The publication of this inaugural issue of All Eyes on AES coincides with the celebration of a significant milestone in the life of our department. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the creation of American Ethnic Studies, an academic unit established in 1985 through the unification of African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and the Center for Chicano Studies. These were all programs that came into existence out of the struggles for social change and educational reforms... Read more
Northwesterners have long appreciated the work of Alfredo Arreguín, celebrated artist of the Americas, native of Mexico, long-time Seattle resident, and alumnus of the UW fine arts program. This past year, an exhibit curated by AES chair Lauro Flores traveled to three institutions in Spain, putting his complex and vibrant paintings on view for new audiences.
Diseños y Naturaleza / Sueños y Naturaleza (Designs and Nature, Dreams and Nature) ... Read more
Assistant Professor LaShawnDa Pittman wasn’t expecting much of a response to her in class and email request seeking student volunteers to help develop a report for the Mayors Council on African American Elders (MCAAE). To her surprise, seven replied and said yes. In doing so, they gained insights into city policy planning and the plight of underserved African American elders, and made a big contribution to completing the report, now in review by Mayor Ed Murray’s staff. “All the council members... Read more
When Westerners think or study about China, or travel there, much of their attention goes to Beijing and Shanghai, and other areas in the north. Mostly overlooked is the southern Chinese coast. That, according to Connie So, a senior lecturer in AES, bypasses a culturally and historically important region that is the ancestral homeland of most Chinese Americans, including So and many of her students.
Calling attention to and increasing understanding of southern China’s past and present was the... Read more
For her work in raising awareness and pride of the Asian American community and educating young Asian Americans about their history, the Seattle chapter of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance honored her with a “Citizen of the Year” award in April. At a May 21 dinner, the International Examiner also honored So with a 2015 Community Voice Service Award. Originally from Hong Kong, So rejoined her maternal grandparents in Seattle when she was a child, and became aware of the prejudice... Read more
Parissh Knox (BA AES, ’96) prefers eating family style and tends to follow his own path in life. He strives to live a life of a servant leader. Foremost, he tries to always remember his roots and how blessed his life has been. And he rarely checks “one box only” on personal information forms. As an Okinawan Black White transnational adoptee, Knox had to learn English when he came to the US as a child. Adopted by a military family, they moved from base to base until his family reached Tacoma,... Read more
“Mr. Sal! Mr. Sal!” the fourth graders called out when Salvador Gomez walked into their classroom in Long Beach in late March. “I was surprised and happy they remembered me from last year,” Gomez says. A volunteer with the UW Pipeline Project, he returned to spend the 2014 spring break tutoring and mentoring grade school students from highly diverse backgrounds.
“Last year it took a whole week for the third graders to write a book sharing their stories — funny ones and heartbreakingly sad ones... Read more
Juan Felipe Herrera, newly named poet laureate of the United States, describes his UW students as “great — hard workers and talented.” In turn, the spring quarter visiting professor had great impact on them through a teaching style that goes beyond the syllabus and approaches writing and poetry from eclectic perspectives, with all senses engaged.
“On the first day he gave each of us a piece of construction paper and asked what comes to mind when we feel it, what noises it makes when we shake it... Read more
In 1985, a new Department of American Ethnic Studies united African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and the Center for Chicano Studies — three programs that had been semi-autonomous units since the 1970s. This fall, alumni, students, faculty, and staff will recognize this milestone through a symposium and celebrations that look back at the department’s roots and significant milestones, and that also will look to the future in a field that constantly evolves along with societal changes... Read more
The AES community applauds two of its long-time faculty members in their rise to the UW’s top leadership positions in March. The Board of Regents named Provost Ana Mari Cauce as interim president when President Michael Young left to become president at Texas A&M University. To fill the interim provost position, Cauce tapped Jerry Baldasty, senior vice provost for academic and student affairs since 2012. In a time of transition, the UW is in the stewardship of two highly experienced and... Read more
Faculty, students, and staff will be excited to welcome Sherman Alexie back to AES for the coming academic year and beyond. He was a senior artist in residence from December 2003 through June 2013. An iconic writer and poet on the Native American experience, Alexie is the author of 24 books including novels, collections of short fiction, and works of poetry. Classic titles are The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Reservation Blues, and The Absolutely True Diary...Read more
AES confers diplomas and celebrates the achievements of the Class of 2015 at a ceremony on June 12. UW alumnus Alan Sugiyama, long-time activist and advocate in the Asian American Community, is the keynote speaker. Sugiyama founded and for many years led The Center for Career Alternatives. He also is a former member of the Seattle School Board and has received numerous honors for his leadership and dedication to educational opportunity for culturally diverse populations.
Troy Osaki (AES ’13) began writing this poem while an undergraduate, as a way to describe the most important things he learned as an AES major. Over two or three years the poem germinated, lengthened, and transformed into a story format. “When a poem is a story you have lived through, it can take time to figure out its meaning,” Osaki says.“
Osaki is a spoken word poet and teaching artist who has led workshops for high school and college groups and for youth in transitional housing. He also is... Read more
Thank you for reading this first issue of All Eyes on AES. We welcome comments or questions. Please send to: firstname.lastname@example.org