The Center for Asian Pacific America (CAPA) was created in 1994 by Dean
Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez, who placed it under the
Center for the Advanced
Study for the Americas. CAPA is a faculty research center in
the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at the University
of California, Riverside, supported by Dean Vélez-Ibáñez
and Professor Max Neiman (Director, Center
for Social and Behavioral Sciences Research).
|Hershini Bhana||(Department of Ethnic Studies)|
|Edward Chang||(Department of Ethnic Studies)|
|Ruth Chao||(Department of Psychology)|
|Piya Chatterjee||(Departments of Women’s Studies
|Rodney Ogawa||(School of Education)|
|(Department of English)|
|Deborah Wong, Director||(Department of Music)|
|UCR, Professor of Sociology and Ethnic Studies.|
Enrique de la Cruz
|UCLA, Administrator for Curriculum, Asian American Studies Center.|
|UCR, Director, Center for Ideas and Society.|
Yen Le Espiritu
|UC San Diego, Professor of Literature. Past President, Association for Asian American Studies.|
|Pomona College, Assistant Professor of Psychology.|
|University of Southern California, Professor of Anthropology and American Studies and Ethnicity; Director, Asian American Studies.|
|Editor of Amerasia Journal, Managing Editor of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press, and the Series Editor of Intersections: Asian and Pacific American Transcultural Studies.|
|UC San Diego, Chair, Department of Ethnic Studies.|
|UC Irvine, Associate Professor of Social Sciences/Asian American Studies; Past President, Association for Asian American Studies.|
|UCLA, Director, Asian American Studies Center.|
|University of Redlands, Associate Professor of Education and Director of the Race and Ethnic Studies Program.|
Emilio J. Virata, Jr.
|UCR, Director, Asian Pacific Student Programs.|
|Claremont McKenna College, Associate Professor of History.|
The Center for Asian Pacific America supports research in Asian American studies in the broadest sense. Asian American Studies is a discipline currently at the intersection of several trajectories. From the beginning, the field has defined itself as both academic and activist, community-oriented; however, it now finds itself at the locus of often conflicting academic and social discourses. Paradoxically, recent developments in Asian American Studies have given rise to accusations of academic hermeticism on the one hand, and reductive identity politics activism on the other.
Indeed, there is much disagreement within the discipline itself. Though Asian American studies is an inherently interdisciplinary field, it is also the case that methodologies, foci, and emphases differ along recognizably traditional disciplinary lines. Most notably, the humanities and social sciences approach Asian American studies in markedly different ways. To be sure, there is overlap and disciplinary "borrowing," and the two schools have more often benefited than not from their differences. Nevertheless, distinct differences in relation to numerical data, the conceptualization of the subjects of study, and theorization, among other elements, suggest that much of the health of Asian American studies as a discipline has resulted from difference.
These differences should not be elided or collapsed. If Asian American Studies is to thrive and grow, it must be the result of a creative and productive differences between the disciplines. The faculty involved with the Center for Asian Pacific America (CAPA) at the University of California, Riverside, represent a number of fields: Anthropology, Education, English, Ethnic Studies, Ethnomusicology, Psychology, and Women’s Studies. Recognizing that interdisciplinarity may often be invoked in order to force similarities and awkward alliances, we take as one of our basic principles that it is precisely the diversity of approaches that enlivens the field.
Nevertheless, it is possible to identify sites of common interest and
inquiry. One such site is the arena of public culture, which we understand
includes things as diverse as the various inflections of Asian American
political life, the changing sociological landscape and its effects on
identity and activism, the renaissance of expressive culture as a space
of protest and affirmation, and the increasing hegemony of media representation
and its self-referentiality. Given that the realm of public culture
is shaped ideologically and culturally—as well as materially and socially—it
seems not only reasonable but necessary that Asian American scholars, activists,
theorists, and artists not dissolve their differences in a replication
of the melting-pot mentality. Rather, the Center for Asian Pacific
America seeks to retain those differences as sites from which we depart
in order to form creative and critical alliances.
CAPA currently represents the research activities of six faculty members: Deborah Wong (Director, ethnomusicology), Traise Yamamoto (Associate Director, literature), Hershini Bhana (literature and Ethnic Studies), Edward Chang (sociology and Ethnic Studies), Ruth Chao (psychology), Piya Chatterjee (anthropology and Women’s Studies), and Rodney Ogawa (education).
