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At 40: Asian American Studies

@ San Fr ancisco State

Self-Determination Community

Student Service Asian American Studies Department College of Ethnic Studies San Francisco State University 2009

Editorial Committee Jeffery Paul Chan Malcolm Collier Lorraine Dong, Coordinator Daniel Phil Gonzales Marlon K. Hom Russell Jeung Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales Wesley Ueunten

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher and/or the writer(s). Contributors to this book express their own opinions, which may not necessarily be the views of the publisher.

Copy Editors Lorraine Dong Brian Folk Steve Wake Design Subcommittee Steve Wake, Designer Mai-Nhung Le Valerie Soe Design and Layout: Steve Wake, Wake Media Productions Printed in USA by Thomson-Shore, Inc. Š 2009 by Asian American Studies Department, San Francisco State University

Asian American Studies Department College of Ethnic Studies San Francisco State University 1600 Holloway Avenue San Francisco, CA 94132




Hopes Origins: People, Time, Place, Dreams – Malcolm Collier and Daniel Phil Gonzales A Journey to 20 Days in the “Hole” – Laureen Chew A Short Piece on the San Francisco State Strike – Bette (Inouye) Matsuoka Looking Back – Alan S. Wong Ethnic Education: Its Purposes and Prospects – James A. Hirabayashi Dismantling a Monolithic History: Revisiting the Creation of the Baccalaureate in Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University Preface – Darren Lee Brown Continuing the Legacy of Self-Determination and Community: A Personal Reflection – Jeanne Batallones Rectifying an Academic Wrong: San Francisco State University, UC Berkeley, and Asian American Studies – Darren Lee Brown Transforming and Preserving a Thirty-Year Legacy – Jerry Dear Toward the Fifth Decade of Asian Pacific Islander American Studies and Scholarship: Recollections of 1968-2007 – Juanita Tamayo Lott

7 19 25 27 29 37


Invention Governance in AAS: Principles, Structures, and Practice – Malcolm Collier and Daniel Phil Gonzales Creation and Survival: Courses and Academic Program, 1969-86 – Malcolm Collier and Daniel Phil Gonzales Mapping Out Literary Asian America on Paper Placemat at the Jackson Café – Shawn Wong Upon Reflection – Philip P. Choy Planning and Teaching the First Course in Chinese American History – Him Mark Lai Raising a Red Banner… – Marlon K. Hom The Vietnamese American Studies Center at San Francisco State University – Mai-Nhung Le and Minh-Hoa Ta

51 63 75 79 81 83 91

Teaching Open the Light: Performing Filipina/o American Literature – Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales POP! Reflections on Representing Asian American CULTURE – Valerie Soe, Wei Ming Dariotis, and Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales Korean American Roots: San Francisco and the University – Grace J. Yoo Asian American Studies Tours as Pilgrimages of Memory – Russell Jeung Going “Back” to Where Our Ancestors Came From – Marlon K. Hom vii

99 109 115 121 125



Community The Nine Unit Block and Other Early Community Programs – Malcolm Collier and Irene Dea Collier Advocacy Agencies and Politics – Malcolm Collier AAS and CHSA: An Attempt to Merge Town and Gown – Lorraine Dong Asian American Community Health: Bringing Education and Service to the Community – Mai-Nhung Le and Grace J. Yoo To Serve the Community: The Fourth Decade of Community Service Learning at Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University – Russell Jeung

133 137 143 153 157

Contributions Prego Preface – Jeffery Paul Chan Nomadism Is Our Destiny: Translating Chinese America – Scilla Finetti L’A MA Non Ci Ama, Lost and Found in Translation – Jeffery Paul Chan To Be “Hapa” or Not to Be “Hapa”: What to Name Mixed Asian Americans? – Wei Ming Dariotis Mulan Leaves China – Lorraine Dong


173 179


Chinese Student-Immigrants’ Recent Quest for Dual Citizenship: As Seen from an Asian American Perspective – 譚雅倫 Marlon K. Hom The Use of Religious Repertoires in Asian America – Russell Jeung and Marian Wang Today and Tomorrow – Isabelle Thuy Pelaud The “Legacy” of Edison Uno – Wesley Ueunten

