upon the resources and strategies of militant black workers in Seattle’s building trades.  To illustrate the fluid exchange of resources, people, and ideas between these laboring populations, I focus on two distinct, but overlapping “organic intellectual traditions” that informed the ACWA, “blues epistemology” and “manong knowledge.”  In doing so, this paper offers a new framework for the study of multiracial social movement:  racial cross-fertilization.


Title:  Humanitarian Disappointments
Author(s):  Jael Vizcarra
Affiliation(s):  University of California, San Diego

Abstract:  In September 1979 after a summer conference in Geneva the Argentine military junta welcomed a contingent of 293 Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese refugee families seeking asylum.  The junta cited Argentina’s spirit of solidarity towards war victims as the reason for this gesture.  In the 1970s Argentina faced a population decline and an increased demand for labor in the provinces of La Pampa, Misiones, and Tucuman.  These conditions, along with the junta’s interest in improving its public image abroad within a Cold War binary, provided a seemingly ideal scenario for the migration of Southeast Asians to the Southern Cone.  Refugees were culled according to their ideological and occupational characteristics to satisfy the needs of the agricultural labor sector.  Using mainstream Argentine newspapers, this paper outlines the challenges that ultimately undermined the program and the implications of this effort.  This episode illustrates the complexity of state sponsored efforts of transnational solidarity in the context of south-south refugee resettlement and the overlooked role of labor in shaping resettlement programs.


Title:  Only If You Are One of Us
Author(s):  Se Hwa Lee
Affiliation(s):  State University of New York, Albany

Abstract:  Korean wild geese mothers make up a rapidly increasing but underexplored group of middle-class Asian migrant women who cross the national borders with their children for education.  This essay discusses how Korean wild geese mothers strive to successfully perform intensive mothering and accomplish the educational goals for their children, while overcoming unexpected challenges in the host societies.  For this essay, I primarily rely on interviews of 31 Korean wild geese mothers in United States. Canada, and South Korea. I corroborate the importance of the co-ethnic immigrant community as critical resources for migrant women.  However, I also identify the special costs that these women have to pay for the legitimate access to their own ethnic community’s resources and information.  Demonstrating the ambivalent impacts of the Korean immigrant communities on wild geese mothers, this essay adds a more nuanced explanation to the Asian American Studies on the complex interplay between immigrant social networks and middle-class Asian migrant women’s parenting and empowerment.


Title:  The Asian American Next Door
Author(s):  Melissa Phruksachart
Affiliation(s):  City University of New York, Graduate Center

Abstract:  This essay inquires into the aesthetic modes that made the concept of “the model minority” legible for mainstream white American audiences during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.  Specifically, it looks to the television sitcom, as both the television industry and Asian American communities rapidly established themselves in California during this period.  In multiple instances, Asian integration into white suburban neighborhoods met with resistance (and counter-resistance) that drew local, national, and even international attention.  Through archival research and close readings of episodes of the popular sitcoms The Donna Reed Show (ABC, 1958-1966) and My Three Sons (ABC, 1960-1965; CBS, 1965-1972), which center Asian American actors, I explore how television and its various stakeholders negotiated the incursion of Asian American neighbors.  My focus on the domestic sitcom suggests the importance of looking to the domestic as that which generates the gendered and sexualized differences through which race becomes legible.  The essay is an attempt to thicken the histories of racialized media representation away from the dichotomy of oppression and resistance.  My analysis of these Cold War enfigurations helps us think about what it means to desire race-based “realism” in popular culture, and to associate it with liberal narratives of progress, futurity, and justice.