Established in 1994, the Center for Asian Pacific America (CAPA) has focused its attention to making Asian American Studies and the Asian Pacific American community visible in the Inland Area. In 1994-95, the year of its inception, CAPA sponsored a campus-based roundtable discussion on the present state of Asian American Studies. Participants included faculty from several departments: Masako Ishii-Kuntz (Sociology), Edward Chang (Ethnic Studies), Rodney Ogawa (Education), Piya Chatterjee (Women’s Studies/Anthropology), Steffi San Buenaventura (Ethnic Studies), and Traise Yamamoto (English). CAPA helped sponsor the 1995 Association for Asian American Studies Southern California Regional Conference, an event that drew more than two hundred faculty members, graduate, and undergraduate students. That spring, the Center co-sponsored (with Women’s Studies and Asian Pacific Student Programs) a symposium featuring three outside speakers, "Military Prostitution in South Korea: Life in a GI Town," as well as a symposium entitled, "L.A. Civil Unrest: It Could Happen Here." We ended that year with an afternoon panel and evening reading featuring writers Frank Chin, Jeffrey Paul Chan, Lawson Fusao Inada and Shawn Wong, co-editors of the 1974 collection Aieeeeee! An Anthology of Asian-American Writers, who were instrumental in founding Asian American literature and who had not been brought together for almost fifteen years.
Between 1995 and 1997, the Center for Asian Pacific America hosted several speakers, covering a range of issues in the field of Asian American Studies: K. Connie Kang, Los Angeles Times reporter and author of Home was the Land of Morning Calm: The Saga of a Korean-American Family; Marilyn Alquizola on "Pilipino Community Development and Literature"; Lane Ryo Hirabayashi on "Leadership and Service in the Asian and Pacific Islander Community"; Enrique de la Cruz; and jazz pianist Jon Jang.
In addition, CAPA has sponsored a faculty Works-in-Progress series that is now going into its sixth year. Presentations have included Deborah Wong, "Some Asian American Thoughts on Critical Pedagogy and Cultural Work," Edward Chang, "Korean Swap Meets in Los Angeles," Rodney Ogawa, "Embracing Uncertainty: Organizing to Enhance Knowledgeability and Capability in Teaching," and Traise Yamamoto, "In/Visible Difference: Japanese American Female Subjectivity."
CAPA has also spent a significant amount of time and resources on developing a database of grant-funding sources. Using monies available for research support, the Center has hired a number of graduate students to compile information on possible sources of future funding for collaborative research projects and additional symposia.
CAPA is pleased to work with UCR’s Asian
Pacific Student Programs on a number of issues and events, including
the Annual CAPA Award for Outstanding Contribution to Asian American Studies.
This award has recognized the following students:
|Now a doctoral student in Education at UCR, Ms. Ng received her
Bachelor’s degree in English from UC Irvine and is currently a Research
Fellow in UCR’s California Educational Research Cooperative, where she
is involved in a project examining factors that contribute to the under-representation
of ethnic minorities in California’s teacher workforce.
Ng’s research interests lie in examining the institutionalization of Asian Pacific American and Ethnic Studies in universities. Her projected dissertation research will trace the development of Asian Pacific American Studies as an academic discipline, exploring the implications of this path for the status and future of APA Studies in the American academy.
In December 1998, we applied to the Academic Senate for formal recognition as an Organized Research Unit at UCR and are still awaiting notification.
For the 1999-2000 academic, we have a major grant from the UC Pacific
Rim Research Initiative to support a number of projects.
Wong taught as Assistant Professor of Music at Pomona College (1991-93) and at the University of Pennsylvania (1993-96); she was Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Princeton University in 1994. She has been Assistant Professor of Music at UCR since the fall of 1996.
Asian American issues and activities are a priority for Wong. She has served on numerous committees addressing issues in Asian American studies curriculum as well as Asian American student needs. From 1994-97, she was a Board member for The Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia, a non-profit community arts organization dedicated to community empowerment through the arts. At UCR, she became Director of the Center for Asian Pacific America in fall 1997.
Born on the East Coast, Wong is now an enthusiastic Californian.
She self-identifies as Chinese American (third generation), as multiethnic,
and as Asian American.
Hershini Bhana completed her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley in 1998. She is currently working on a manuscript that is being considered by Oxford University Press, entitled Diaspora Conversations: Theorizing (by) the Ghost, wherein she examines several women's texts of the African diaspora such as Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions. Her research interests include the reading of 'mixed' raced bodies, theorizing (collective) memory and trauma in transnational black communities, and studying African spirituality as it criss-crosses the Atlantic.
