Faculty Accomplishments

November 8, 2017

Renee Tajima-Peña’s award-winning documentary "No Más Bebés" tells the story of how Mexican women in the late 60's and early 70's L.A. were sterilized without their consent or under extreme duress from doctors.

August 18, 2017

The UCLA Asian American Studies Center and Department, and the Department of History are extremely pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Valerie J. Matsumoto to the George and Sakaye Aratani Endowed Chair on the Japanese American Incarceration, Redress, and Community, effective July 1, 2017.

The Aratani Chair is the first and only one of its kind in American higher education. It supports the activities of a renowned scholar, specializing in research and teaching about the unjust incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese from the Americas during World War II, their subsequent postwar campaign to seek redress and a national apology, as well as in the issues, challenges, and trends of the Japanese American community. Leaders in business and philanthropy, the Aratani family has provided remarkable and generous support of the Center for many years, including an endowed program for campus-community partnerships and an internship for UCLA students within the Japanese American community of greater Los Angeles.

Professor Matsumoto holds a split appointment in the departments of History and Asian American Studies, and she is the author of Farming the Home Place, widely regarded as a classic in Japanese American and Asian American community studies. She also co-edited (with Blake Allmendinger) Over the Edge: Remapping the American West. Her newest book City Girls, which focuses on Nisei women's social networks before, during, and after World War II, is a major study that breaks new ground across several fields. Professor Matsumoto holds three degrees, all in U.S. History: B.A. from Arizona State University, M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University and was the first Asian American woman to receive tenure in the UCLA History Department.

Professor Matsumoto is among UCLA's finest teachers. She was the inaugural recipient of the Center's C. Doris and Toshio Hoshide Distinguished Teaching Prize in 2006, as well as the recipient of the university-wide Distinguished Teaching Award in 2007. She has chaired or been a member of more than a hundreds of senior theses, MA theses and doctoral dissertations. The students Professor Matsumoto has mentored are faculty members across the nation, award-winning writers, and leaders in society.

During her UCLA career, she has been an active member of the Faculty Advisory Committee of the Asian American Studies Center, serving as Associate Director, guest editing Amerasia Journal and in many other capacities. She is an active consultant with many local and national museums, historical societies, and other organizations.

"It is a great honor to hold the Aratani Chair, which affirms the significance of Japanese American history, particularly in the light of on-going debates about civil liberties and racial profiling. The Chair also provides a unique opportunity to acknowledge the dynamic networks and creativity of Japanese American communities, past and present" said Professor Matsumoto.

We would also like to take this opportunity to recognize the distinguished tenure of the inaugural holder of the Aratani Chair, Professor Lane Ryo Hirabayashi and to congratulate him on his recent retirement from UCLA.

Please join us, along with the faculty, staff, and students of the Asian American Studies Center and Department and the Department of History, in congratulating Professor Matsumoto on her appointment as the George and Sakaye Aratani Endowed Chair on the Japanese American Incarceration, Redress, and Community!


David K. Yoo
Vice Provost & Professor
Institute of American Cultures and Acting Director Asian American Studies Center

Stephen Aron
Robert N. Burr Department Chair & Professor
Department of History

Victor Bascara
Chair & Associate Professor
Asian American Studies Department

April 28, 2017

The Nikkei Democracy Project, produced by Renee Tajima-Pena, has just launched its second video which follows activists Traci Ishigo and Sahar Pirzada as they organize the immigration ban protest at LAX. 

Link to the video on the Nikkei Democracy Project Facebook page--

Los Angeles Times link to the video and interview with Tani Ikeda--

The Nikkei Democracy Project is a multi-media collective that uses video, art, and social media to capture the power of the Japanese American imprisonment story and expose current threats to the Constitutional rights of targeted Americans. We are a group comprised of filmmakers, writers, scholars, and online media professionals committed to ensuring that we never forget the lessons of Executive Order 9066.