Title:  Creative Evolution
Author(s):  Michelle N. Huang
Affiliation(s):  Pennsylvania State University

Abstract:  The interlacing of pre- and postmodern genres–mythology and dystopian science fiction–in Larissa Lai’s Salt Fish Girl (2002) formally enacts the novel’s meditation on genetic splicing and the boundaries of the individual human.  This article examines the novel’s transpositional origin stories through a framework I call “narrative symbiogenesis,” which draws from posthumanism, science fiction studies, and Asian American Studies.  Symbiogenesis, a theory articulated by evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis, refers to a specific type of symbiosis (long-term relationships between different species) that is the primary mechanism that generates new organs, tissues, and even species.  Building off Margulis’s deconstruction of an essential human organism, narrative symbiogenesis demands a concomitant reassessment of the language of singular organicity, specifically in relation to the fraught genres of origin stories and developmental narratives.  This reconsideration is particularly necessary for Asian American literature, given that logics of “biological” racial difference persist on the molecular scale even in a so-called “postracial” era.  In contradistinction, I argue the version of the human species that Salt Fish Girl presents is one of continual mutation and contamination and also one of deep interconnectivity.  Reading Lai’s experimental text through narrative symbiogenesis shows Salt Fish Girl is not merely postmodern pastiche, but embodies a generic form that makes visible the process of its syncretic creation.


Title:  Third Chinese Daughter
Author(s):  Danielle Seid
Affiliation(s):  University of Oregon

Abstract:  This essay pursues two modes for reading Kim Fu’s For Today I Am a Boy (2015), which tells the story of the Huangs, a working-class Chinese immigrant family living in Canada in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, as narrated by the novel’s “only son” and trans femme protagonist.  First, the essay performs a trans-generational reading of the novel that attends to the complexities of trans identity and experience within the Asian American immigrant family.  In doing so, the essay opens up critical possibilities for bringing together two discursive fields that rarely intersect in popular discourse:  trans subjectivity and racialized immigrant labor.  Reading the novel as a trans-generational bildungsroman, the essay demonstrates how familiar narratives of racialized Asian immigrant experience assume new meanings when focalized by a trans protagonist.  Second, the essay reads “from the bottom,” exploring how the novel’s descriptions of conditions and experiences of bottomness–in terms of race, gender, sexuality, and immigrant status–offer a critique of social hierarchies that structure contemporary North American society, and more broadly global capitalism.  In combining these two modes of reading, trans-generationally and “from the bottom,” this essay urges its reader to account for the various complicated forces that shape racialized trans, femme, and immigrant subjectivity and experience.


Title:  “Sometime American Can. . .Make Mistake Too. . .”
Author(s):  Lina Chhun
Affiliation(s):  UCLA

Abstract:  This paper offers with an analysis of the unofficial register of my father’s oral history interview regarding the U.S. bombing of Neak Leung.  Reading two passages in his interview for what is remembered and forgotten, I highlight the ways in which experiential registers contain the potential to reproduce as well as trouble hegemonic Cold War logics.  Transitioning to a discussion regarding the relationship between archives and contested memories in the afterlife of violence, this essay illustrates the possibilities of reading my father’s story as documentation alongside what I term two “archival collections.”  Analyzing how the online presence of the Documentation Center of Cambodia and artist-documentarian Vandy Rattana’s work differentially fulfill the traditional archival purposes of documentation, transparency, and accountability, this paper queries the ways in which these archives might function to produce different claims to historical truth in the afterlife of violence.  In doing so, the paper addresses the following questions:  How might we make historical silences legible without reproducing a regime of truth invested in discrete events of (spectacular) violence?  How might we also do so without reifying a narrative of U.S. exceptionalism that allows us to forget the ongoing violences of militarism and empire?


Community Spotlight: Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association

Book Reviews: 

  • Khatharya Um’s From the Land of Shadows: War, Revolution, and the Making of the Cambodian Diaspora (Reviewed by Sheila Pinkel)
  • Robeson Taj Frazier’s The East Is Black: Cold War China in the Black Radical Imagination (Reviewed by Ajay Kumar Batra)
  • Noelani Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua, Ikaika Hussey, and Erin Kahunawaika’ala Wright’s A Nation Rising: Hawaiian Movements for Life, Land, and Sovereignty (Reviewed by Derek Taira)
  • Sean Metzger’s Chinese Looks (Reviewed by Cathy J. Schlund-Vials)
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CALL FOR PAPERS: Exhibiting Race and Culture

Amerasia Journal‘s latest call for papers:
With Guest Editors:
Professor Constance Chen (Loyola Marymount University)
Professor Melody Rod-ari (Loyola Marymount University)

