One of the best kept secrets about Texas is that it is home to the third largest population of Asian Pacific Americans—even more than Hawaii. To celebrate and explore the history and culture of Asian Texans, the Center for Asian American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin is hosting the annual Asian American Studies conference April 7-10, 2010 at the Austin Omni Hotel Downtown (700 San Jacinto St.).
When the 1965 Immigration Act opened America’s doors to immigrants from around the world, Asians have settled all across the United States, away from established ethnic communities on the east and west coasts, to establish homes and communities in places like the south and the Midwest. The conference theme “Emergent Cartographies: Asian American Studies in the Twenty-first Century” seeks to evoke the richness and variety of these newer immigrant experiences.
Asian have a long history in Texas that includes nineteenth-century Chinese railroad builders and sharecroppers entering through El Paso, turn-of-the-twentieth-century Japanese farming rice near Houston, and the Chinese grocers and restauranteurs of San Antonio who accompanied General Pershing from Mexico in 1917. Today, Vietnamese are the most numerous and visible Asian Texan community who have made their mark as fishermen, noodle shop and store-owners, nail saloonkeepers, realtors, and the Dallas Cowboy Dat Nguyen. Asian Indians, Chinese, and Filipinos are the next largest populations with many clustering in fields such as engineering, computer science, medicine and nursing, and small businesses. Two Asian Texans serve in the Texas House of Representatives—Angie Chen Button of Dallas and Hubert Vo of Houston.
The Center for Asian American Studies was founded in 2000 in recognition of this growing population and its influence in shaping the fabric of Texas history and life. The Center seeks to build awareness and greater knowledge of Asian Pacific American experiences through classes, a major and minor program, conferences, events, film screenings, and outreach to local communities and organizations.
The Association for Asian American Studies annual conference will feature two free sessions that are open to the public. At 1-2:30, Friday, April 9, the panel “The UT-10: Student Activism and Ethnic Studies” featuring many of the student protesters who were instrumental in founding the Center for Asian American Studies (on UT campus, UNB 3.304). At 2:45-4:15, Saturday, April 10, the plenary “Activism and Asian American Studies” explores the role of activists in forcing universities to establish ethic studies programs (Omni Longhorn Room). For a daily registration fee, attendees may join panels addressing Asian Americans and religion, transnational adoptions, Vietnamese and South Asian American experiences, Asian American art and literature, ethnic foods, and much more! For more information about the Asian American Studies conference, please visit http://aaastudies.org/2010/index.php.
To learn more about Asian American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, please visit http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/aas/ or contact the Center for Asian American Studies at 512-232-6427 or firstname.lastname@example.org.