ASA 9/11 Anniversary Statement
On the twentieth anniversary of September 11, 2001, we in the Department of Asian American Studies pause to reflect on the struggles over the last two decades of the Asian American communities most impacted by that historic event. The attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11 was a tragic event that was used to demonize and terrorize Muslim, South Asian, Afghan, and Arab American communities. The post-9/11 national panic sanctioned the surveillance, policing, incarceration, and deportation of Muslim, South and West Asian Americans. The War on Terror launched in 2001 targeted Muslims, national and globally, as a security threat and enemies of “Western civilization” and created a climate of fear, precarity, and siege. It unleashed a wave of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab racism (including against those perceived as “Muslim,” such as Sikh men) that included everyday harassment, profiling, and violent attacks that were amplified during the Trump regime and, sadly, continue to this day.
The events of 9/11 were also used to justify the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, launching the longest war in US history--one that has tragically devastated Afghanistan and continues to cause suffering for Afghans and Afghan Americans. The imperial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq represented a renewed phase of US territorial occupation in West and Southwest Asia. Despite the withdrawal of most US troops from Afghanistan last month, secret forces and drone wars continue to target and kill Afghans, so this war is not over yet. We stand in solidarity with Afghan Americans, many of whom were resettled in the Bay Area in an earlier era of displacement and are part of the UC Davis campus community.
As educators in ethnic studies, we note that many of our students remain unaware of the permanent surveillance and mass incarceration of Muslim, South, and West Asian Americans. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Muslim Americans were rounded up at federal facilities and herded into detention through the infamous Special Registration program; picked up in secret raids and deported overseas; and targeted with FBI entrapment and infiltration of mosques, community organizations, and student groups. The PATRIOT Act and other counterterrorism programs had a chilling effect because they criminalized not just activities but also political and religious beliefs, leading to self-censorship and anxiety about criticism of US state and foreign policies. Many Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrant families fled to the US-Canada border and attempted to get asylum to escape persecution in the US. Muslim Americans have also endured family separation due to the recent Muslim travel bans and covert immigration restrictions.
9/11 led to a “long War on Terror” that persists to this day, but one that is often unknown to the general public, and has not been integrated into school curricula nor widely discussed in the mainstream. Ethnic studies scholars have documented and discussed these traumatic events and the social movements that emerged in the post-9/11 era, including faculty in Asian American Studies. Sunaina Maira has researched impact of 9/11 on Muslim and South Asian Americans and the growing activism of The 9/11 Generation. Some of us have also been involved in grassroots organizing with immigrant and human rights groups in solidarity with Muslim, South and West Asian American communities. Our community-engaged research has expanded the boundaries of “Asian America” to include the stories of West, South, and Southwest Asian Americans, an endeavor that continues to be vital in providing counter-memories to the official nationalist narratives about September 11, 2001.
UPDATED UCD Faculty Statement of Solidarity with Palestinians
Thursday May 27, 2021
We, the signatories below, express our concerns for the suffering inflicted on Palestinians by the Israeli airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip and condemn the state-sanctioned violence by settlers and lynch mobs against Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Israel. The recent asymmetrical assaults by the Israeli state have left over 180 Palestinians dead, of which at least 40% are women and children, and over 1200 Palestinians injured, as of Monday May 16. Palestinian families spent the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in a state of terror and anguish.
Israel’s state violence is also an assault on the education of Palestinian youth. More than 24 Palestinian schools in Gaza have been damaged by Israeli air strikes and Palestinian students have been prevented from protesting the war at Israeli universities. This brutal violence follows the forcible evictions of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem by Israeli settlers, whose settlements are deemed illegal under international law. Marauding Jewish extremists have been filmed lynching and beating Palestinians in the streets.
This violence has been extremely disturbing and re-traumatizing for Palestinian American students and community members at UCD. We note that UCD Anthropology PhD Lena Meari was hit in the head with a sound bomb at the Sheikh Jarrah site. Another UCD Anthropology PhD graduate student was denied admission into Israel to carry out preliminary doctoral fieldwork and had to develop a new project in a different country. A third UCD Anthropology graduate student, was threatened with their life on departure from Israel after preliminary doctoral fieldwork and was not able to return. These assaults on scholars and restrictions on academic work in Palestine-Israel have been ongoing and fundamentally violate the right to education of Palestinians.
