Student Activism & The Association for Asian American Studies

Student Activism & The Association for Asian American Studies

Melissa W.

In response to the recent attack on Asian Americans in Georgia this week, our team wanted to recognize an organization that serves as a teaching hub for Asian American Studies and activism. We stand together with the AAPI community and students, and wholly condemn the acts of violence that have been directed toward them, which saw spikes over the last year. 

Founded in 1979, The Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) was initially created to promote teaching and research in Asian American studies and “has emerged as a primary research and teaching hub for Asian American Studies, an interdisciplinary field born out of the 1960s movements for racial justice and student activism.” Its membership base is diverse, offering access to an unlimited amount of networking opportunities with researchers, teachers, students, activists, artists, writers, journalists, archivists/librarians, policy makers, and community organizers.

According to the organization’s website, AAAS is “invested in advancing the highest professional standards of research, teaching, and service in the field of Asian American Studies” and “is committed to sponsoring conferences, symposia, special projects, and events, which engage the association’s priorities with regard to scholarship, mentorship, and pedagogy. Equally important is the degree to which the association’s various objectives – specifically as they intersect with advocating and representing the interests and welfare of Asian American Studies and Asian Americans – reflect multiple communities and varied identities.” Included in the studies as subcomponents are "Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Hawai’ian, Southeast Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islander, and other groups.”

AAAS has a defined set of goals for members to follow that outline their long-term outlook for the organization. The 8 goals promote their standards through policies and campaigns and include:

  1. To promote the highest professional standards of excellence in teaching and research in the field of Asian American Studies.
  2. To promote better understanding and closer ties between and among various subcomponents within Asian and Pacific American Studies.
  3. To promote a meaningful and useful collegium among all individuals professionally involved and committed to the study of Asian Americans.
  4. To coordinate professional activity involving meetings, research projects, teaching, advocacy projects, and community relations among members, and between members and non-members.
  5. To support increased communication and scholarly exchanges among students, teachers, and scholars in the field of Asian American Studies.
  6. To promote professional dignity in the field, its many programs and its practitioners, so as to have a positive influence upon American public opinion, society, and government in all areas where Asian Americans are affected.
  7. To advocate for the interests and welfare of Asian American Studies in academia and government.
  8. To assist with the task of educating American society and government about the history of Asian Americans and the contemporary issues and problems they face in the United States.

Membership runs yearly and is pay-based, but unlocks unlimited potential for learning and growth within the AAPI community and beyond. AAAS members get the chance to attend conferences and clinics throughout the year to serve as a resource for advancing Asian American Studies.

Are you a member of AAAS or a similar AAPI student/campus organization? Let us know in the comments!


Photo by Logan Liu on Unsplash

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