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Asian American Studies

Set in the richly diverse Central San Joaquin Valley, Fresno’s population of about 500,000 is 13% Asian American and Pacific Islander, with significant presence of people with Hmong, Asian Indian, Filipino, Laotian, Japanese, Chinese, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Korean, Native Hawaiian, Samoan and Guamanian heritage. The Central Valley has played a crucial role in the history of immigration from Asia to the United States, including the arrival of people from South Asia to work in agriculture and, later, people displaced by the wars in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

The Asian American Studies Program has a four decade history in the Department of Anthropology, and is a valued part of the Department and University. The Fresno State student body is over 15% Asian American and Pacific Islander and our AAPI students lead many vibrant and active student organizations, including the Hmong Student Association, Lao Student Association, Magkaisa Fresno State, and Amerasia (a pan-Asian American organization). Every spring, Amerasia hosts Amerasia Week to highlight the history and culture of Asian peoples in the Central Valley and Fresno. The campus newspaper, The Collegian, publishes the Asia Pacific Review, a periodic showcase of Asian American student authors and news.

Fresno State is actively engaged in efforts to ensure the success of students from all backgrounds, and participates in the CSU system’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Initiative.

Major and Minor in Asian American Studies Requirements

The Asian American Studies Program offers a minor with classes that focus upon the history and contemporary experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. These courses explore themes in local and ethnic history, trans-Pacific contact, cultural change and adaptation, and interethnic relations. Courses in Asian American Studies familiarized students with the historical, socioeconomic, and cultural adaptations that peoples from Asia make when coming to the United States. Students can also use the "Special Major" option to design a degree in Asian American Studies. Students work directly with the Co-Coordinators of the Program, and an Academic Advisor in another field to design a combination of classes that help students to successfully complete their "Special Major."

A strong background in ethnic studies is a significant advantage in many occupational fields, especially in an increasingly multicultural society. The Asian American Studies minor complements any major dealing with human behavior, including business, social science, education, international relations, and the human and health services professions.

Asian American Studies Minor 

Category I: Select from ASAM 15, ANTH 2, AFRS 1 (6 units)

Category II: Select from  ASAM 110, ASAM 138, ASAM 140, ASAM 180T  (6 units)

Category III: Select from  ASAM 151W, ANTH 123, ANTH 124, ANTH 125, AFRS 10 (6 units)

Total (18 units)

Note: The minor also requires a 2.0 GPA and 6 upper-division units in residence.

Center for Southeast Asian Studies

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies at California State University, Fresno was established in the Spring of 1995. The Center is a multi-disciplinary unit designed to help foster a greater awareness of Southeast Asia and Southeast Asian American experience on campus. The Southeast Asian people in the Valley, in particular people from Laos, are one of the fastest growing communities, and yet they are the least understood cultural groups in the region. The Center helps to build a bridge of understanding between these different groups and other communities in the Central Valley and Fresno. The Center's scholarly activities bring appreciation and respect for Southeast Asia to the campus community, as well as contribute to the empowerment of the Southeast Asian students.

The development of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies has been ranked a priority in the agenda of the University future plan.

Certificate in Southeast Asian Studies

The Certificate of Southeast Asian Studies requires a minimum of 12 units. Select from the following upper-division courses:

ANTH 123, 190; ASAM 110, 138, 140, 190; GEOG 177T; HMONG 100, 101; LING 190; SWRK 181.

The Certificate in Southeast Asian Studies focuses on the cultures and peoples of Southeast Asia, and on their communities in the United States.

For further information, contact Co-Coordinators Dr. Jenny Banh (jenbanh@csufresno.edu) or Dr. Davorn Sisavath (davorn@csufresno.edu).