Chang is the author of two books, Following the Footsteps of Korean Americans, and Who African Americans Are (in Korean). His forthcoming book is tentatively titled Building Multiethnic Community: African Americans, Korean Americans and Latinos, and will be published by the New York University Press (1999). Among his published works are "America’s First Multiethnic Riots," "Building Minority Coalitions: A Case Study of Korean and African Americans," and "Jewish and Korean Merchants in African American Neighborhoods: A Comparative Perspective." Chang has also co-edited two volumes about the Los Angeles civil unrest and its aftermath: Los Angeles! Struggles Toward Multiethnic Community (University of Washington Press, 1995) and Building Multiethnic Coalitions (Regina Books, l995).
Recently, Professor Chang received the President’s Award from the President of the Republic of Korea for his efforts leading a national campaign to gain support and raise funds for the development and institutionalization of an achievement test (SAT II) on the Korean language for high school students seeking college admission.
Chang has also received numerous awards including the John Anson Ford
Award from the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission (1995), the
Education Award from the Asian American Studies Center at UCLA (1995),
Milal Award (1996), the Global Korea Award from Michigan State University
(1995), and the Distinguished Korean American Award from SUNY at Stony
I have also continued studies on parenting style among immigrant Chinese families by exploring the relations between their parenting style, as captured both by Baumrind’s conceptualizations and by my notion of "training", and their parenting goals as well as practices in school (i.e., parental involvement in school). With regards to parents practices, a number of studies have found that Asian American parents, particularly East Asians, were highly involved with their children’s schooling, while some studies have found the opposite. However, these latter studies focused on more directive and managerial types of involvement (e.g., helping children with their homework, selecting their courses, attending school programs for parents) that may be especially difficult for Asian American immigrants. Also, Asian American parents may offer what I have labeled as more indirect or structural types of involvement (e.g., structuring their after-school time with academically-enriching music and/or language lessons, purchasing extra textbooks, assigning them extra homework).
Currently, I am extending the work described above to look more closely
at the importance of parental control, as well as parental involvement
in school in explaining children’s school achievement. Specifically,
this study will examine how the effects of parental control and parental
involvement on children’s school outcomes are mediated by the children’s
perceptions of the parents’ control as well as involvement in school and
that these relationships may differ for East Asian immigrants in comparison
to European Americans. More positive effects for parental control may be
found for East Asians compared to European Americans, and these positive
effects may largely be explained by the mediating role of children’s perceptions
regarding their parents’ control and involvement in school. That is, parental
control and involvement in school may be perceived more positively by East
Asian than European American children. I am also beginning a study examining
the role that children of Chinese and Mexican descent may play in the cultural
or linguistic brokering of their immigrant parents. Research on the
topic of language brokering or translation provided by children for their
immigrant parents indicates that this has been a very understudied area.
However, there is some evidence that brokering is not only prevalent for
them, but also involves great linguistic and psychosocial challenges or
demands. This study seeks to determine whether the brokering that
immigrant parents receive comes primarily from their own children and whether
there are particular qualities or characteristics in children that are
related to being "chosen" as brokers by their parents. Finally, this
study will also determine whether these brokering responsibilities have
an impact on children’s psychosocial well-being and on the parent-child
relationship. More in-depth analyses will explore just how children’s
brokering responsibilities may impact the parent-child relationship in
terms of perhaps undermining the parent’s authority, or on the other hand,
fostering more closeness between parents and children.
Border crossing and diasporic worlds chart Piya Chatterjee’s personal
and intellectual contours and her Anthropology. Born in India, she
spent an early childhood in Nigeria. As an undergraduate at Wellesley
College she acquired an intellectual commitment to women’s issues and then
took a Master’s side trip through Political Science at the University of
Chicago. Her main areal focus is South Asia, but she has related
interests in the history of the English-speaking Caribbean. She is
currently writing about gender, labor, and history in Indian tea plantations,
while the focus of her current research is working-class women and public
health cultures within Indian plantations and in California agribusiness.
Her book-in-progress is titled A Time for Tea: Labor, Gender and History
on an Indian Plantation. This research is located within the broader
field of women and international "development." Her methodological
approach is shaped by current debates in feminist ethnographic writing
and practice as well as issues of community participation in field research,
pedagogy, and writing. Chatterjee is also Assistant Director of
The Center for
Women in Coalition.
suggestions and support.
In 1997, CAPA received a generous gift from Mr. Myung K. Hong, President of Duracoat Co., to support research on Korean American issues.
During the academic year, CAPA members meet monthly to report on various projects.
We are presently seeking office space and funding for an Asian American Colloquium and Performance Series.
We have begun a long-term project documenting the past and present history of Asian Americans in Riverside.
Gravestone from Olivewood Cemetary in Riverside, California.
This web site was created and is maintained by CAPA Director Deborah Wong. If you have comments or questions, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CAPA logo
was designed by Paul Simon in 1996.
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