Michael Ego receives SFF grant

Michael EgoProfessor Michael Ego has received a UConn Scholarship Facilitation Fund for his project, A Pilot Study: Measurement of Effectiveness of Baseball Reminiscence Program for Persons with Dementia in Cos Cob, CT.

An article in UConn Today entitled, “Talking Baseball Assists Aging Adults with Dementia” features Professor Michael Ego’s work on baseball reminiscence for adults with dementia.

Michael Ego op-ed: Showing remorse for Executive Order 9066

On April 12, 2017, The Stamford Advocate published the Op-Ed “Showing remorse for Executive Order 9066” by UConn professor Michael Ego. The article reflects of the exhibit entitled “Images of Internment: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II” at the FDR museum and library in Hyde Park, New York. 

Recently, I visited the Franklin D. Roosevelt Museum and Library for the first time – located in Hyde Park, New York.  I had been told that an exhibit describing the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was on display.

My first reaction to hearing this information was “I wonder how the museum was going to explain President Roosevelt’s decision to incarcerate 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry?”  On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 that forced all Japanese Americans on the West Coast out of their homes and livelihoods and moved to concentration camps in ten different locations throughout the United States.   Forty-one years later (1983), a Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians concluded that Executive Order 9066 was the result of “racial prejudice, wartime hysteria, and a failure of political leadership,” with the latter clearly pointing to President Roosevelt.

So, I walked into the Museum with trepidation and anxiety, knowing that my late father was one of those who were incarcerated – in prison without due process, a cornerstone of the Constitution of the United States.  I was anticipating a small exhibit that would not match prior exhibitions that I had attended at the Smithsonian in Washington, and several on the West Coast.  To my surprise, the exhibit area was extensive and occupied about one-third of the FDR Museum (the other areas being permanent displays of President Roosevelt’s historic life and achievements).

As I approached the “starting point” of the exhibition, I saw a picture of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.  In the photograph, Mrs. Roosevelt is standing and talking with several internees at the Gila River internment camp in Arizona.  The description of the photograph indicates that Mrs. Roosevelt had been opposed to Executive Order 9066, but could not convince her husband to think otherwise.   She wanted to demonstrate to the internees that she was empathetic to their situation, and thus she made the trip to Arizona.

Next to the photograph, there is a mounted placard.  It states that President Roosevelt’s decision to sign Executive Order 9066 was a judgment in error.   I assumed that this statement was made on behalf of the FDR Museum, which is operated by the Library Trustees.  I had to find out for sure.  I approached one of the docents and asked him.  He informed me that the Trustees felt it was an appropriate time to share with the American public the civil liberties that were violated during World War II, because of Executive Order 9066.

Underneath the placard, there is a book where visitors can offer comments about the exhibit.  I leafed through some of the pages, and several people wrote, “This cannot happen again.  We need to learn from the mistakes of the past.”  I wrote the following on an empty page:  “As the son of an internee, when my father first shared his story of the incarceration of him and his fellow Americans, I was incredulous.  What? Why?  Standing here today at the FDR Museum, I am very thankful for the museum publicly acknowledging the error made by President Roosevelt in 1942.  The educational opportunity this exhibit offers to visitors is priceless.  My father would be pleased the FDR Museum is sharing a period of history that must be understood by all Americans, and that there is dignity in showing remorse of a wrongdoing.”

The exhibit entitled, Images of Internment:  The Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, will continue at the FDR Museum until December 31.  The museum is about a 90-minute drive from Stamford.


Michael M. Ego is Professor of Human Development and Family Studies/Asian and Asian American Studies/History at the University of Connecticut, Stamford.  He teaches the course, Japanese Americans and World War II.

