The Department of Asian American Studies (AAS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is committed to expanding the traditions of knowledge within academia to address Asian American epistemologies, activities, and experiences. The department also seeks to render scholarly intellectual efforts integral to those of local, regional, national, and international Asian American communities. Faculty, staff, and students associated with the department are expected to contribute to this mission through local and national teaching, research, and service activities, and also through active participation in social, intellectual, and political endeavors.

Our History

In the fall of 1997, the University of Illinois responded to student demands for the establishment of a dedicated Asian American studies program by organizing the Asian American Studies Committee. The three-year committee, chaired by George Yu and co-chaired by Clark Cunningham, was charged with establishing an academic program in Asian American studies with six faculty. The Asian American Studies Program was established in Fall 2000. In Fall 2002, the Asian American Studies undergraduate minor was first offered, and was followed by the graduate minor in 2010. The Program became a Department in 2012. In 2016, the Asian American Studies undergraduate major was established. The Department of Asian American Studies celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2017.

What We Do

As a department, we have much to offer: intellectually engaged and award winning faculty and graduate instructors; challenging courses; a supportive staff; a stimulating place for undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral research. Undergraduates value our major and minor for their exciting course offerings as much as graduate students value the graduate minor for its interdisciplinary and theoretical challenges.

Faculty, staff, and students are working collaboratively to:

  • Stimulate and promote research and curricular offerings in the area of AAS
  • Add to the university's intellectual environment by sponsoring conferences, colloquia, seminars, guest lectures, and/or other activities.
  • Support faculty, graduate, and undergraduate student research and publication.

Explore Asian American Studies here at Illinois through our website and learn about all the opportunities available for you in this department, on this vastly interconnected campus, and in the State of Illinois.