191 199 205 209

Appendices 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Students, Instructors, and Community Members Involved in the 1968 Strike and during the First Two Years of the Program The Strike Demands and San Francisco State College Responses Original AAS Goal and Description – Fall 1969 Outline of Department Structure and Process (circa 1971) Academic Role of AAS (AAS Academic Program Review Self-Study Report – 2005) Fall 1969 Classes with Instructor Names Fall 1970 Asian American Studies Courses Fall 1977 Asian American Studies Courses 1980 Asian American Studies Courses Late 1980s Asian American Studies Courses Fall 1981 AAS Faculty 2008 Asian American Studies Courses 2008 Asian American Studies Faculty


215 217 220 221 222 223 224 226 228 230 232 233 236 237

At 40: Asian American Studies @ San Francisco State Introduction of post-secondary education was ongoing at “State.” The TWLF was a coalition of six student organizations (in alphabetical order): the Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA), the Black Student Union (BSU), the Intercollegiate Chinese for Social Action (ICSA), the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), the Mexican American Student Confederation (MASC), and the Philippine (now Pilipino) American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE). The TWLF led the movement and – with the support of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), other radically politicized, predominantly white student groups, progressive faculty and administrators, particularly members of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and a broadly representative group of progressive leaders from our local communities – won their demand for a School of Ethnic Studies. The School was comprised of four distinct ethnic components: American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Black (now Africana) Studies, and La Raza (now Raza) Studies. United under the rubric “Asian American Studies,” and functioning under the basic principle of self-determination and related values, the three Asian American student organizations, together with supportive faculty and ethnic community members, immediately began to build a curriculum. In early September 1969, Asian American Studies offered its first courses. The original curriculum consisted of a combination of pan-ethnic and ethnic-specific Chinese, Japanese, and Pilipino American courses. “AT FIFTEEN OUR AMBITION IS TO LEARN” 吾十有五而志於學: During the first fifteen years of existence, a young, idealistic, and street-smart AAS at SF State learned what it meant to operate as a field of academic study, not only in terms of knowledge and presentation of subject matter and research methods but also in terms of the practice of realpolitiks necessary to survive and thrive in the unique environment of higher education.

子曰 吾十有五而志於學 三十而立 四十而不惑 五十而知天命 六十而耳順 七十而從心所欲 不踰矩 The Teacher said: At fifteen my ambition is to learn; At thirty I am established; At forty I am not confused; At fifty I know my destiny; At sixty my ears go with the flow; At seventy I follow my heart without transgression. – Chapter 2, “On Governance” 為政, in Lunyu 論語 (often known in English as “The Analects of Confucius”) – ca. 5th century BC


n March 20, 1969, Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University was born and became the first AAS program in the United States when a settlement was signed at San Francisco State College to establish the country’s first and still only School (now College) of Ethnic Studies. This was one substantial result of the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF) Strike that began on November 6, 1968. Amidst the militant activism, reactionary administrative and government politics, police suppression, and violence that mainstream media effectively sensationalized as anarchical clamor and influential negative imagery for mass consumption, serious work toward democratization 1