As US-based scholars, we are outraged that the US administration has refused to condemn this Israeli state violence, yet again. The Biden administration has opposed the UN Security Council meeting about the rapidly escalating crisis and blocked their statements, including calls for a ceasefire. The US government has historically provided more funding to Israel than any other country in the world to the tune of $3.8 billion a year. Imagine how this money could be spent on public education, healthcare, and building safer communities!
This latest eruption of anti-Palestinian violence and anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism is occurring in the context of an ongoing history of forcible displacement, dispossession, and systemic racism by Israel. Recently, Human Rights Watch criticized Israel as an apartheid state, given the legal nature of entrenched racial discrimination by the Israeli state against Palestinians under its rule. The Black Lives Matter movement in the US has helped spotlight the distressing similarities between, and the collaborations binding, US and Israeli policing. Indigenous rights movements have highlighted struggles against settler colonialism linking North America and Palestine. Mass incarceration, refugee displacement, border militarization, and restrictions on freedom of movement are all issues that have energized transnational solidarity between social justice movements in the US and Palestine. Feminists have recently endorsed the statement that Palestine is a Feminist Issue opposing gendered and sexual violence in Palestine as intrinsic to the “siege of Palestinian land and life.”
We stand in solidarity with Palestinian scholars working under conditions of edu-cide and struggling with the censorship of their narratives and scholarship. We also support the right of students and faculty to speak openly about these issues of human rights and global justice without fear of reprisals, blacklisting, or unwarranted allegations of anti-Semitism that trivialize actually existing anti-Semitism in a context of emboldened white supremacy and fascist violence. As scholars committed to racial justice and opposed to war and colonialism, we believe that justice is indivisible and has no borders.
Departments and programs
Department of Asian American Studies
Mellon Research Initiative on Racial Capitalism
Department of American Studies
Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies
Department of African American and African Studies
Mellon Research Initiative on Feminist Arts and Sciences
Department of French and Italian
Middle East/South Asia Studies Program
The “Sociocultural Wing” of the Department of Anthropology
Donald Palmer, Graduate School of Management
Kathleen Frederickson, Associate Professor of English
Justin Leroy, Assistant Professor of History
Natalia Deeb-Sossa, Professor of Chicana/o Studies
Susy Zepeda, Assistant Professor of Chicana/o Studies
Michael Singh, Assistant Professor of Chicana/o Studies
Victor Montejo, Retired Professor of Native American Studies
Ofelia Cuevas, Assistant Professor of Chicana/o Studies
Alan Klima, Professor of Anthropology
Viola Ardeni, Lecturer in Italian
Jaimey Fisher, Professor of German and Cinema & Digital Media
Joshua Clover, Professor of English and Comparative Literature
Jesse Drew, Professor of Cinema and Digital Media
Hsuan Hsu, Professor of English
Seeta Chaganti, Professor of English
Inés Hernández-Ávila, Professor, Native American Studies
Justin Spence, Associate Professor of Native American Studies
Zinzi Clemmons, Assistant Professor of English
Suzana Sawyer, Associate Professor of Anthropology
Zoila Mendoza, Professor of Native American Studies
Lucy Corin, Professor of English
Erin Gray, Professor of English
Marisol de la Cadena, Professor of Anthropology
Elizabeth Miller, Professor of English
Simon Sadler, Professor of Design
Omnia El Shakry, Professor of History
Stacy D Fahrenthold, Assistant Professor of History
Michael Ziser, Associate Professor of English
Joseph Dumit, Professor of Science & Technology Studies
Stephanie Boluk, Cinema and Digital Media
Parama Roy, Department of English
Matthew Vernon, Department of English
Margaret Ronda, Associate Professor of English
Suad Joseph, Distinguished Research Professor, Anthropology, University of California, Davis
Ali Anooshahr, History Department
Wendy DeSouza, Middle East/South Asia Studies
Julie Wyman, Associate Professor of Cinema and Digital Media
Baki Tezcan, Professor of History
Timothy Choy, Associate Professor of Science & Technology Studies
Cristiana Giordano, Associate Professor of Anthropology
Liza Grandia, Associate Professor of Native American Studies
Tim Lenoir, Professor of Science & Technology Studies and Cinema & Digital Media
Kris Fallon, Associate Professor of Cinema & Digital Media
Fiamma Montezemolo, Professor, Cinema & Digital Media
James H. Smith, Professor of Anthropology
Yvette G. Flores, Professor, Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies
Lorena V. Márquez, Department of Chicana/o Studies
Erica Kohl-Arenas, Associate Professor of American Studies
Mark Jerng Department of English
Charles Walker, History Department
Kimberly D. Nettles-Barcelớn, Associate Professor, Gender, Sexualith and Women’s Studies
Karen L. Bales, Professor of Psychology
Lillian Cruz-Orengo, Anatomy, Physiology & Cell Biology
Fatima Mojaddedi, Anthropology
UCD ASA Department's Statement on API Hate Crimes
We, the faculty and staff of Asian American Studies, condemn the anti-Asian racism and hate crimes that have impacted our community members. Recently, Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year old Thai-American, lost his life by being shoved to the ground while walking in San Francisco. A 61-year old Filipino-American man, Noel Quintana, was cut in the face during his morning commute to work on the New York City subway. These are only a few examples of numerous attacks, and the Asian American community has suffered from it. This racist violence comes in the wake of anti-Asian/Chinese attacks in response to the COVID-19 virus that redirected frustration with the pandemic and lack of healthcare to Asian communities and were stoked by the xenophobia and anti-Asian racism of Trump.
