Students Rising Above: Emily Taing

Check out CBS Bay Area’s profile of one of our amazing alumni, Emily Taing! Students Rising Above: Emily Taing

Paul Nadal

Paul Nadal (M.A. ’05) accepts a tenure-track assistant professor position in Asian American literature and culture at Princeton University

Paul “PJ” Nadal (M.A. ’07) has accepted a tenure-track assistant professor position in Asian American literature and culture at Princeton University, a joint-appointment in the Department of English and Program in American Studies. Nadal completed his M.A. in Asian American Studies at UCLA, under the direction of Professors Jinqi Ling and King-Kok Cheung, before pursuing his Ph.D. in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently an Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow in American Studies at Wellesley College, where he is working on his book manuscript, entitled “Remittance Fiction: Human Labor Export, Realism, and the Filipino Novel in English.”

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Congratulations to Asian American Studies alumnus Jennifer Tseng on her new novel, Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness

Congratulations to Asian American Studies alumnus Jennifer Tseng on her new novel, Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness.

Forty-one years old, disenchanted wife and dutiful mother, Mayumi is a librarian on an island off the coast of New England. Her most erotic pleasure is in reading. That is, until the day she issues a library card to a shy seventeen-year-old boy who captivates her in a way that no one else ever has. She is hesitant at first, conscious of their age difference, the power differential, and the questionable morality (and legality) of acting on her feelings. But her attraction soon turns to obsession, and after a season of overlong glances and nervous conversation in the library, Mayumi quietly propositions the boy, who reciprocates. They quietly begin a passionate affair that changes the way Mayumi sees her entire life—and herself.

Exquisitely written and compulsively readable, Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness is equal parts wry confession and serious meditation. At its most anxious it’s a book about time; at its most ecstatic it’s a deeply human story about passion and pleasure, book love and physical infatuation.

Jennifer’s first book The Man With My Face won the 2005 Asian American Writers’ Workshop National Poetry Manuscript Competition and a 2006 PEN American Center Open Book Award. Her second book Red Flower, White Flower, winner of the Marick Press Poetry Prize, features Chinese translations by Mengying Han and Aaron Crippen. Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness is her debut novel. She is the Jack Kerouac Writer-in-Residence at University of Massachusetts, Lowell.



Congratulations Tiffany Lytle (MA ’17): Album Release

Tiffany Lytle’s debut LP “Cambodian Child” centers Cambodian American perspectives and experiences of imperialism, refugeeism, Asian American experience, mixed-race identity, and heart break. Featuring an all-star band, “Cambodian Child” mixes Khmer/ English language, Cambodian music styles, and pop to create a provocative sound fueled by powerful content speaking to today’s political climate. Lytle’s sounds and lyrics are depthful and weighty, embodying Cambodian Americans’ lasting creativity and resilience.

To view a sneak peek at the upcoming documentary that accompanies Cambodian Child visit:

To donate funding to help aid with the continuation of Tiffany’s project, please visit:

Like Cambodian Child on Facebook!

“We” can be found on all music platforms, including iTunes and Spotify.

Art work created by Jillian Shundo (Jill of All Trades Design)

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Alice Y. Hom chosen as Soros Equity Fellows

Join us in congratulating Alice Hom in receiving a Soros Equality Fellowship, a new initiative to help emerging mid-career professionals become long-term innovative leaders in the field of racial justice.

Hom received a BA from Yale, an MA in Asian American studies from UCLA, and has a PhD in history from Claremont Graduate University.

Learn more about Alice Hom’s work for the upcoming year:

Learn more about the Open Society Foundations 2017 Soros Equality Fellows:


The Open Society Foundations are pleased to announce the recipients of the Soros Equality Fellowship, a new initiative to help emerging mid-career professionals become long-term innovative leaders in the field of racial justice.

The seven fellows, chosen from over 1,000 applicants representing a diverse array of professions—from the arts and advocacy to journalism and documentary filmmaking—will work on a wide variety of ways to advance racial justice: documenting the oral histories of queer and trans people of color; tackling structural racism in the food supply; chronicling how slavery helped build a major modern institution of higher learning; and creating an ad campaign to take on distortions in America’s contemporary racial narrative.

The program is intended to help incubate innovators and risk-takers striving to create and develop new ways of addressing the challenges of racial disparity and discrimination in the United States. Beyond nurturing their specific projects, the program seeks to promote leadership development training, networking and other professional support aimed at building a pipeline connecting the energy and ideas of youth with the wisdom and influence of experience.

“We are living in a time of enormous challenge, when forces peddling fear and hate are pushing ever harder to normalize xenophobia and racism,” said Leslie Gross-Davis, director of the Equality team within U.S. Programs at the Open Society Foundations, who launched the initiative. “While the magnitude of the challenge is daunting, the inaugural class of Soros Equality Fellows gives me hope for the future. Their energy, creativity, and determination to tackle even the longest odds are an inspiration. The Open Society Foundations is honored to have the opportunity to support this amazing cohort of next-generation racial justice leaders.”

The 2017 Soros Equality Fellows will receive stipends ranging from $80,000 to $100,000 to support projects over the course of 12 to 18 months.

Tad Nakamura and Michael B. Jordan

Tad Nakamura

Congratulations to Asian American Studies alumnus Tad Nakamura on winning the Audience Award for his film, “Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings”, at the 2013 Gotham Independent Film Awards ceremony!

“Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings” is a compelling portrayal of an inspiring and innovative Japanese American musician, whose virtuoso skills on the ukulele have transformed all previous notions of the instrument’s potential. Through intimate conversations with Shimabukuro (she-ma-BOO-koo-row), “Life on Four Strings” reveals the cultural and personal influences that have shaped the man and the artist. Covering tours from Los Angeles through New York to Japan, the film captures the musician’s solitary life on the road: the exhilaration of his performance, the wonder of his newfound fame, the loneliness of his separation from home and family.

A few years ago, the Los Angeles-based filmmaker Tadashi Nakamura was named one of CNN’s “Young People Who Rock” for being the youngest filmmaker at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival as well as one of the “30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30” by the popular website Angry Asian Man.  Now at 33 years old, the fourth-generation Japanese American has completed his first full-length documentary – on internationally acclaimed ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro – which was broadcasted nationally on PBS in May, 2013.

Nakamura’s trilogy of documentary films on the Japanese American experience, “Yellow Brotherhood” (2003), “Pilgrimage” (2007), and “A Song for Ourselves” (2009) have garnered over 20 awards at film festivals around the world with “Pilgrimage” being one of 83 short films selected out of 7,500 submissions for the 2008 Sundance Film Festival competition.  Film scholar B. Ruby Rich remarked, “Nakamura takes the joy of activism and makes it downright contagious!”

For information on Tad’s film, “Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings”, please click here.