Publication Date: Issue planned for Summer/Fall 2017 publication

Due Date: Paper submission (5,000-6,000 words excluding endnotes) due November 15, 2016

In 1886, Queen Victoria opened the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London seated on the golden throne of the deposed Maharaja Ranjit Singh as a potent symbol of the “bonds of union” within the British Empire.  While Indian colonial subjects were made visible through the creation and dissemination of certain visual imageries, they were rendered powerless and voiceless in the process.  In recent decades, scholars from a multitude of disciplines have problematized Western perceptions of “the East” by interrogating and dismantling existing paradigms and frameworks.  Moreover, the display and repatriation of Asian and Pacific Islander cultural artifacts as well as the (in)visibility of Asian Pacific Americans in popular media have led to discussions regarding how various peoples have sought to conceptualize themselves locally and internationally, thereby further complicating racial discourses and transnational exchanges.

In this special issue of Amerasia Journal, we seek to examine the ways in which visual representations have shaped political, socioeconomic, cultural, and ideological milieus on both sides of the Pacific across historical time and geographical space.  How have Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders been portrayed and—in turn—portrayed themselves in museums, world’s fairs, international biennales, visual and performing arts, the media, literature, film and television, politics, and beyond?  How do imperialist sentiments still manifest themselves through the visual?  How are race and culture imagined and redefined from differing localities and time periods?  How can marginalized groups utilize the depiction of the non-West to refashion individual and national identities?  We invite submissions that delve into topics such as, but not limited to, the display of indigenous cultures in museums, the role of heritage sites and tourism in the fabrication of nationalism, the construction of race in electoral politics, the intersection of racial and gender discourses in film and television, the engendering of Otherness by peoples of color, the impact of political cartoons on nineteenth-century immigration legislations as well as comparative analyses across racial-ethnic groups.  We are particularly interested in essays that use interdisciplinary approaches and cross-cultural perspectives.

Submission Guidelines and Review Process

The guest editors, in consultation with the Amerasia Journal editors and peer reviewers, make the decisions on which submissions will be included in the special issue.  The process is as follows:

  • Initial review of submitted papers by guest editors and Amerasia Journal editorial staff
  • Papers approved by editors will undergo blind peer review
  • Revision of accepted peer-reviewed papers and final submission

All correspondences should refer to “Amerasia Journal Exhibiting Race and Culture Issue” in the subject line.  Please send inquiries and manuscripts to Professor Constance Chen (cchen@lmu.edu), Professor Melody Rod-ari (mrodari@lmu.edu), and Dr. Arnold Pan, Associate Editor (arnoldpan@ucla.edu).

Download a PDF of this CFP: Exhibiting Race and Culture, Amerasia Journal

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Announcing: Call for 2016-2017 Lucie Cheng Prize Nominations

2016-2017 Lucie Cheng Prize Nominations

Amerasia Journal invites faculty to nominate exceptional graduate student essays (masters and doctoral level) in the interdisciplinary field of Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies for the 2016-2017 Lucie Cheng Prize. The selected article will be published in Amerasia Journal, with a $1,500 prize to be awarded to the winner.

The Lucie Cheng Prize honors the late Professor Lucie Cheng (1939-2010), a longtime faculty member of UCLA and the first permanent director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center (1972-1987).  Professor Cheng was a pioneering scholar who brought an early and enduring transnational focus to the study of Asian Americans and issues such as labor and immigration.

Submission: Nominations must be submitted via email by the graduate advisor by October 1, 2016, with notification to the winner by the end of the calendar year.

Nominations are to include:

1. Graduate Advisor Name, Title, Institution, and Contact Information

2. Graduate Advisor Recommendation (500-word limit)

3. Graduate Student Brief CV (2 pages)

4. Essay (5000-7000 words) in a MS-Word file, formatted according to the Amerasia Journal Style Sheet; for journal style guidelines, see: http://www.amerasiajournal.org/blog/?page_id=42.

Submit materials and queries to ajprize@aasc.ucla.edu and arnoldpan@ucla.edu.

