Asian American History and its Publics

Endorsed by the OAH Committee on Academic Freedom, the OAH Committee on the Status of ALANA Historians and ALANA Histories, OAH-JAAS Japan Historians' Collaborative Committee, IEHS, and WHA

Friday, March 31, 2023, 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Asian American; Public History and Memory


In this roundtable, scholars and curators will discuss the importance and challenges of publicly engaged and public-facing work in Asian American history. Session participants bring a range of ideas about, approaches to, and goals for reaching public audiences.

Session Participants

Chair: Shelley Sang-Hee Lee, Brown University
Shelley Lee is a Professor of History and Chair of Comparative American Studies at Oberlin College. Her books include A New History of Asian American (2013) and the forthcoming Koreatown, Los Angeles: Race, Immigration, and the "American Dream" (Stanford UP, 2022)

Commentator: Nancy Bulalacao, Filipino American Museum
Nancy Bulalacao has been creating public programs for the Asian American community for 30 years. She has worked for organizations and institutions that include Asian American Writers' Workshop, Asia Society, and Museum of Chinese in America. And was the founder of Poets Theater in the 90s and most recently the nomadic FAM (Filipino American Museum). In 2021, she coordinated a coalition around a series of panels, titled Quiet Before, examining anti-Asian violence. She currently consults on museum programming and community outreach. Her current clients include Newark Museum of Art, Ma-Yi Theater and National Asian American Theater Company.

Panelist: Jason Oliver Chang, University of Connecticut
Jason Oliver Chang is Associate Professor of History and Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut where he also serves as the Director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute. He is the author of Chino: Anti-Chinese Racism in Mexico, 1880-1940, and winner of the 2017 Koontz Prize from Pacific Historical Review. As a public servant, he sits on the Board of Education for West Hartford Public Schools, the Governor’s Hate Crimes Advisory Council and the State Historical Records and Archives Board. He is the co-founder of Make Us Visible CT a grassroots organization that advocates for and creates Asian American and Pacific Islander studies curricula in public schools.

Panelist: Catherine Ceniza Choy, University of California, Berkeley
Catherine Ceniza Choy is the author of the forthcoming book, Asian American Histories of the United States, from Beacon Press in their ReVisioning History book series in August 2022. The book features the themes of anti-Asian hate and violence, erasure of Asian American history, and Asian American resistance to what has been omitted in a nearly 200-year history of Asian migration, labor, and community formation in the US. Her guest lecture, “Why So Many? Filipino Nurses & the COVID Frontlines,” was part of the inaugural season of the OAH podcast Intervals. She is a professor of ethnic studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Panelist: K. Ian Shin, University of Michigan
Ian Shin is Assistant Professor of History and American Culture at the University of Michigan. His teaching and research focus on the history of U.S. foreign relations and Asian American studies. Ian is currently completing his first book, Imperial Stewards: Chinese Art and the Cultural Origins of America's "Pacific Century." His articles and reviews have appeared in the Journal of American-East Asian Relations, Journal of Asian American Studies, and The Public Historian. Additionally, he is a co-host of the New Books in Asian American Studies podcast, and has contributed commentary to the BBC World Service, Los Angeles Times, The History Channel, and other media outlets.

Panelist: Amy Sueyoshi, San Francisco State University
Amy Sueyoshi is Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. She has authored two books - Discriminating Sex: White Leisure and the Making of American "Oriental" and Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Intimate Life of Yone Noguchi. She additionally wrote the section on API queer history for the National Parks Foundation’s LGBTQ theme study which won the Paul E. Buchanan Award for Excellence in Field Work, Interpretation, and Public Service. She is a founding co-curator of the GLBT History Museum, the first queer history museum in the United States, and the recipient of the Willie Walker Award for service to the GLBT Historical Society as well as the Phoenix Award for APIQWTC. In 2017, Amy was a Community Grand Marshal for San Francisco Pride.