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Asian American Studies hosts 10th Annual Balgopal Lecture
posted Tue, 25 Jul 2017 08:00:00 CDT

The annual Balgoplal Lecture was established 10 years ago by a generous endowment from Pallassana R. Balgopal and Syamala Balgopal in 2007.  Over the ten years the department has been hosting this lecture series, many renowned scholars and activists have been welcomed to our campus to speak on the subject of human rights and Asian Americans.

Professor Balgopal is a Professor Emeritus of Asian American Studies and the School of Social Work. And at this year's lecture we honor his scholarship and contribution to the field of Asian American Studies.  His wife, Dr. Shyamala Balagopal is Emeritus of Library Administration and Reference Librarian of the Asian Library at University of Illinois.

Pallassana R, (Bal) Balgopal came to the U.S. in 1960 from India to pursue graduate studies in Social work. He received his MSW degree from Boston University (1962) and his Ph.D. from Tulane University (1971). Before coming to the University of Illinois in 1978 he held academic appointments at Universities of Michigan, Maryland and Houston. In 1997, he served on the founding committe for the establishment of Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, was instrumental in it's evolution into an academic program and the development of its curriculum. Professor Balgopal developed and taught courses for the department up until his retirement in 2000 to pursue his passion of social work practice at grass roots level and has remained a strong supporter of the department ever since.  

This year's lecture welcomes Dr. Diane C. Fujino, Professor of Asian American Studies and Director of the Center for Black Studies Research at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She studies and teaches Asian American and Afro-Asian freedom struggles.  She is an activist-scholar in the areas of public education and ethnic studies, prisons and political prisoners, Asian American and racial justice, and international solidarity movements. She is author of Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama; Samurai among Panthers: Richard Aoki on Race, Resistance, and a Paradoxical Life; and Wicked Theory, Naked Practice: A Fred Ho Reader (as editor).  Her current projects focus on the Asian American Movement of the 1960s-70s, the continuing impact of the Black Power movement, and Japanese American radicalism, 1940s-70.

Dr. Fujino will speak on the Long Sixties protest era, a hallmark of the Asian American Movement was its focus on Third World solidarities, locally and globally.  

The lecture will be held Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 5:30pm in theKnight Auditorium at the Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., Urbana, IL.


Congratulations to Associate Professor Soo Ah Kwon for receiving the Conrad Humanities Professorial Scholar Award.
posted Wed, 19 Jul 2017 08:00:00 CDT


Administered through the College of Letters and Arts, the goal of the Conrad Humanities Professional Scholar Award is to recognize exceptional achievement in humanists between the initial promotion to associate professor through the promotion to professor, with the aim of enhancing retention of our strongest scholarly leaders. These awards are designed to recognize tenured faculty members who are established or emerging leaders with exceptionally strong scholarly recognition and significant promise for continued achievement.

The award is funded by a gift from Arlys Conrad, the daughter of an Illinois farmer and teacher, Mrs. Conrad was strongly encouraged in her pursuit of higher education. She always aspired to attend the University of Illinois and in 1940 she received a four-year scholarship. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education

Listen now: AAS Professor Lila Sharif on Imagine Otherwise Podcast
posted Wed, 31 May 2017 08:00:00 CDT

What does the rising popularity of the olive mean for global consumers, producers, and resisters? How do our intimate connections with food build memories and notions of place?

In Episode 39 of the Imagine Otherwise podcast, host Cathy Hannabach and guest Lila Sharif discuss the role of food in both transnational settler colonialism and resistance to it, how Lila uses the classroom to get students thinking about their own food histories, the complex dynamics of ethical consumerism and where we get our food, and decolonization as an embodied, everyday form of imagining otherwise.


AAS Professor Augusto Espiritu wins Excellence in Mentoring Award
posted Wed, 17 May 2017 08:00:00 CDT
Congratulations to Asian American Studies Professor, Dr. Augusto Espiritu for winning this year's Association of American Studies Excellence in Mentoring Award!
AAS Professor Fiona Ngo Named Conrad Humanities Scholar
posted Sat, 09 Jul 2016 08:00:00 CDT

Asian American Studies and Latino/Latina Studies Professor Fiona Ngo has been named a Conrad Humanities Scholar for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences for 2016-2021. The award recognizes mid-career scholars with the highest potential for continued achievement in the humanities fields.

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