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Join AASC Press at AAAS in Miami!

We will be at the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) Conference this week! Come by our table and check out some of our latest publications.

Please also join us at our Amerasia Journal Roundtable on Saturday! You can also find many of our faculty and students on various panels throughout AAAS. See our flyer for more information.

Saturday, April 30 – 8:00 AM to 9:30 AM
S12.  Arrivals and Further Departures: Amerasia Journal at 45

VENUE: Symphony Ballroom II

Keith Camacho
, University of California, Los Angeles
Russell Leong
, University of California, Los Angeles
Arnold Pan
, University of California, Los Angeles
David K. Yoo
, University of California, Los Angeles
Franklin Ng
, California State University, Fresno

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New Amerasia focuses on linkages between Asian and Indigenous experiences of “Carceral States”

The latest issue of Amerasia Journal, guest edited by Karen Leong and Myla Vicenti Carpio, examines the convergence of Asian and Indigenous communities as subjects of the carceral state in the United States and Canada. It explores the intersections between Asian American Studies and Indigenous Studies through the framework of settler colonialism.  As Leong and Carpio assert, “We believe exploring the ways that settler colonialism supports racialized state violence must be an ongoing project for Asian American Studies not only in relation to American Indian or First Nations, but also Pacific Islanders and Indigenous Asian communities.”

42.1.cover.jpgMany of the contributions in the “Carceral States” (42:1) issue focus on the connection between the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans in World War II and the dispossession of Native American lands.  Cynthia Wu offers a comparative analysis of Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel Ceremony and Hisaye Yamamoto’s short story “The Eskimo Connection” as a case of alternative critique.  Examining War Relocation Authority-produced photographs of American Indians at reservations hosting the concentration camps during the war, Thy Phu considers the “possibilities for empathy and affinities between Japanese Americans and Native Americans.”  Quynh Nhu Le provides a Canadian context for Asian-Indigenous encounters, explaining how creative texts complicate official government apologies for Japanese Canadian concentration camps and First Nations residential schools.

Other essays take stock of this relationship by delving into government archives and oral histories, be it Lynne Horiuchi’s spatial study of the Leupp Isolation Center as a site to send so-called Japanese American “trouble-makers” or the guest editors’ account of the competing agendas of the federal agencies managing the internment camps and reservations.  Wendi Yamashita’s first-person perspective on the coalition built by Japanese Americans and Owens Valley tribes to fight the construction of a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power solar ranch near the Manzanar site brings the relationships between the groups into a contemporary context.

The issue also presents the original poetry from Minneapolis-St. Paul spoken word artists R. Vincent Moniz, Jr., an enrolled citizen of the Three Affiliated Tribes, and Tou SaiKo Lee, a Hmong American.  When their poetry is read together, Juliana Hu Pegues suggests that Moniz, Jr. and Lee provide anti-colonial “aural histories” of displacement and confinement, but also spaces for community building and connections.

“Carceral States” offers an in memoriam for the influential scholar of settler colonialism Patrick Wolfe, who passed away in February 2016.  Our community spotlight features the work of Morning Star Leaders, Inc., an Arizona-based organization promoting cultural identity for Native American youth.  Books reviewed include Jennifer Ho’s Racial Ambiguity in Asian American Culture and Miriam Ching Yoon Louie’s Not Contagious—Only Cancer.

Lastly, Amerasia Journal offers a brief tribute to our founding Publisher and longtime UCLA Asian American Studies Center Director, Don T. Nakanishi, who passed away on March 21, 2016.


Amerasia Journal Issue 42:1
Carceral States (Spring 2016)
ISSN 0044-7471, 156 pages
Editor: Keith L. Camacho (UCLA)
Guest Editors: Karen J. Leong and Myla Vicenti Carpio
Contributors: Myla Vicenti Carpio, Mishuana Goeman, Lynee Horiuchi, Quynh Nhu Le, Tou SaiKo Lee, Karen J. Leong, R. Vincent Moniz, Jr., Juliana Hu Pegues, Thy Phu, Cynthia Wu, Wendi Yamashita

View Teacher’s Guide.