2017 Hira Jain Scholarships Awarded to Undergraduates FOTIMA and ZUKHRA PULATOVA and Graduate Student KOYEL KHAN

Asian/Asian American Studies Institute Awards $500 each to Undergraduate students FOTIMA PULATOVA and ZUKHRA PULATOVA and $1000 to Graduate student KOYEL KHAN as the Recipients of the 2017 HIRA JAIN SCHOLARSHIP

The Asian and Asian American Studies Institute in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is extraordinarily indebted to Dr. Hira and Mrs. Sunita Jain of Glastonbury, CT for their generosity in establishing the permanent endowment that funds this competitive scholarship, awarded since 2004.

Profiles of the Award Winners

Entry 58 in the KEYWORDS for Asian American Studies (NYU Press, 2015) elaborates on “transnationalism” as a term that is both prominently used and contested in the various disciplines that cover the social sciences, anthropology, sociology, international law, economics, feminist studies, and cultural studies. Encapsulating the ways goods, people and ideas move and resettle, the transnational paradigm “recognizes the intricate mapping of social experience across axes of time and space and allows for a broader understanding of the ways cultures and identities circulate both nationally and transnationally.”

FOTIMA and ZUKHRA PULATOVA are twin sisters who are each majoring in Molecular Cell Biology with identical dreams of becoming physicians in the United States. They are inspired by their grandmother who practiced medicine in an impoverished region of Uzbekistan and motivated by the sacrifices of their mother, from whom they were separated for seven years in order to immigrate to Brooklyn, NY after the economic and political upheavals in their home country following the collapse of the USSR. Not able to have her advanced degrees recognized in the US, Fotima and Zukhra’s mother took on low paying yet crucially needed jobs as a domestic worker.

Arriving in the US, the first order of business for Fotima and Zukhra was to learn the English language which both unequivocally say is more difficult than their native Uzbek, Russian, and Mandarin (having been sent to Northwest China to study when their grandmother became unable to continue to care for them). With supportive professors and classmates at Manchester Community College, they excelled in ESL and earned their Associates Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences before successfully transferring to UConn. Both express tremendous appreciation for the social support and academic preparation they received at MCC.

At the University of Connecticut, they are active members/participants of the Phi-Theta Kappa Honor Society, Alpha Mu Gamma Honor Society, American Medical Student Association, and the Asian American Cultural Center – all while maintaining GPAs above 3.55, receiving the Academic Support Center’s Student Achievement Award, and working part-time as caregivers for Euro-American Connections & Homecare to help pay for tuition. If at first they both experienced “transfer shock” in the large and impersonal classes at the university, they are now eager to engage their fellow students about their Central Asian experiences and culture – even as they carefully negotiate what is possible.

“Everybody smiles here … we were discouraged from smiling for no particular reason. UConn students are very positive, free and open with opinions … opinions were also discouraged before we came here. Here, we can disagree … we are not afraid to share.”

There is absolutely no doubt Fotima and Zukhra Pulatova will each work diligently to realize their respective dreams to practice medicine; they will doubtless also share the credit for their achievements with their mother. We wish them all the best, wherever fate and opportunity take them.

KOYEL KHAN is a doctoral candidate in the department of Sociology who is in the process of collecting data by conducting ethnographic interviews in Kolkata, India and New York City for her dissertation, tentatively titled “Between Nationalism and Neoliberal Globalization: The Practices of Indian Classical Dance” that is a transnational and interdisciplinary analysis of the factors that shape cultural consumption, production and practice. Historically used to reinforce difference and superiority in the struggle against British colonialism and currently signifies being cultured and authentically Indian, she will specifically investigate how people associate with these cultural practices in different geopolitical settings and how that relates to their ethnic identity in our contemporary global era.

And indicative of future success as a research scholar, Koyel is already co-author of a book chapter with UConn Prof. Bandana Purkayastha and UConn alumna Shweta M. Adur that analyzes the cultural performances of second-generation Indian/South Asian Americans.

Ms. Khan is also already a highly-regarded instructor, winning her department’s Outstanding Graduate Teaching award in 2016 and achieving impressive teaching evaluations for challenging courses that cover race and racism, gender and sexuality, human rights, social construction of deviance, and developing societies from a critical transnational perspective.

