Welcome to Asian American Studies

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The Department of Asian American Studies (AAS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is committed to expanding the traditions of knowledge within academia to address Asian American epistemologies, activities, and experiences. The department also seeks to render scholarly intellectual efforts integral to those of local, regional, national, and international Asian American communities.

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The Department of Asian American Studies Supports this Statement of Support for University of Illinois Students of Color from GWS/ES Faculty

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has once again come to crisis with the Daily Illini’s recent publication of an anti-Mexican cartoon and the creation of a Facebook page this week for an “Illini White Student Union” that calls Black students rallying in solidarity with Black students across the country “terrorists.” Our campus has a long history of institutional and structural racism and these events occur alongside the continued circulation of unofficial and semi-official “Chief” imagery that is sponsored or tacitly ignored and thereby sanctioned by University administration. These deep histories of structural racisms and anti-blackness, along with their manifestations in day-to-day occurrences (further recounted in the Racial Microagressions report compiled by faculty and students about our campus culture), can only be addressed by rigorous critique, institutional transformation, and differently renewed commitments to justice at all levels of discourse and practice at the University. Calls for greater “diversity,” inclusion, and civility cannot resolve structural racisms or theories of value that describe our students of color and their communities as “uncivil,” “illegal,” “terrorist,” or otherwise frame them as obstacles to inclusivity and tolerance. Such framings and descriptions only further systemic violence and they can and often do bear terrible consequences, both measurable and also unquantifiable, for those students and their communities.

As faculty in African American Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Latina/Latino Studies, and Gender and Women’s Studies at Illinois, we collectively affirm our commitment to creating an educational environment in which all students are able to learn free from threats of violence and to share in the intellectual labors required for transformation and justice. Resisting the multiple racisms embedded in our institutions (including this one) and so-called common sense, which we see as founding and unfolding in this moment, is a necessary first step among many to fulfill the mission of the university. We support those students involved in protest who are resisting and refusing multiple oppressions and injustices. We see you, and we are inspired by your courage and critical insights. Many of us endure everyday racisms as well as the more spectacular forms of racist violence, and together with our allies, we seek the transformation of our campus culture and the world at large. We will work with all who are interested in making the University of Illinois a place that values all students of color.




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