Copies of the issue can be ordered at our online store or via phone, email, or mail.  Each issue of Amerasia Journal costs $15.00 plus shipping/handling and applicable sales tax.  Please contact the Center Press for detailed ordering information.

UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press
3230 Campbell Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1546
Phone: 310-825-2968 | Email: aascpress@aasc.ucla.edu
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AmerasiaJournal

Amerasia Journal is published three times a year:  Spring, Summer/Fall, and Winter.  Annual subscriptions for Amerasia Journal are $99.00 for individuals and $445.00 for libraries and other institutions.  The annual subscription price includes access to the Amerasia Journal online database, with full-text versions of published issues dating back to 1971.

Want to use this issue for your classroom? 
  • Contact the Center Press to request a review copy. All requests for review copies must include name of instructor requesting, school, and department, as well as intended course’s title, semester, and projected enrollment.
  • Check out this issue’s Teacher’s Guide for recommended usage. Our Classroom Connections guides include key questions for analysis and discussion, as well as suggestions for related readings and films.
  • Adopt the issue for your next class! Have your bookstore order directly from the UCLA AASC Press and we will provide copies of the issue at a discounted price!
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Call for Papers: Pacific Languages in Diaspora


Guest Editors:

Professor Serge Tcherkezoff (Anthropology, French Institute of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences)

Professor Luafata Simanu-Klutz (Samoan Language and Literature, University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa)

Dr. Akiemi Glenn (Te Taki Tokelau Community Training and Development)

Publication Date:  Issue planned for Spring 2017 publication.

Due Date:  Paper submissions (up to 5,000 words) due June 1, 2016

Change is native to the world of Epeli Hau‘ofa’s “sea of islands,” where the ocean has historically connected people and served as a thoroughfare for the flow of resources, culture, and ideas.  The Pacific is home to the richest linguistic diversity on our planet and yet many of the native languages of the region are under threat and many more have been lost.  As the currents of colonization, globalization, and climate change carry Pacific people far beyond their homelands, their languages travel with them into new physical and cultural spaces.  In a region steeped in cultural histories of voyaging, exploration, adaptation, and population movement, how do Pacific Island languages and their speakers respond to present transformations of their social and physical environments?  For diasporic communities, what is the value of holding on to ancestral languages in new lands?  In the midst of change, is language a beacon that draws communities together to conserve their heritage or is it a malleable tool for way finding and creating new identities?


This special issue of Amerasia Journal invites papers that investigate the contemporary diasporas of the Pacific Islands through the lens of language.  We welcome work that delves into the relationships between language and geography; language and identity; language change and history; cultural particularity and culture sharing; language, communication, and media technology; language in education; the influence of cultural institutions such as language revitalization programs and churches; language in the family; language and climate change; and the transmission of traditional knowledge.  We seek scholarship that highlights the diversity of Pacific Islander diasporic communities, the heterogeneous experiences of the children of migrants and their elders, contact between Pacific languages, the negotiations of hybrid identities, innovations in art, social networking, and politics.  We encourage the submission of interdisciplinary and accessible writings that may be adopted for courses in Asian American Studies, American Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian Studies, Critical Ethnic Studies, and Pacific Islands Studies.


Submission Guidelines and Review Process

The guest editors, in consultation with Amerasia Journal editors and peer reviewers, make decisions on the final essays:

 • Initial review of submitted papers by guest editors and Amerasia Journal editorial staff

• Papers approved by editors will undergo blind peer review

• Revision of accepted peer-reviewed papers and final submission

This special issue seeks papers of approximately 5,000 words in length. All correspondence should refer to “Amerasia Journal Pacific Languages Issue” in the subject line.  Please send correspondence and papers to Dr. Arnold Pan, Associate Editor:  arnoldpan@ucla.edu.

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The Passing of Professor Emeritus Don T. Nakanishi (1949-2016)

Dear Alumni and Friends,

Don T. Nakanishi (1949-2016)

Don T. Nakanishi (1949-2016)

It is with a truly heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of our Center’s former director Professor Don T. Nakanishi’s on Monday, March 21, 2016 in Los Angeles. Our sincere condolences to his wife, Marsha, and son, Thomas, and to his family members and friends during this difficult time. We will provide an update with more information as it becomes available, including a Center-hosted celebration of Don’s life in Los Angeles.