As a letter supporting her application attests, teaching these subjects “can pose extraordinary burdens for instructors who are perceived to be different … female, young, non-white … get lower evaluation scores … [And] these ‘intangible’ factors lead to an uneven teaching terrain for instructors like Koyel. [So] when she gets high scores, as she consistently does, she has navigated a much rockier road to achieve those levels than most of her peers.”

When there is spare time, Koyel’s commitment to making the academy more inclusive and communities more socially just is demonstrated by her active participation in TARANG, UConn’s South Asian cultural organization organizing performances at Yale and Stamford Public Library; summer teaching in the Center for Academic Programs (SSS), which prepares first generation college students; and serving “with courage and integrity” on the Graduate Program Committee, where she brings together US and international students of color to create opportunities to help close the gap between privilege and marginalization. Koyel Khan is a true asset to UConn and we are delighted to announce she has been selected for this well-deserved distinction.

Please join us in heartily congratulating FOTIMA PULATOVA, ZUKHRA PULATOVA and KOYEL KHAN as the 2017 Hira Jain Scholarship award winners.

About the Hira Jain Scholarship

The Hira Jain Scholarship recognizes academically outstanding undergraduate or graduate students enrolled full time at the University of Connecticut. Applicants for the scholarship may, but are not required to demonstrate financial need. The Institute administers the scholarship and invites applications every other year (biennial). Awards have ranged from $1000 to $2500, and announced before the close of the spring semester it is awarded.

Contact Ms. Fe Delos-Santos for eligibility questions and application forms.
Profiles and Photos by Fe Delos-Santos for the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute / CLAS

Seeking 2017 Hira Jain Scholarship Applicants

The Asian and Asian American Studies Institute in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Announces its 2017 Call for Applications to the Hira Jain Scholarship


AAASI is extraordinarily indebted to Dr. Hira and Mrs. Sunita Jain of Glastonbury, CT for their generosity in establishing the permanent endowment that funds this competitive scholarship, awarded since 2004.

There will be two awards: $1000 each to the successful undergraduate and $1000 to the successful graduate student.

The Hira Jain Scholarship recognizes academically outstanding undergraduate or graduate students enrolled full time at the University of Connecticut. Applicants for the scholarship may, but are not required to demonstrate financial need. The Institute administers the scholarship and invites applications every other year (biennial). Awards have ranged from $1000 to $2500, and announced before the close of the spring semester it is awarded.

2015 Hira Jain Scholar Profile / Sonny Caplash (undergraduate)

ARPITA BISWAS (graduate) / Hira Jain Scholar Profile

AAASI Faculty Fred Lee and Cathy Schlund-Vials to Participate in Asian American Politics Panel

With just 4 weeks to go before Americans vote on the next president of the United States, Prof. Janelle Wong of the University of Maryland and author of a book on Asian American political participation, will keynote “Race and the Future of Asian American Politics” on Tuesday, October 11 at 6:00pm in Gentry 131. Wong is a co-principal investigator of the 2016 National Asian American Survey and is currently researching the growing numbers of Latino and Asian evangelicals and their role in U.S. politics.

Co-sponsored with the Asian American Cultural Center, this event opens the annual Asian American Heritage Observance at the University of Connecticut. The panel that consists of UConn’s Fred Lee, Assistant Prof. in Political Science and Asian American Studies, community activist Arlene Avery, and legislative analyst Alok Bhatt, will be moderated by AAASI director Cathy Schlund-Vials.

