view more lecturers

Kelly Fong

Continuing Lecturer

Areas of Interest:



Rolfe Hall 3321


Dr. Kelly Fong (she/her) holds a Ph.D. in archaeology from UCLA with a graduate concentration in Asian American Studies. Her interdisciplinary work bridges her interest in Asian American social histories, community-based histories, and historical archaeology to examine everyday life through materials and memories left behind. Dr. Fong is involved with several research projects. In Isleton, Chinatown, she utilizes archaeological methods, material culture, and oral histories to explore everyday experiences during Exclusion in this Sacramento Delta community. Her work in Isleton has been featured in the Asian Americana podcast and the HBO series “Take Out with Lisa Ling” (2022). Dr. Fong is also the project co-lead for Five Chinatowns, a community place-based history project with the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California that documents five different Chinese American communities in Los Angeles city between 1882 and 1965. Drawing from archival sources and oral histories, Five Chinatowns is a multigenerational public history project that has involved training several cohorts of high school and college student interns in community-based oral history research. Finally, Dr. Fong is part of the research team examining Chinese American diasporic networks through 20th century restaurant ceramics distributed by F.S. Louie Company, a Berkeley-based wholesaler that supplied ceramics to many Chinese restaurants across the US.

Over the past decade, Dr. Fong has taught in Asian American Studies, history, and anthropology at multiple universities in Southern California. In addition to teaching in AASD at UCLA, she regularly teaches with the UCLA GE Cluster 20 (Race and Indigeneity) teaching team. Her approach to teaching draws from Ethnic Studies pedagogy and seeks to inspire students to make critical connections between what they are learning in the classroom to themselves, and to apply this knowledge to make a difference in their communities. To foster this pedagogical approach, Dr. Fong designs creative projects for her courses that engage learners and challenge them to apply their knowledge in different formats, including creating community newspapers inspired by Gidra, developing a community cookbook, and authoring a “People’s Guide” to Chinatown. In 2022, Dr. Fong was the first lecturer to receive the UCLA Asian American Studies Center’s C. Doris and Toshio Hoshide Distinguished Teaching Prize in Asian American Studies.

In addition to teaching for AASD, Dr. Fong is project co-director for the UCLA Asian American Studies Center’s Foundations and Futures: Asian American and Pacific Islander Multimedia Textbook. This narrative change project seeks to bring Asian American Studies to high school and college classrooms across the US and is scheduled to launch mid-2025.

Dr. Fong has also been active in advocating for institutional change and increased diversity within archaeology. She is a member of the Society for California Archaeology’s Coalition for Diversity in California Archaeology (CDCA) and she serves as co-taskforce lead for Asian American Pacific Islander archaeologists within the Coalition. Her work with CDCA has included pushing the Society for California Archaeology to commit to anti-racism training, developing an equity statement, and openly recognizing the need to address institutional inequities in the field.


Ph.D., Archaeology, UCLA
MA, Archaeology, UCLA
BA, Anthropology, UC Berkeley

Research Interests

Chinese American/Diaspora archaeologies, Asian American community histories, social history, material culture, Asian American foodways


Fong, Kelly N. “Conditional but Essential Contingency.” 2024. Conditionally Accepted: Navigating Higher Education from the Margins, edited by Eric Joy Denise and Bertin Louis, Jr., University of Texas Press.

Vo Dang, Thuy, Karen Umemoto, and Kelly Fong. 2023. “Foundations and Futures: Imagining Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies in Every Home.” Journal of Asian American Studies, 26(2): 255-264.

Fong, Kelly N., Laura W. Ng, Jocelyn Lee, Veronica L. Peterson, and Barbara L. Voss. 2022. “Race and Racism in Archaeologies of Chinese American Communities.” Annual Review of Anthropology, Volume 51.

Fong, Kelly. 2022. “West Coast Agriculture. “The American Mosaic: The Asian American Experience, ABC-CLIO, 2022,

Fong, Kelly N., Elyse Izumi and Angel Trazo. 2021. “Pandemic Pedagogy: Lessons Learned Teaching Asian American Studies in Spring 2020.” Amerasia Journal, 46(3): 297-314.

Wilkie, Laurie, Katrina Eichner, Kelly Fong, David Hyde, Alyssa Scott, and Annelise Morris. 2021. “The Materiality of Exclusion in Life and Death—Chinese American Paper Sons and Daughters” in “Bodily Objects,” 184-186. In A Cultural History of Objects in the Modern Age, edited by Laurie Wilkie and John Chenoweth. London: Bloomsbury, 173-202.

Fong, Kelly N. 2020. “Towards Engaged and Critical Archaeologies of the Chinese Diaspora.” In Chinese Diaspora Archaeology in North America, edited by Chelsea E. Rose and J. Ryan Kennedy. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 59-82.

Fong, Kelly N. 2017. “Excavating Chinese America in the Sacramento Delta,” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History. Oxford University Press.

Fong, Kelly and Clement Lai. 2015. “Lessons from Ethnic Studies: collaborative directions for Asian American historical archaeology.” In The Oxford Handbook of Historical Archaeology, edited by James Symonds and Vesa-Pekka Herva. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fong, Kelly. 2008. “Nineteenth Century Oakland Chinese Businesses.” Chinese America: History and Perspectives 2008. 22: 69-90.


  • 2022 C. Doris and Toshio Hoshide Distinguished Teaching Prize in Asian American Studies
  • UCLA Dissertation Year Fellowship
  • National Park Service, Pacific Western Regional Office Scholarship
  • David and Pearl Louie Family Foundation/Chinese Historical Society of Southern California Scholarship
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow
  • Jacob K. Javits Foundation Fellow
  • UCLA Eugene Cota Robles Fellowship
  • UC Berkeley Anthropology Theodore D. McCown Prize

Kelly Fong