As many of you know, Don was on the faculty at UCLA for 35 years and served the Asian American Studies Center with distinction as its director from 1990-2010. Don’s contributions to Asian American Studies and ethnic studies were pioneering, and those of us at UCLA were the prime beneficiaries of Don’s leadership and scholarship. Of course, his visionary influence extended much further, literally to other continents reflected in his many travels to places like Australia and Japan to help establish and support ethnic studies.

Don co-founded Amerasia Journal in 1971, played an indispensable role in establishing Asian American Studies as a viable and relevant field of scholarship, teaching, community service, and public discourse. His fight for tenure has widely been regarded as a watershed moment in higher education and has been taught as a significant case study for multi-racial student-community mobilization. For a fuller biography, see: http://www.aasc.ucla.edu/people/dnakanishi.aspx

Despite his remarkable career, Don, in his characteristic humility, always focused on his students and colleagues, as he was often the first to advocate for and to celebrate their accomplishments. As I know is the case for hundreds if not thousands of others, I will be forever grateful to Don for his care and mentorship, extended to me since we first met when I was in graduate school and that has spanned decades.

Don will be deeply missed, but his legacy lives on through all of us who had the privilege of benefitting from his support, encouragement, and friendship.

Rest in peace, Don.


David K. Yoo
Director & Professor



The funeral ceremony for Professor Emeritus Don Nakanishi is scheduled for Saturday, April 2, 2016, 3 pm, at the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. It is located at 815 E. First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

The Nakanishi Family has asked in lieu of flowers that donations be made to:

Don T. Nakanishi Award for Outstanding Engaged Scholarship in Asian American & Pacific Islander Studies, UCLA
online: https://giving.ucla.edu/Nakanishi
mail: Nakanishi Award
c/o UCLA Asian American Studies Center
Box 951546; 3230 Campbell Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1546


Nakanishi Prize, Yale College

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For Don

Don was a native son of East LA–a scholar and activist, colleague and friend. Always, a curious & passionate explorer.

He crossed the LA River to seek out other communities, other nations, other worlds.

He talked as he walked through the brave new world – post WW2 Internment, post-Orwellian 1984, post 9/11.

He saw how minorities were crucial to international politics–as they often were the intrepid counterpoint, the dissenting voice, the No-No Boy.

As he once told me, Why is it that we (Asian Americans) are often like the nail that juts out, thereby taking the heat?

His life and accomplishments were the answer to his own wry observation.

Salute, Don. Guess I’ll need to take a raincheck on our usual meatless lunch in Thai town.

–  Russell Leong

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2015-2016 Lucie Cheng Prize awarded to Cathleen Kozen of the University of California, San Diego

The UCLA Asian American Studies Center and Amerasia Journal are pleased to announce that Ms. Cathleen Kozen, Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego, is the recipient of the 2015-2016 Amerasia Journal Lucie Cheng Prize for her essay, “U.S. Empire and Japanese Latin American Critique: A Critical Re-Reading of ‘Japanese American Internment’ and Its Redress. Ms. Kozen was nominated by her advisor, Professor Yến Lê Espiritu.

Cathleen KozenMs. Kozen is currently a Ph.D. candidate whose dissertation research examines attempts at governmental redress for Japanese Latin Americans forcibly brought to U.S. concentration camps during World War II. Her winning essay explores how the politics of history, memory, and redress concerning the Japanese Latin American case demands a rethinking of Japanese American internment as primarily a constitutional and civil rights violation.

The Lucie Cheng Prize recognizes exceptional graduate student essays in the interdisciplinary field of Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies. The winning article is published in Amerasia Journal, with $1,500 awarded to the recipient.

The Lucie Cheng Prize honors the late Professor Lucie Cheng (1939-2010), a longtime faculty member of UCLA and the first permanent director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center.  Professor Cheng was a pioneering scholar who brought an early and enduring transnational focus to the study of Asian Americans and issues such as gender, labor, and immigration.