“… What we see is more of a halfhearted, largely symbolic attempt to reach out [to Asian Americans and Latinos] …

Although Asian Americans have been touted as a growing force in American politics, with the number of voters expected to double by 2040, in a recent interview conducted by Nicole Chung, Professor Wong said, however, that “… What we see is more of a halfhearted, largely symbolic attempt to reach out [to Asian Americans and Latinos] … Another potential factor is Asian Americans’ lack of strong political affiliation. Even though APIA voters have been trending heavily Democratic … they are more likely to say they’re unaffiliated/independent. Parties do want to go after undecideds, but I think some are afraid to go after Asian Americans because they aren’t sure if they’ll vote their way.”

In a related post by AAASI Affiliated Faculty Carolyn Lin that is published in UConn Today, she focuses her contribution in analyzing this presidential election on the voter’s “cognitive budget” that works with our individual psychological “map” in helping to guide how we might respond to campaign messages, all manner of political media, and casual conversations with other potential voters. Professor Lin also differentiates between whether an individual is a “low” or “high” involvement voter.

Low-involvement voters tend to process more superficial peripheral cues such as emotional appeals, slogans, personality, and image of a political candidate without investing the mental effort necessary to better understand the arguments or policies presented by the candidate.

High-involvement voters tend to process more substantive content cues, such as a candidate’s knowledge, qualifications, experience, and rational appeals by investing the necessary mental effort to understand the arguments or policies of a candidate.

Tonight’s event is free and open to the public. Please contact ASACC@uconn.edu or (860) 486-0830 if you are an individual with a disability requiring accommodations.

AAASI Announces 2016 Publications for Affiliate Faculty SHAREEN HERTEL

The Asian/Asian American Studies Institute is pleased to announce several publications for Affiliate Faculty Shareen Hertel, with topics that range from implementing the right to food in India and South Africa to re-framing human rights advocacy.

AAASI Affiliate Faculty SHAREEN HERTELShareen Hertel  is Associate Professor of Political Science and the Human Rights Institute, UConn – Storrs. Her research focuses on changes in transnational human rights advocacy, with a focus on labor and economic rights issues. A consultant to foundations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and United Nations agencies in the United States, Latin America and South Asia, she has conducted fieldwork in factory zones along the US-Mexico border, in Bangladesh’s garment manufacturing export sector, among NGO networks in India, and in the multilateral trade arena. Hertel is editor of The Journal of Human Rights, serves on the editorial boards of Human Rights Review as well as Human Rights and Human Welfare, and is co-editor of the International Studies Intensives book series of Paradigm Publishers.

In 2016, the following publications are either in print or are soon forthcoming: Shareen Hertel, Corinne Tagliarina, and Catherine Buerger. “Cheap Talk on Food: Party Politics in India and the challenge of implementing the right to food,” Human Rights Quarterly (forthcoming); Shareen Hertel, “A New Route to Norms Evolution: Insights from India,” Social Movement Studies 15, 6 (2016) – forthcoming; Shareen Hertel and Allison MacKay, “Engineering and Human Rights: Teaching Across the Divide,” Business and Human Rights Journal 1, 1 (January 2016): 159-164; Shareen Hertel, “Re-Framing Human Rights Advocacy: The Rise of Economic Rights,” in Human Rights Futures, Jack Snyder, Leslie Vinjamuri, and Stephen Hopgood, eds. (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming); Shareen Hertel, “Forging Alternative Routes to Norms Change: Economic Rights Protagonists,” in Expanding Human Rights: 21st Century Norms and Governance, Alison Brysk, and Michael Stohl, eds. (Edward Elgar Publishing, forthcoming); Shareen Hertel, “Right to Food Advocacy in India: Possibilities, Limitations, and Lessons Learned,” in Food Security in South Africa: Human Rights & Entitlement Perspectives, Viviene Taylor and Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, eds. (Cape Town, South Africa: University of Cape Town Press, 2016), 210-226; and Susan Randolph and Shareen Hertel, “The Right to Food: A Global Perspective,” in Food Security in South Africa: Human Rights & Entitlement Perspectives, Viviene Taylor and Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, eds. (Cape Town, South Africa: University of Cape Town Press, 2016). Reprinted with permission from Cambridge University Press, 25-52.