These attacks are not unique. These are the result of white supremacy and intersectional oppression that minoritized people have been enduring for too long. An increase in policing and police budgets are not sustainable solutions. We reject securing our safety at the expense of others and criminalization of Black communities. We urge the government to invest in infrastructure and community-based solutions for stopping racism and systemic inequality. ASA faculty and staff want to underline our commitment to creating spaces where our students can discuss racism and the answers to fix the broken system in solidarity with marginalized people including, but not limited, to Asian American and Pacific Islander, Black, Indigenous, Muslim, and people of color communities.
UCD ASA Department's Statement: Opposing ICE's Decision on International Students
The ASA faculty and staff would like to amplify the growing condemnation of a recent measure announced on July 6, 2020 by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) that rescinds COVID-19 exemptions for international students with F-1 and M-1 visas, and requires them to enroll in at least one course in person. If the student is unable to take in-person instruction this coming fall, the student will be deported or barred from entering or reentering the country.
We, the faculty and staff of Asian American Studies, are outraged, and condemn this policy.
This unjust policy that requires over one million international students to take at least one in person class is part of a long list of politicized and xenophobic immigration policies administered by the Trump administration since 2016. Such a draconian policy jeopardizes and causes upheaval in students’ lives, disrupts their academic and cultural pursuits, and sullies a college experience that is supposed to be eye opening, inspiring, and nurturing. The announcement is especially egregious as it comes in the wake of anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic in which President Trump has strategically blamed it on Asian immigrants as a way to divert attention from his own own errors and inaction.
We welcome ALL students, and will fight in whatever way necessary for EVERY student to stay here and pursue his/her/their studies at UC Davis.
As underscored by the chancellor, this policy is “cruel” and shortsighted and places everyone at risk. Underpinning this misguided regulation is a sustained “fear” of the immigrant, a fear rooted in American history despite the fact that it is international students who help in part to make the United States a welcoming, enriching, and thriving place. Contrary to the reports of animus between international students and Asian American students, we recognize how international students have been and continue to be vital in our community-building efforts in making this campus more equitable and inclusive.
We support all efforts against ICE and the US Department of Homeland Security enforcing this policy.
While the UC administration pursues legal protections for international students, we want to offer support and alleviate in any way we can this distressing and frustrating experience. We are currently discussing and pursuing specific ways in which we can accommodate the learning experiences of all students. Faced with more added uncertainty in a time that already calls for extraordinary steps from all of us in the care of our communities, we want to underline our commitment in ensuring that ALL students have the rightful opportunity to access their education without fear of interference, interruption, or persecution.
UC Student Petition: Justice for Black Lives
Below is the link to the UCD student's petition asking the UC system to defund the campus police and to divest from all imperial contracts.
March 24, 2020 Learning in a Time of COVID-19 Letter to Students
Dear Asian American Studies students,
We realize this is a very challenging time for you and your loved ones; it’s equally challenging for all of us as instructors and staff members. Since the campus has decided to continue operations remotely over the spring quarter, we all expect to “see” you (via Zoom) in the coming weeks. Indeed, given widespread anti-Asian prejudice, bigotry and harassment with the spread of COVID-19, now more than ever, we as a society need the critical insights that Asian American Studies (please see the recent statement about Anti-Anti-Asian Harassment and the COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus from the Association for Asian American Studies on our website https://asa.ucdavis.edu/public-statements).
