The Center for Asian American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin's E-newsletter
Red Threads, Center for Asian American Studies Newsletter

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Message from the Director

Dear Friends and Supporters of CAAS, 

Spring 2013 has been a busy season for faculty and students, locally, nationally, and internationally, with events and honors that demonstrate the many networks and institutional contributions emerging from the many talented people working for and with CAAS.  Graduation season brings us opportunity to bid goodbye with pride to two graduating seniors, AAS major Julian Joseph and CAAS intern Lalini Pedris.  It is with great regret that we also bid farewell to Professors Nhi Lieu and Julia Lee, who depart UT for what we hope will continue to be brilliant careers.  

CAAS has also spearheaded programs that help us consider the past and future of Asian American studies and communities, operating not only in the intellectual realms of research and theories, as implemented in part through our lecture series, “Shared Histories: Asian American and Native American/Indigenous Studies,” which examines the intersections between two populations usually understood in completely different relationships to the American nation.  CAAS also facilitated programming such as the community forum "Resettlement City? Austin's Refugee Communities" as part of the Abrienda Brecha conference for activist scholars and the visit of Professor Michael Omi from UC Berkeley, a founding figure of Ethnic Studies and proponent of activist scholarship.  Professor Omi addressed the history of the field, which has always emphasized the responsibilities of the university to its local communities in tension with “ivory tower” traditions and emphasis of traditional disciplines, and considered strategies and prospects for a future now endangered by cuts to public universities across the country.  These are events that further the mission of ethnic studies programs such as CAAS to advance town-gown collaborations, a project we hope to maintain and expand in coming years.
May your summer months be kind and temperate!   
Madeline Y. Hsu
Director, Center for Asian American Studies

Associate Professor, Department of History

Spring 2013 Programming

Dr. Michael Omi at his public lecture on January 28, 2013Dr. Michael Omi visits UT Austin

In January CAAS hosted several events featuring Dr. Michael Omi, associate professor of Ethnic Studies and associate director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Equitable Society at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California Center for New Racial Studies, a multi-campus research program. Dr. Omi is the co-author of Racial Formation in the United States, one of the most influential books about critical race theory. Read more about Omi’s events on campus, listen to audio recordings of his January 28th talk, “The Unbearable Whiteness of Being: Situating Asian Americans” and afternoon roundtable discussion, and view photos of the events here. Special thanks to the many co-sponsors of Professor Omi’s events and to CAAS core faculty, Dr. Kamala Visweswaran, for organizing his visit.

Spring Speaker Series on “Shared Histories?: Asian American, Native American, and Indigenous Studies”

Native American and Indigenous Studies and Asian American Studies are often perceived as fields that share little in common with each other. This spring speaker series, hosted by CAAS and Native American and Indigenous Studies Program, featured scholars whose work defies such perceptions by exploring how these seemingly disparate fields posses overlapping and frequently, contested histories. CAAS and NAIS organized three talks over the spring semester with Drs. Joshua Paddison, Manu Vimalassery, and Judy Rohrer, which showcased the overlapping themes between the two fields. Read more about these talks here. Special thanks to Sam Vong, visiting Ph.D. candidate for his leadership in organizing these events.

 Co-founder and executive director of SAADA, Samip MallickSouth Asian American Digital Archive Lecture & Reception

In April CAAS invited the executive director and co-founder of the nonprofit South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA), Samip Mallick, to present on SAADA's innovative approach to archiving and sharing stories from the South Asian American community collected by SAADA over the last four years. CAAS hosted the event with the Austin History Center and received generous support from the Asian American Resource Center and the Network of Asian American Organizations. Thanks to Mary Kang for taking photos of the event.

Trans-Pacific China and the Cold War Conference

CAAS director, Madeline Hsu, co-convened this conference bringing together an international, interdisciplinary group of scholars from Hong Kong, Taiwan, England, the US, and Canada to consider new research highlighting cultural and social formations emerging from diasporic Chinese experiences of the political fissures of the Cold War.  CAAS co-sponsored this conference that was organized on behalf of the Institute for Historical Studies with co-sponsorship from the College of Liberal Arts, the Department of Asian Studies, the Center for East Asian Studies, the Taiwan Studies Program, the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation and the Taiwan Academy. Read more about the conference on the IHS website.

Community News

“Asian Americans in a Majority-Minority Nation,” talk by Deepa Iyer

In January CAAS hosted a talk on campus with Deepa Iyer, executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering civic and political engagement by South Asian communities in the United States. Ms. Iyer spoke on “Asian Americans in a Majority-Minority Nation” to a group of around 50 students and community members. Read more about SAALT’s great work. Special thanks to community member, Sonia Kotecha, for connecting SAALT to CAAS.