UConn Stamford Campus Director TERRENCE CHENG Joins AAAS Institute

The Asian/Asian American Studies Institute is pleased to announce that UConn Stamford Campus Director and Professor of English Terrence Cheng is an Affiliate Faculty member.

UConn Stamford Campus Director / AAASI Affiliate FacultyAuthor of two novels Sons of Heaven, 2002 and Deep in the Mountains, 2007, Terrence Cheng received his BA in English from Binghamton University (State University of New York), and his MFA in Fiction from the University of Miami, FL, where he was a James Michener Fellow. His short stories and essays have appeared in Glimmertrain, Nimrod, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Georgetown Review, and other journals and collections. In 2005 he received a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Prior to his appointment at the University of Connecticut, Professor Cheng also held senior administrative positions at Lehman College and Brooklyn College, both part of the City University of New York.

Email Terrence.Cheng@uconn.edu

Terrence Cheng CV

New Core Faculty ALEXUS McLEOD Starting Fall 2016 Semester

New Core Faculty Alexus McLeodPlease welcome Alexus McLeod as a member of the Asian/Asian American Studies Institute’s core faculty. He returns to the University of Connecticut as Assistant Professor in Philosophy and Asian/Asian American Studies, and will teach Classical Chinese Philosophy and Culture (AASI 3998 – section 6 / PHIL 3264) that is scheduled to meet MWF 1:25pm -2:15pm.

Professor McLeod specializes in Early Chinese Philosophy and Comparative Philosophy, and his research interests include Indian Philosophy, Mesoamerican (Maya) Philosophy, Philosophy of Language, Metaphysics, Ethics, and History and Philosophy of Science.

His most recent book is a monograph forthcoming with Lexington Books: Philosophy of the Ancient Maya: Lords of Time, a comparative work on Pre-Columbian Maya Philosophy and Early Chinese Philosophy. His other books include: another monograph, Theories of Truth in Chinese Philosophy: A Comparative Approach (Rowman and Littlefield International, 2015), on the concept of truth in early Chinese thought from the Analects through the philosophers of the Eastern Han period; an introductory textbook, Understanding Asian Philosophy: Ethics in the Analects, Zhuangzi, Dhammapada, and Bhagavad Gita (Bloomsbury, 2014), in which he focuses on self-cultivation, right action, and thriving in the Chinese and Indian philosophical traditions; and Astronomy in the Ancient World: Early and Modern Views of Celestial Events (Springer, 2016), which discusses philosophical presuppositions of astronomical systems in the pre-modern world in China, India, the Americas, and Europe.

He is currently in the process of finishing two books, a monograph on the Eastern Han Dynasty Philosopher Wang Chong, and a monograph based roughly on his dissertation, on the issues of individual and communal agency and moral responsibility in early Confucianism and Daoism. He is also editor of the forthcoming volume Bloomsbury Research Handbook in Early Chinese Ethics and Political Philosophy (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2017). And, with Joshua Brown (University of Dayton) he is working on a monograph on the issue of transcendence and naturalism in early Chinese thought.

Alexus McLeod has published numerous articles in Philosophy East and West, Dao: A Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy, International Communication of Chinese Culture, and in other journals and books. He is the series editor of the Critical Inquiries in Comparative Philosophy book series (Rowman and Littlefield International), which publishes volumes in Chinese and Indian Philosophy as well as Comparative Philosophy more generally. He served on the organizing committee of the 2013 Midwest Conference on Chinese Thought, hosted in Dayton, where Dr. McLeod spent 5 years following completion of his doctoral studies under Joel Kupperman (Emeritus, UConn – Philosophy).