To better prepare all of us for the new reality of remote learning, we want to share the following sets of resources with you:
Principles of the ASA Community: Kindness, Patience and Grace
Though the campus has its own principles of community (https://diversity.ucdavis.edu/principles-community) to which we also abide, we have a very special culture of care in ASA. Those of you who know us, know that ASA is a space that tries to foster a strong sense of community. If you have ever been in the ASA office, you know that anyone who needs a place to study is welcome to use our space. You know, too, that we have an “honor” snack bar where students can eat what they want, as much as they want when they need to. All we ask is that they donate money or their favorite snack when they can. You also know that the faculty and staff are warm and welcoming. In this time of crisis, we pledge to continue to foster that culture of care and to treat each of you with kindness, patience and grace.
Are you ready for remote learning? Prepping for class
First Week of Class: Even though classes are supposed to start on March 30th, we recognize that all of us may still be adjusting to the transition to remote learning. Our instructors will take measures to ensure that our classes are fully accessible to you first. We as faculty and instructors do not expect to start officially lecturing on course material until 2-3 weeks following the start of the quarter, however, we do hope you begin reading and assignments as soon as you have access to them via Canvas. Please note, that some of the faculty may not yet have published their Canvas courses.
Needs Survey: Please fill out this survey to help us better serve you as learners. Please make sure to use your UC Davis email to fill it out.
Computer and Internet Access: The campus has assured us that it will do its best to provide computer and internet access to students who need it. Here is the link for more information.https://keepteaching.ucdavis.edu/student-resources
Readings: Assuming you have a computer and internet access, please make sure to download the library VPN (https://www.library.ucdavis.edu/service/connect-from-off-campus/) in order to access any readings for your courses from Shields. Our instructors will do the best we can to provide you with PDFs with readings on Canvas but in case you need to access readings from the library, you will need VPN. Plus, if your instructor requires you to do library research, you will need to have VPN to access readings. Otherwise, you may be asked to pay for reading material. Since it is not clear that postal services will operate in the same way over the next few weeks, we are advising instructors to adjust their syllabi so as to provide you with readings that are easily accessible.
Communication: We will do our best as a department and as individual instructors to keep you updated on all developments that may impact your learning. However, if you have specific questions or concerns, it is very important that you communicate directly with your TAs and/or faculty in the methods that they specify. See below for info on how to contact ASA staff.
Are you feeling physically and emotionally prepared to learn? Resources that can help
We realize that you will not be prepared to learn remotely if your basic needs (physical and emotional) are not being met. Here is information to help you navigate campus resources to assist.
Medical and Mental Health Resources: Free online medical, mental health, and psychiatry appointments:https://shcs.ucdavis.edu/online-visits*must use coupon codes provided on website*
Mental health support:
In-person crisis support @ North Hall available M-F 9AM-4:30PM
Telehealth (phone or video) visits offered for all other visits
Call 530-752-0871 to schedule appointments
Crisis text line: Text “RELATE” to 741741
*Free for all registered students
Anti Asian Bias: We realize that a good majority of students enrolled in our classes identify as Asian American Pacific Islander. We also realize that many are experiencing anti-Asian bias of all kinds. If that has happened to you, please consider report to the following:
UC Davis Harassment & Discrimination Assistance and Prevention Program: https://hdapp.ucdavis.edu/report-incident
Stop AAPI Hate: http://www.asianpacificpolicyandplanningcouncil.org/stop-aapi-hate/
General Unemployment Resources: https://edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm *especially helpful if you have family members who lost jobs or if you worked off campus and lost employment
We will be posting additional resources on the ASA website.
Since the main office will be closed, you can keep updated on developments in Asian American Studies through our website (https://asa.ucdavis.edu/) and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/UCDavisAsianAmericanStudies/
Angel Truong, ASA Department Coordinator, provides departmental information, and will be available Monday-Friday 12pm-4pm. Please contact her via email email@example.com or (530) 752-2069.
Joe Nguyen will be available by phone or email for academic advising between the hours of 10am-3pm M-F. Please contact him at (530) 752-8617 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Robyn M. Rodriguez, chair of Asian American Studies, provides overall direction to the faculty and staff. If you have questions or concerns about your remote learning experiences in Asian American Studies, please contact her via email at email@example.com. You can also schedule Zoom office hours with her here. She is also available by phone during regular business hours (9AM-6PM) at 732-979-5768. If she doesn’t answer, please leave a voicemail.