Community forum on Austin's Refugees“Resettlement City? Austin’s Refugee Communities,” a Community Forum

In February, CAAS hosted a community forum organized by CAAS core faculty, Dr. Eric Tang, on refugee communities in Austin. This event was part of the Abriendo Brecha Activist Scholar Conference at UT Austin. The forum provided an overview of Austin's refugee communities and highlighted the histories, struggles and community-building efforts of this largely overlooked population. The panel included scholars and community activist working on refugee resettlement issues from around the country. Read more about this important community event here.

White House Initiative on Asian and Pacific Islanders Texas Regional Summit CAAS majors and staff at the WHIAAPI confernece in Houston

On February 23, 2013 over 500 people throughout Texas attended the Regional Conference for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in Houston, TX. The White House Initiative works to improve the quality of life and opportunities for AAPIs by facilitating increased access to and participation in federal programs. The conference was co-organized by CAAS lecturer, Ramey Ko, and Rogene Gee Calvert in Houston and featured several sessions on issues affecting the AAPI community such as immigration, economic development, health disparities, civil rights, labor and employment issues, and housing and community development. CAAS’s director, Madeline Hsu, served on the host committee, delivered a keynote address about the state of AAPIs in Texas, and moderated a panel discussion on “Educational Resources and Challenges to the Community.” Several Asian American Studies’ majors attended the conference, read about their experiences here.

People at CAAS

Book cover of The Mahatma MisunderstoodDr. Snehal Shingavi Publishes Book

Snehal Shingavi publishes his book The Mahatma Misunderstood: The Politics and Forms of Literary Nationalism in India (Anthem 2013). The book is a study of the fiction about Gandhi produced in his lifetime that explains why novelists both vehemently critiqued and lovingly collaborated with the Mahatma simultaneously. Dr. Shingavi is an assistant professor of English, South Asian, and Asian American Studies. He specializes in the teaching of English, Hindi and Urdu literature from India and Pakistan.


Dr. A. Naomi Paik’s Article in Radical History Review

CAAS core faculty A. Naomi Paik's article, "Carceral Quarantine at Guantánamo: Legacies of US Imprisonment of Haitian Refugees, 1991 – 1994," was published in the 2013 winter issue of Radical History Review. Download the full article here. Dr. Paik is an assistant professor of American Studies and also affiliated with and the Center for Women and Gender Studies and the Rappoport Center.

Dr. Nhi Lieu Publishes Articles in Two Academic Journals

Assistant Professor Dr. Nhi Lieu's article, "Beauty Queens Behaving Badly: Gender, Global Competition, and the Making of Post-Refugee Neoliberal Vietnamese Subjects," appears in the new issue of Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Volume 34, Number 1, 2013. Read the full article here. Dr. Lieu has another article, "Disrupting Nostalgic Scenes of Whiteness: Asian Immigrant Bridal Shops and Racial Visibility in the Ethnoburb," in the new issue of Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.1-13. Read more about it here.

CAAS Program Coordinator, Sona Shah, Receives RAISE Staff Award

The RAISE Excellence Awards is hosted annually by the Asian/Asian American Faculty and Staff Association and the Asian Desi Pacific American student group to celebrate excellence in the Asian/Asian American community at UT Austin. Each year an award is given to one faculty and one staff member at UT. This year CAAS staff member, Sona Shah, received the award for her work at CAAS and with the Asian American community in Austin and UT. CAAS core faculty, Drs. Nhi Lieu and Kamala Visweswaran, were also nominated for the RAISE faculty award.

Dr. Julia Lee’s Book, Interracial Encounters, Receives Honorable Mention

The Association for Asian American Studies awarded Dr. Julia Lee’s book, Interracial Encounters: Reciprocal Representations in African and Asian American Literatures, 1896-1937, an honorable mention for the AAAS Book Award in Literary Studies.

CAAS Director Elected to Serve on Association for Asian American Studies Board

Dr. Madeline Hsu has been elected to the executive board of the Association for Asian American Studies in the Sections position. AAAS was founded in 1979 for the purpose of advancing the highest professional standard of excellence in teaching and research in the field of Asian American Studies.

Alumni Stay Connected to CAAS

Did you graduate from The University of Texas in Asian American Studies? CAAS wants to hear from you! Please email us with your contact information on where you are and what you’re up to.

Upcoming Events

Asian American Resource Center Grand Opening
11am-4pm / Saturday, September 28, 2013
8401 Cameron Rd. Austin, TX 78754



Support CAAS by making an online gift donation today. Donations are used to support programming, education, and outreach efforts.

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