For more information about the Lucie Cheng prize, see: http://www.aasc.ucla.edu/ajprize/.

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Latest Amerasia Journal Marks 45-Year Legacy

AMERASIA 41:3For 45 years, Amerasia Journal has published on a wide range of topics – from Asian American history and activism to forums responding to current issues. The latest open-topic issue celebrates this long legacy of centering the Asian American voice and experience. Issue 41:3 (2015) commemorates the journal’s 45th anniversary, with a graphic history of the journal’s covers and Amerasia’s founding publisher and long-time UCLA Asian American Studies Center Director Don T. Nakanishi offering his reflections on how far the journal has come over the past 45 years.  We include a reprint of an essay detailing Amerasia’s origins, written by Nakanishi for our 25th anniversary.  As Nakanishi recounted then, “I am hopeful that we will continue the legacy of pursuing research that speaks for us, as well as encouraging the creation, sharing, and teaching of works that speak to a new generation of students in our schools and colleges, as well as new audiences in our communities.”

In the tradition of the journal, this issue highlights the history of Asian American activism.  Former Associate Editor Glenn K. Omatsu pays tribute to Grace Lee Boggs, who recently passed away at the age of 100.  In Omatsu’s words, Boggs “developed a distinct worldview and challenged others to rethink strategies for social change.”  Cindy Domingo, the current Chair of the Board of Directors of LELO (Legacy of Equality, Leadership and Organizing), offers a history of the organization and the relationship between labor, prejudice, and rights in the Philippines and the United States.  For our community spotlight, we highlight the work of API Equality—Northern California, a group devoted to increasing the public presence and power of LGBTQ Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

As it has for over four decades, Amerasia Journal offers relevant perspectives on current cultural conversations as they impact Asian America.  Here, we convene a roundtable discussing the scandal over poet Michael Derrick Hudson’s use of the Chinese penname Yi-Fen Chou, providing a forum to leading artists and scholars such as Neelanjana Banerjee (Kaya Press), Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis (Asian American Literary Review), Garrett Hongo, Craig Santos Perez, and Margaret Rhee to express their unique points-of-view on the matter.  As the renowned poet Hongo notes, “The ‘literary freedom’ upheld by so many that allows a Caucasian poet to adopt a Chinese pseudonym is here a manifestation of cultural dominance—white empowerment feeling free to colonize everything. . .”  The issue also presents a catalog of artworks from the recent PIKO: Pacific Islander Contemporary Art Exhibition held at the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum (Long Beach, CA), written by curator Dan Taulapapa McMullin, scholar Michelle Erai, and artist Moana Nepia.

As always, Amerasia Journal features innovative research on politics and culture across the Asia Pacific.  Yu-Fang Cho examines what she calls “nuclearism” in Taiwan and the Pacific Islands, analyzing how rhetoric promoting nuclear power is inextricable from American nuclear weaponry.  Todd Honma explores Filipino American tattooing practices, and how they raise questions of cultural authenticity.  Elaine Elinson reviews Patty Enrado’s A Village in the Fields, a historical novel about Filipino farm workers involved in the Delano grape strike.

Published by UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center since 1971, Amerasia Journal is regarded as the core journal in the field of Asian American Studies.

Amerasia 41:3 Press Release (PDF Version)


Copies of the issue can be ordered via phone, email, or mail.  Each issue of Amerasia Journal costs $15.00 plus shipping/handling and applicable sales tax.  Please contact the Center Press for detailed ordering information.

UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press
3230 Campbell Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1546
Phone: 310-825-2968 | Email: aascpress@aasc.ucla.edu
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AmerasiaJournal

Amerasia Journal is published three times a year:  Spring, Summer/Fall, and Winter.  Annual subscriptions for Amerasia Journal are $99.00 for individuals and $445.00 for libraries and other institutions.  The annual subscription price includes access to the Amerasia Journal online database, with full-text versions of published issues dating back to 1971.  Instructors interested in this issue for classroom use should contact the above email address to request a review copy.

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