Hunter College Asian American Studies Program Archive

Background

The Asian American Studies Program at Hunter College at the City University of New York was established in 1993 as the result of a student initiative. Founded by Peter Kwong, the program offers a minor in Asian American Studies and classes focusing on Asian and Asian American issues which cover such topics as Asian American literature, Asian American communities and mental health, Asian Americans and public policy, Asian Americans and education, Muslim diasporas, Asian Pacific American media, Asian American civil rights and law, and LGBTQ Asian America. The program also offers extracurricular programs and events including panel discussions, conferences, and film screenings. Most recently, AASP was involved in the 2012 National Asian American Education Advocates Summit, a program dedicated to advocating for Asian American youth. The current director of the program is Jennifer Hayashida, who has held this position since 2008, initially in a two-year acting capacity.  In fall 2016, Hunter College was awarded a five-year, $1.7 million grant from the Department of Education for the Hunter College AANAPISI Project (HCAP), which will support the development of an integrated ESL/AAS curriculum, offer enhanced curricular and co-curricular programming concerning APA mental health, and develop an APA student internship program.

The program went through a period of dormancy in the early 2000s, and since then has gone through cycles of activity and dormancy. In recent years the program has dealt with fears about its sustainability, with its inactive periods being largely the result of CUNY’s status as a commuter campus, lack of full-time faculty engaged in Asian American studies teaching and scholarship, and lack of leadership. The AASP archive preserves and documents these cycles, as well as the community engagement of the college’s Asian American student population through the years.

Collection

Survey conducted: Thursday, November 3, 2016

Size: Approximately 4 linear feet

Dates (inclusive): 1992-2015

Dates (bulk): 1993-2007

Location: 1338 Hunter College West, New York, NY

The earliest material in the AASP archives documents the period of the program’s founding and includes planning materials from 1992, the year before the program was established. The bulk of the material dates from the 1990s to the mid-2000s, with some material from recent years (2011-2015) which are comprised of flyers, posters, and other ephemera related to student activism.

Most of the older material consists of administrative papers and human resources files. The HR files measure approximately 1 linear foot and contain resumes, applications, and other documentation for former and current employees of the program. They date from 1994-2005.

The collection also contains about 1 linear foot of administrative material dating from 1992 to 2005. This includes correspondence, internal memos, Asian American Studies curriculum proposals, internship information, course listings from 1998-2005, student applications, grant proposals, registrator information, files related to Asian American Studies faculty and community boards, files from the City University of New York’s central administration, brochures explaining majors and minors, materials related to conferences such as the seminal East of California conference and the Asian American Writers Conference, and handbooks and guidebooks, including Hunter’s very first AASP handbook. Embedded within these files are three folders relating to the program’s founder, Peter Kwong, which include articles, inquiries, and travel information.

There is about half a linear foot of files from various community organizations, such as South Asian Youth Action, Urban Justice Center, Chinese Staff and Workers’ Association,  Korean Community Service of Metropolitan NYC, and Pan Asian Repertory, among others. There is also half a foot of course syllabi, old course files, and course readings from 1998-2013.

There is about 1 linear foot of various materials related to Hunter College students and campus student groups.  Materials included are event flyers, posters and advertisements from student groups, AASP student applications dating from 2007 onwards, and student papers.  This part of the collection includes a significant amount of material from CRAASH, the Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies at Hunter, which fought to keep the program running when it went through a period of uncertainty from 2007-8, and which remains active to this day and continues to fight for the program’s continued existence at the College.

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