What is Asian American Studies?

AAS Group Photo

Asian American Studies (AAS) is an interdisciplinary field that examines the history, arts, culture, and life experiences of people of Asian descent in the United States, ranging from recent immigrants to seventh- or eighth-generation Americans.

Since its emergence in the academy during the 1960s, AAS has enriched the research methods and findings of traditional academic disciplines, such as sociology, history, anthropology and literature. Scholarship and teaching in AAS programs addresses contemporary issues, such as Asian immigration, community development, political empowerment, labor market status, gender and sexual relations, diasporic identities, cultural representations, and civil rights. Although first established in West coast universities, AAS programs are now prospering across the nation. The formation of these new programs has been a response to compelling intellectual forces in the academy.

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