Asian American Studies hosts 10th Annual Balgopal Lecture




The annual Balgopal Lecture was established 10 years ago by a generous endowment from Pallassana R. Balgopal and Shyamala Balgopal in 2007.  Over the ten years the department has been hosting this lecture series, many renowned scholars and activists have been welcomed to our campus to speak on the subject of human rights and Asian Americans.

Professor Balgopal is a Professor Emeritus of Asian American Studies and the School of Social Work. And at this year's lecture we honor his scholarship and contribution to the field of Asian American Studies.  His wife, Dr. Shyamala Balgopal is Emeritus of Library Administration and Reference Librarian of the Asian Library at University of Illinois.

Pallassana R, (Bal) Balgopal came to the U.S. in 1960 from India to pursue graduate studies in Social work. He received his MSW degree from Boston University (1962) and his Ph.D. from Tulane University (1971). Before coming to the University of Illinois in 1978 he held academic appointments at Universities of Michigan, Maryland and Houston. In 1997, he served on the founding committee for the establishment of Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, was instrumental in it's evolution into an academic program and the development of its curriculum. Professor Balgopal developed and taught courses for the department up until his retirement in 2000 to pursue his passion of social work practice at grass roots level and has remained a strong supporter of the department ever since.  

This year's lecture welcomes Dr. Diane C. Fujino, Professor of Asian American Studies and Director of the Center for Black Studies Research at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She studies and teaches Asian American and Afro-Asian freedom struggles.  She is an activist-scholar in the areas of public education and ethnic studies, prisons and political prisoners, Asian American and racial justice, and international solidarity movements. She is author of Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama; Samurai among Panthers: Richard Aoki on Race, Resistance, and a Paradoxical Life; and Wicked Theory, Naked Practice: A Fred Ho Reader (as editor).  Her current projects focus on the Asian American Movement of the 1960s-70s, the continuing impact of the Black Power movement, and Japanese American radicalism, 1940s-70.

Dr. Fujino will speak on the Long Sixties protest era, a hallmark of the Asian American Movement was its focus on Third World solidarities, locally and globally.  

The lecture will be held Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 5:00pm in the Knight Auditorium at the Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., Urbana, IL.


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