Director’s Welcome, Fall 2020

Tuesday, Sep 1, 2020

Dear American studies, Latino(a/x) and Asian American/diasporic studies communities, and welcome, Class of 2024 —

Photo of Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús

Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús. Photo by Sameer A. Khan/Fotobuddy

I begin as director with an urgency to direct our shared efforts towards anti-racism, anti-xenophobia, and anti-homo/transphobia work. We welcome you, virtually, to Princeton, recognizing all the difficulties we face. This semester will not be an easy one, but hopefully, together, we can offer each other strength. Through online lectures, teaching and research, I ask that we be guided by principles of civil rights, freedom, social justice and activism. We need places to have intellectual discussions that produce transformative agendas based on ethical research. This entails taking inventory of previous practices and modes that might contribute to exclusion and marginalization, even in our smallest interactions.

This fall 2020 commences amidst a global pandemic where, through quarantine and death, our country confronts structural anti-Black police violence, enormous healthcare failures, and an oppressive economy. All this with an impending U.S. presidential election that marks one of the most important moments of our lifetime. American studies offers a virtual and actual site to continue to have difficult discussions. This year we endeavor to provide spaces for critical analysis that push against racism, transphobia, homophobia, sexism, and xenophobia. In doing so, we support the development of Native and Indigenous studies at Princeton.

I hope that our BIPOC students can come to us and rely upon us as a resource to navigate academia during these difficult times. We acknowledge the violence of the past and present, and honor those who have fought and continue to fight for justice in order to re-think these multiple “Americas.”

Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús
Director, American Studies, Latino Studies, and Asian American Studies
Professor of American Studies
Princeton University