Aizl Albon and Julie Guan are our peer advisors and can lend academic support as well as advice and recommendations on academic success. Students are strongly encouraged to reach out to Peer Advisers with any questions relative to their learning experience.
Dr. Tatum Phan is our CAN Community Counselor. She is available for free consultations and counseling services via phone and video Contact via email with schedule of availability: firstname.lastname@example.org
AAAS Statement about Anti-Asian Harassment and the COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus
The Centers for Disease Control recently announced that the COVID-19/novel coronavirus may spread in the United States. As people take precautions to manage their health (the two biggest precautions are frequent handwashing and staying home if you are sick), the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) wants to also acknowledge the rise of anti-Asian (especially anti-Chinese) harassment that many Asian Americans (particularly those who look East Asian) are experiencing. As an organization dedicated to the study of Asian Americans, we want to be very clear that harassment of Asians due to fears of the coronavirus are not only unwarranted but sadly part of a longer history of stereotypes associating Asians, especially Chinese, with disease. We stand firm in rejecting anti-Asian bigotry in the guise of people expressing fear of COVID-19. We also urge people to find resources that will educate them about how to stay healthy as well as why their prejudices/biases in assuming all Asians have the coronavirus are rooted in a history of Yellow Peril rhetoric, xenophobia, ableism, and anti-Asian racism. For more, please see this open-source syllabus on resources for addressing anti-Asian bias associated with the coronavirus. And please remember: frequent handwashing not anti-Asian stereotypes/harassment are your best means of preventing the spread of coronavirus.
ASA Statement on DACA
We, the faculty and staff in the Asian American Studies department, condemn the Trump administration’s decision to revoke the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and pledge to support all students, faculty, and staff, including undocumented members of our student and campus community. According to AAPI Data, there are an estimated 1.6 million Asian Americans who are undocumented and who must often live in fear and silence.
Trump’s decision follows on the heels of previous anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric and policies, including the anti-Muslim/Arab/African travel ban and plans to further fortify the U.S.-Mexico border, which we opposed in a previous statement. We note that the heightened fear and insecurity experienced by undocumented students and members of our communities is not new, but extends an ongoing crisis under the Obama administration which deported masses of brown people. DACA offers only minimal protection to undocumented youth but for many it is the only option available, and so the rescinding of even this very limited legal protection is outrageous.
As scholars in ethnic studies who study and teach the history of migration, racist exclusion, enslavement, and settler colonization in the United States, we are deeply aware that the U.S. is not, in fact, the safe haven for “huddled masses” that it purports to be. Many who cross borders to enter the U.S. do not actually see it as a benevolent savior but seek survival, as they flee countries that are, in many cases, impoverished and devastated by decades of U.S. policies of predatory capitalism and military intervention in other nations.
We support the right to freedom of movement, freedom to stay, and freedom to live without persecution for all people, regardless of their race, religion, nationality, class, ability, gender, sexuality, and political beliefs. Undocumented Asian and Pacific Islander lives and families are threatened by the xenophobic policies of a state that wants their labor but is not willing to support their lives. As Asian American studies, we know that these policies build on a history of immigration exclusion and worker exploitation that can be traced to earlier moments, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which targeted a specific (Asian) racial group, as well as post-9/11 policies of deportation, detention, and surveillance of Muslim, South Asian, and Arab immigrants.
Racialized policies of deportation and criminalization of immigrants occur in a larger geo-political context of U.S. imperial interventions and military expansionism around the globe. The Trump regime has escalated tensions and military threats on the Korean peninsula, aided in the destruction and starvation of Yemen and havoc wreaked on Syria, and dropped a massive bomb on Afghanistan. From West to East Asia, it has continued U.S. policies of imperial expansion, intervention, and warfare and undermined the movement for climate justice.
We are also deeply concerned about the escalating violence by white nationalist activists and the condoning of white supremacist and hate groups by the U.S. President that has emboldened white vigilantes, on and off campus. Our goal in Asian American studies is to continue to teach our students about the struggles for racial and social justice, to work with other communities to create true “security” for all, and to engage with others beyond the university in meaningful acts of solidarity and partnership.
The Asian American Studies department will continue to support DACA students by having Know Your Rights cards available for all, serving as UndocuAllies, working in solidarity and partnership with the AB540 Center on campus and our colleagues in other departments focused on racial justice, supporting programming to help raise awareness about and create forums for the discussion of issues faced by DACA students, and connecting our students to community resources and sources of support.