The Nikkei Democracy Team: (list in formation) 

•    Tani Ikeda, filmmaker

•    Sean Miura, marketing strategist at BuzzFeed and producer/curator of the Little Tokyo Tuesday Night Cafe

•    Tad Nakamura, filmmaker Pilgrimage, Life on Four Strings: Jake Shimabukuro, Mele Murals

•    Joan Shigekawa, former Acting Chair, National Endowment for the Arts and former Associate Director, the Rockefeller Foundation

•    Mariko Silver, President, Bennington College

•    Renee Tajima-Peña, Professor of Asian American Studies UCLA, filmmaker Who Killed Vincent Chin, No Más Bebés

February 3, 2017

In a panel discussion on the possiblity of a Muslim ban and registry, Professor Hirabayashi weighed in on the historical lessons learned from Japanese-American internment from the Second World War.

Coverage of the entire discussion can be found here: http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2017/01/19/trigger-moment-imperil-civi... 

January 13, 2017

Dr. Marjorie Kagawa Singer is currently serving as the 2016-17 Interim Director of the Center.

Professor Emeritus Kagawa Singer concluded a twenty-five year career of research and teaching Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Island Studies and Public Health at UCLA in July 2015. Shortly afterwards, she was recalled by UCLA to serve as a Research Professor, Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusions, and Chair of the Dean's Ad Hoc Diversity Committee for the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

An engaged and activist scholar, Kagawa Singer has been a longtime leader of the center's work as a member of its Faculty Advisory Committee and as Senior Editor for the AAPI Nexus Journal from 2007 to 2012. As director of the concurrent degree between Community Health Sciences and Asian American Studies, she nurtured generations of students who have become academic, professional, and community leaders.

Info accredited to the AASC. 


April 20, 2016

Congratulations Professor Renee Tajima-Peña (along with Virginia Espino) on receiving the 2016 Erik Barnouw Award from the Organisation of American Historians (OAH) for the documentary No Más Bebés, for which she is both director and producer!

To find out more about No Más Bebés:

April 19, 2016

Congratulations to Professor Victor Bascara on receiving the 2015 Royal Morales Community Achievement Award! The UCLA Pilipino Alumni Association pays tribute to the legacy of Royal Morales, or Uncle Roy as affectionately called, by presenting the Royal Morales Community Achievement Award to an alumnus, faculty member, or community partner who have made extraordinary contributions to the UCLA Pilipino community.

April 19, 2016

The Department of Asian American Studies is pleased to announce that Grace Kyungwon Hong, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies and Gender Studies (along with Erica Edwards, Associate Professor of English at UC Riverside) has received a Multi-Campus Research Programs and Initiatives (MRPI) Grant funded for $1.07 million over four years by the UC Office of the President. This grant funds the Consortium for Black Studies in California. Professor Robin Kelley (UCLA, African American Studies and History) serves as the Director of the Consortium and Associate Professor Aisha Finch (UCLA, African American Studies and Gender Studies) as the Associate Director.

April 19, 2016

Congratulations to Professor David Yoo of the Department of Asian American Studies in being the 2014-15 recipient of the C. Doris and Toshio Hoshide Distinguished Teaching Prize in Asian American Studies at UCLA. The late C. Doris Hoshide, Class of 1934, established the teaching prize to recognize an outstanding professor in Asian American Studies. 

April 19, 2016

Congratulations to Professor Marjorie Kagawa-Singer of the Department of Asian American Studies and Community Health Sciences on her recent accomplishments:

• Receiving the 2014-15 recipient of the C. Doris and Toshio Hoshide Distinguished Teaching Prize in Asian American Studies at UCLA. The late C. Doris Hoshide, Class of 1934, established the teaching prize to recognize an outstanding professor in Asian American Studies. 
• Receiving the #1 "notice" on the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research at: http://obssr.od.nih.gov/index.aspx
The whole report can be view at: http://obssr.od.nih.gov/pdf/cultural_framework_for_health.pdf; a summary of the report can be found at:http://www.cossa.org/volume33/OperationalizingCulture.pdf.