Asian American Studies

The Program in American Studies is delighted and honored to announce that, starting Fall 2018, it will be administering three certificate programs: the existing Certificate in American Studies, a brand new Certificate in Asian American/Diasporic Studies, and a revised Certificate in Latino/a/x Studies.   Newsletter from Professor Anne Cheng about new Programs. 

Prince article on the University approval of certificate program in Asian American Studies

Princeton Alumni Weekly article on Asian American Studies Program


Helen Zia -- an award-winning author, journalist, Fulbright Scholar, and former Executive Editor of Ms. Magazine -- is the daughter of Chinese immigrants. She has been outspoken on issues ranging from civil rights and peace to women's rights and countering hate violence and homophobia. Helen is the author of Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People, which was quoted from twice by President Bill Clinton in the Rose Garden. Her work on anti-Asian hate violence is documented in the film, "Who Killed Vincent Chin?" and she was profiled in Bill Moyers' documentary, "Becoming American: The Chinese Experience." In 2008 Helen carried the Olympic Torch in San Francisco amid great controversy and Zia dinnerin 2010, she was a witness in the landmark marriage equality case decided by the US Supreme Court. Helen holds an honorary doctorate from the Law School of the City University of New York and is a member of Princeton University's first graduating class of women. She quit medical school to work as a construction laborer, an autoworker, and a community organizer, until she discovered her life’s work as a writer. Helen spoke for the Asian American Lecture Series on April 26, 2018.  The night before her talk, she had dinner with Princeton alumnae friends:  Mo Lin Yee ’75,  Mo Chen ’80,  Anne Cheng ’85, and Nancy Lin ’77.  After her talk, student representatives from AASA met her over dinner, along with Profs. Anne Cheng, Beth Lew-Williams and Postdoc Associate Laurel Mei-Singh.

  • "I was really glad to hear from Helen Zia as the concluding speaker of this year’s Asian American Studies Speaker Series. It was all the more fitting that she gave her talk about the modern Asian American movement days after the university approved the Certificate in Asian American studies. It’s not often that you can hear from both a practitioner and participant of history, and so I’m grateful to have gotten her perspectives that evening.”   Nicholas Wu '18  
    Zia dinner photo

    Princeton students and faculty after dinner with distinguished author, Helen Zia.

We gratefully announce the establishment of the Lin Family Endowment for Asian American Studies.

Announcing the "South Asian American Digital Archive"saada.org.

Video link to past event with Henry Yu, "Away From the Lone Historian? Multidisciplinary Approaches in a Collaborative Research Lab"

Video link(link is external) to past event with Viet Thanh Nguyen, "On Remembering Others: Vietnam and the Memory of War"

Article by Denny Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin entitled Asian Americans and the Law


The Program in American Studies is pleased to serve as the intellectual and institutional home for the University’s new efforts to build an innovative curricular program in the interdisciplinary field of Asian American Studies. 

Studying Asian American Studies within the context of American Studies offers intellectual integrity and underscores Princeton’s firm belief that we must think about race and ethnicity in a broad, comparative, flexible, and historic context. We believe that Asian American Studies stands as an integral part of a well-rounded education aimed to provide an opportunity to place the American experience within a larger global context for all Princeton students. Through this transnational, international, comparative, and multi- and inter-disciplinary perspective, students will be able to explore Asian American experiences as fundamental to the on-going development of America and as linked to both the experiences of other racial minorities in the United States and the experiences of Asian migrants across the world.  Asian American Studies offers one gateway through which American Studies can illuminate the multi-various nature of Asian American identity, community formation, diaspora, and political history by emphasizing the connections among race, class, ethnicity, national identity, gender, and sexuality.

Asian American Studies throws light on our nation’s past as well as its future. The extensive teaching and research interests of Asian American Studies programs today across the country reflect the breadth of this field. Scholars no longer focus on developments within the United States but also underscore the transnational and comparative contexts of Asian America and comparative race and ethnicity more broadly, engaging further with Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Asian American Studies scholars participate in the midst of interdisciplinary debates on a multitude of topics such as migration, immigration, and citizenship in US history, politics, and policy; the changing demographics of the American racial landscape; the entwined relations between Asian Americans and Mexican Americans at the “border lands”; Asian-Jewish religious intersections and the ongoing dilemmas of American assimilation; the influence of transpacific exchange on American letters and arts; the old and new Orientalism that informs American modernity; the Afro-Asian connection in art and politics; and more.