Life for those who continued to work in the School of Ethnic Studies after the Strike was not easy, but sacrifice and very hard work enabled the Asian American program to survive and grow through the 1970s and 1980s. “AT THIRTY WE ARE ESTABLISHED” 三十 而立: At thirty, Asian American Studies was no longer seen just as a passing phase, or an illegitimate unscholarly “bastard.” On October 22-24, 1998, a student-led conference, entitled “Dreams, Realities, and Challenges in Asian American Studies: Asian Pacific Islander Americans Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the SF State Third World Student Strike,” was held to evaluate the growth and development of AAS. A new generation of faculty, not present at the 1968 Strike and all holding doctoral degrees, was hired over time and became the majority of the faculty. The number of Asian ethnicspecific courses doubled to include the specific study of Korean Americans, Vietnamese Americans, and Asian Americans of Mixed Heritage. New, pioneering areas of specialized focus in AAS were also established by then, including Asian American creative writing, photographic exploration, Asian Americans of Mixed Heritage studies, Asian American community health, and Asian American children’s literature. An AAS major was established in 1997 and an AAS master’s program was approved in 1999, amidst growing concerns about institutionalization, corporatization, domestication, and internationalization, and how these factors might cause AAS to deviate from the original ideals and founding principles rooted in and emanating from the Strike. “AT FORTY WE ARE NOT CONFUSED” 四 十而不惑: For forty years, the initiators of AAS struggled to develop an academic discipline out of nothing. More importantly, they fought to uphold the revolutionary values of the Strike to make academe accountable to the people and the community. For this, at various times and in different circumstances, they have been honored, misunderstood, or criticized by both the academy and the community. This collection presents for the first time the direct, unfiltered description of the journey of the founding members of Asian American Studies – joined by those who followed – in their own words. The former is our first generation of Asian American faculty, followed by the latter 1.5 generation faculty who were present at the Strike, left for their advanced degrees, but returned to SF State, and the second generation of Asian American faculty who were just young children during the 1960s. The seven essays in “Hopes” relate the aspirations of the 1968 student strikers and the later generation of students who mobilized in 1997 to work with faculty and administration to establish the AAS major (see also Appendices 1-2). “Invention” is a restatement and explanation of the values and principles that served as the bases

for the construction of Asian American Studies, from 1969 to 2008 (see also Appendices 3-5). This section describes the department’s incredibly robust growth from six FTEF (full-time equivalent faculty) to 15.6 FTEF, and the expansion of the program from seventeen courses in 1969 to forty-one undergraduate and eleven graduate courses in 2008 (see also Appendices 6-13). To date, the department remains the largest AAS department in the nation with specific individual ethnic units, faculty, and courses dedicated to the study of Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans, Japanese Americans, Korean Americans, South Asian Americans, Vietnamese Americans, and Asian Americans of Mixed Heritage. In “Teaching,” five faculty share teaching pedagogies that make their courses unique even within the discipline of Asian American Studies. In “Community,” the trials and tribulations of incorporating and merging academe and community reveal a challenge that has yet to be totally overcome, especially with the emerging institutionalization of “Community Service Learning.” In the final section entitled “Contributions,” seven AAS faculty share their writings and research. Representing the perspectives of the first, 1.5, and second generations of AAS faculty at SF State, they exemplify new ways to confront and effectively address some of the important Asian American Studies issues facing us today. All articles are the opinions and perspectives of the writers and do not necessarily reflect that of the entire department. Those that are more historical in nature have gone through verification and multiple reviews, corrections, and additions by many individuals involved with the initiation and continuation of AAS at SF State. Every attempt has also been made to be as accurate as possible with the listings and spelling of names in the appendices. Unfortunately, due to the passage of time and the loss of contact with some individuals, it is difficult to achieve one hundred percent accuracy. With this in mind, the editorial committee apologizes in advance for any unintentional omission or misspelling of names. Unpredictable Possibilities

At forty, Asian American Studies at San Francisco State is not confused. We remember our origins and remain dedicated to our founding principles. On the eve of the fortieth anniversary of the 1968 Strike, Asian American Studies had lost a substantial portion of our self-determination when the decision-making process over budget, curricular offerings, and replacement faculty was subjected to administrative fiat. But a united front of AAS faculty and students led to a powerful reaffirmation of our origins and rights. This collaboration has sparked another era for AAS, where students are again engaged as welcome voices and minds with real presence and


participation in the department, and with the potential to influence AAS in a new direction and to the development of a new structure. We will continue to evolve and in another ten years of struggle, we hope that “at fifty we know something of our destiny.� Meanwhile, welcome to our journey: from our beginning to the present, and the unpredictable possibilities for the future of Asian American Studies. Editorial Committee Jeffery Paul Chan Malcolm Collier Lorraine Dong Daniel Phil Gonzales Marlon K. Hom Russell Jeung Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales Wesley Ueunten December 31, 2008


At 40:Asian American Studies @ San Francisco State  

On March 20, 1969, Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University was born and became the first AAS program in the United States w...

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