Asian American Studies Program


Faculty Member Academic Interests
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Ellen Wu
Director, Asian American Studies

Associate Professor, History
The questions that I explore in my work deal with issues of race, immigration, citizenship, and nation through the lens of Asian American history. My book, The Origins of the Model Minority: Racial Liberalism, Global Wars, and Color of Success (November 2013, Princeton University Press) is the first to tell the history of invention of the "model minority" stereotype from the 1940s-1970s. Looking ahead, my next project will consider the ways in which Asian Americans have fit into and re-shaped the nation's racial order in the late 20th century and into the 21st.
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Ishan Ashutosh

Assistant Professor, Geography
South Asia, Transnational migration, Diaspora, Urban Geography, Political Geography, Pan-ethnicity, Immigration Policy, Postcolonial Studies
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Vivian Halloran
Past Director, Asian American Studies

Professor, English and American Studies
My research and teaching interests include ethnic American literature in a comparative context, food studies, postmodernism, popular culture, museum studies and the intersection between race, gender and performance. I am currently at work on a book length project investigating how immigrants to the United States use the genre of the culinary memoir or memoir with recipes to both dissect and perform various cultural identities simultaneously. I am interested in analyzing how these popular texts serve as platforms for the writers to simultaneously perform their exotic Otherness by sharing intimate details of their upbringing as well as expand the racial, ethnic, and class assumptions about what it means to be an American by sharing recipes for the food they enjoy eating and preparing. This project includes in-depth analysis of memoirs by Chinese Americans, Indian Americans, Japanese Americans, Korean Americans and Vietnamese American writers. Examples of my work on Literary Food Studies may be found in my blog:
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Karen Inouye

Associate Professor, American Studies
Having earned a doctorate in American Studies from Brown University with a focus on Asian American and African American history and literature, I am interested in the afterlife of social injustices and the potential for empathetic agency. I trace the relationship among these concepts in my book, The Long Afterlife of Nikkei Wartime Incarceration (Stanford University Press, 2016). I have also published essays in American Quarterly, Journal of Ethnic History, Journal of Asian American Studies, and Journal for the History of the Behavioral Sciences. My next book project concerns Vietnamese Americans, affordable housing and cross-racial alliances.
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Hyeyoung Kwon

Assistant Professor, Sociology
My research and teaching interests include race, immigration, childhood, and family, with an eye towards understanding how children of immigrants respond to social exclusion.

My current project examines the lives of Mexican-and Korean-Americans "language brokers." Today, immigrants and their children comprise nearly a quarter of the population. The majority of these children have at least one parent who has difficulty speaking English. The lack of translation services within the United States prompts bilingual children of immigrants to translate and advocate for the family--work many Americans think of as an "adult" responsibility. Tracing youth's racialized and classed encounters, ranging from interactions with landlords to life-threatening situations involving health care and police protection, I argue that translation encapsulates far more than verbal exchanges. For these children, translating involves what I call "inclusion work" or presenting their parents as "normal" Americans deserving of equal rights and full citizenship. In a socio-historical moment where immigrants of color are depicted threats to the economic stabilty of "true" Americans, my work offers a much needed critique of American culture, exposing the contradictions between the ideal of equality and the actual practices of race, class, and language-based exclusion. My work appears in Childhood, Social Problems, and Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and received awards from the American Sociological Association and the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. I am currently working on my book manuscript tentively entitled, "Translating Race, Class, and Immigrant Lives."
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Lisa Kwong

Adjunct Lecturer

Lisa Kwong is the undergraduate lecturer for Asian American Studies. Her courses have included AAST-A101: Introduction to Asian American Studies, AAST-A200: Asian American Literature and Media, AAST-A201: Asian Diaspora Experience, and AAST-X490: Independent Readings and Research. Her research and teaching interests include Asian Americans in Appalachia, the US South, and the Midwest; Asian American literature and media, and creative writing. An innovative and multidisciplinary educator, Ms. Kwong has given her students interesting assignments such as the Event Review, Social Media Presentation, Research an AAPI, and creative-critical final projects, which allow students to explore Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies through artistic expressions combined with scholarly research. Her classes have also Skyped with renowned contemporary authors such as Stephanie Han, Jean Kwok, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Bich Minh Nguyen, and Paisley Rekdal. Ms. Kwong is also a popular invited guest speaker at IU and in the Bloomington community; she has given presentations on topics such as Asian American stereotypes, the legacy of Chinese American actress Anna May Wong, Asian American poetry, and writing as an AppalAsian. In 2015, she was on the organizing committee for an IU symposium on AAPIs in higher education.

