History and Mission of the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison:
The Asian American Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin- Madison is an interdisciplinary program devoted to the teaching, research, and cultural activities of Americans of Asian ancestry. The Program serves as a teaching and resource center not only for Asian Americans but for the University community as a whole.
In 1988, the Asian Coalition group of activists, community members, and university students, faculty, and staff wrote a proposal for the creation of an Asian American Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. (To see the proposal, go to: UW Madison’s Asian American Studies Program Proposal) In 1991, a director Amy Ling was hired, and the first Asian American Studies Program in the Midwest was begun.
The Asian American Studies Program (Asian Am) seeks to educate the University community on Asian American issues in a variety of ways. It offers an array of courses devoted to the historical, political, literary, sociological, psychological, and educational concerns of Asian Americans. To supplement course work and to introduce the community to the creative achievements of Asian Americans, the Program also sponsors many events from film and video festivals to lectures and readings by both emerging and prominent Asian American writers and scholars.
A certificate in Asian American Studies has been available since 1998. (For more information on certificate requirements, go to: Certificate) We hope to one day offer a major in Asian American Studies.
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The Asian American Studies Program encourages faculty research and course development in Asian American issues.
The Midwest is an expanding frontier for Asian American groups. Between 1970 and 1998, the Asian population in Wisconsin grew from only 7,000 to over 52,000, largely due to the influx of Southeast Asians in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. The Wisconsin Hmong community is now the third largest in the United States. Research subjects such as immigration and acclimation processes, intergenerational conflicts, cultural clashes, oral histories, and demographic transitions of Midwest Asian Americans all may be investigated.
The Memorial Library Collection contains over three million volumes as well as a large number of periodicals, serials, and scholarly journals. Helen C. White Library houses a growing Ethnic Studies collection. The Wisconsin State Historical Society, located on campus contains hundreds of thousands of documents, books, and periodicals. Many of these document the histories of Asian Americans in the MidWest and offer research possibilities.
In addition to these materials, many Asian American films and books are available at the Asian Am and the Interim Multicultural Center. (to see a list of videos and books in the Asian American Studies Program Library, go to: Video Library or Book Library.)
Although Asian American Studies focuses on the American experience, students may greatly benefit from courses in the language and cultures of Asian countries from which Asian Americans have come. The University of Wisconsin- Madison has a large number of Asian area programs and departments, including the