Born and raised in Radford, Virginia, Ms. Kwong identifies as an AppalAsian writer. She is a distinguished creative writing alumna of Appalachian State University and earned an MFA in poetry from Indiana University. Her poems and creative nonfiction are forthcoming or have appeared in A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia, Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Best New Poets 2014, the minnesota review, Banango Street, Still: The Journal, Naugatuck River Review, Appalachian Heritage, Pluck!, The Sleuth, and other journals. Her work has also been featured on the Line Poetry Podcast. She has received poetry scholarships and fellowships from Indiana University, The Frost Place, and Sundress Academy for the Arts, where she was the 2017 Appalachian Writer-in-Residence. As an active member of the Writers Guild at Bloomington, she has coordinated Fountain Square Poetry series since 2012. She also serves as faculty adviser for the IU Slam Poetry Club.
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Jennifer C. Lee

Associate Professor, Sociology
Jennifer C. Lee is an Associate Professor in Sociology and Acting Director of Asian American Studies. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Her research and teaching interests lie in the areas of Sociology of Education, Immigration, and Asian American Studies. With grants and fellowships from the national Academy of Education, the Spencer Foundation, and the American Educational Research Association, Jennifer's research examines how the educational and occupational experiences of Asian and Latino children of immigrants are influenced by co-ethnic communities and bilingual proficiency. In other research, Jennifer has examined Asian immigrants' employment in ethnic economies, as well as racial attitudes towards Asian Americans.
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Joan Pong Linton
Founding Director, Asian American Studies

Associate Professor, English
I am generally interested in the diverse ways literary and cultural productions relate to history and theory. I have written on gender and the literary formations of English colonialism, the romance, early modern women writers. My current research on trickster agency and trickster poetics in early modern England feeds my passion for narrative, storytelling, and the figural politics of theater. And I'm still working my way back to the trickster that launched my critical imagination, the Chinese Monkey in its diasporic transmissions.
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Sam Museus

Associate Professor, School of Education
I am an Associate Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs at Indiana Univeristy, Bloomington, and Director of the National Institute for Transformation and Equity (NITE). Prior to joining Indiana University, I taught Asian American Studies and Higher Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston and was a faculty member in Higher Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the University of Denver.
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Dina Okamoto

Herman B Wells Professor, Sociology
My research examines how group boundaries and identities shift and change, which has broader implications for immigrant incorporation as well as intergroup conflict and cooperation. My current projects investigate the civic and political incorporation of immigrants in the United States, intergroup relations between immigrants and U.S.-born minority and majority groups in the 21st century, and the ways in which youth-serving community organizations deal with increasing ethnic, racial, and language diversity.
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Y. Joel Wong

Associate Professor, School of Education
I teach counseling theories, counseling skills, and multicultural counseling in the Counseling and Counseling Psychology programs at IU. One of my main research interests is the psychology of Asian Americans. My previous and current research projects have focused on Asian American mental health issues. For example, I am currently working on a study examining factors associated with Asian Americans' suicide ideation. I also have an interest in Asian American adolescent outcomes.

AAST Graduate Student Advisory Board

Giselle Cunanan, Department of American Studies
Mihee Kim-Kort, Department of Religious Studies
Jordan Lynton, Department of Anthropology
Stephanie Thanh Xuan Nguyen, Higher Education, SoE
Shelley Rao, Department of Sociology
Anna Sera, Department of Sociology/Education Policy Studies, SoE
Mai Thai, Department of Sociology
Lei Wang, Counseling Psychology, School of Education