2016 FRED HO PRIZE Winners

The Asian/Asian American Studies Institute and Asian American Cultural Center Announce the 2016 FRED HO PRIZE Winners

  • Ziael Aponte, First Prize and $250 for digital illustration “Music Makes a World”
  • Kimberly Vetel, Second Prize and $150 for screen print on fabric/sewing “Vest”
  • Bryan Guerra, Third Prize and $75 for Fillmore-style poster “Revolutionary Art”

This year’s competition resulted in 27 artworks that showcased an impressive variety of materials and approaches that underscore the creativity and political and cultural force that Fred Ho’s legacy continues to inspire. This year’s competition also recognizes Heng Zhang for Honorable Mention.

2016 Fred Ho Prize Gallery of Winning Entries

The 2016 competition acknowledges Visiting Associate Professor in Art and Art History Rossitza Skortcheva Donesky for guiding the student-participants through the challenge of primary research in the Fred Ho Collection, with support from the Dodd Center’s Curator for Multimedia Collections Kristin Eshelman.

The Asian and Asian American Studies Institute and the Asian American Cultural Center sponsored the exhibition of all of the artwork submitted for the competition that opened in the Student Union Art Gallery (Room 310) with a reception on April 4, 2016.

About the Fred Ho Prize in Asian American History and Culture

Awarded every other year by the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute since 1999, the Fred Ho Prize encourages all University of Connecticut undergraduates, regardless of major, semester standing or enrollment in Asian American Studies courses, to submit a project based on primary research conducted in the Fred Ho Special Collection at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. The total amount of the biennial prize is usually $500. The winner is announced at the close of Spring Semester.

The Fred Ho Prize was last awarded as part of a posthumous tribute to the late Fred Ho, whose courageous battle with terminal colon cancer ended on April 12, 2014. Contact the Asian/Asian American Studies Institute for more information about the Fred Ho Prize for students and the Fred Ho Fellowship for faculty and independent researchers.

Assistant Prof. of Political Science and Asian/Asian American Studies FRED LEE Joins AAASI Core Faculty

The Asian and Asian American Studies Institute is pleased to announce that Fred Lee (PhD, UCLA) has joined the Institute as a member of its Core Faculty

Assistant Professor Lee holds a joint appointment in the Department of Political Science and Asian/Asian American Studies. His research interests include modern to contemporary political theory, comparative ethnic studies, and U.S. political development. On February 17 at 12:30pm Lee will give a talk for the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute in which he addresses “The Power of Judgment in U.S. Racial Empowerment Movements” in light of Hannah Arendt’s understanding of judgment that appeals to a common sense of the world and guides this exploration of how specific black, Asian, and Amerindian activists decided upon their affiliations, conflicts, and demands.

Prior to his arrival at UConn in 2013, Dr. Lee taught at the Claremont Colleges and held a Consortium for Faculty Diversity Fellowship at Denison University.

His current book project, The Racial Politics of the Extraordinary: Four Events in the Informal Constitution of the United States, aims to recover the extraordinary dimension of U.S. racial politics from the interdisciplinary standpoints of political theory and ethnic studies. Extraordinary politics are intense conflicts and crises that occur and are resolved outside of the channels of the routinized political process; racialized events of this variety, Lee claims, have the power to disrupt existing social terrains and historical trajectories as well as establish new ones for ordinary, institutionalized racial politics. The book identifies four cases of extraordinary racial politics in United States history: mid-19th c. Indian removals of southeastern Amerindians, the Japanese Internment of World War II, the civil rights movement, and selected late 20th c. racial power movements (Asian American, black power, and red power movements).

Lee also has an interest in establishing new connections and conjunctures between political theory and cultural studies. His essay on representing the Thomas Jefferson-Sally Hemmings relationship, “The Jefferson-Hemings Relationship Reconsidered,” was published in Political Research Quarterly. A forthcoming essay on Michael Kang’s film The Motel, “Fantasies of Asian American Kinship Disrupted,” will appear in Critical Philosophy of Race. He and Steven Manicastri are also co-authoring an essay on Joon-Ho Bong’s film Snowpiercer, which the authors claim is an allegory of decolonization in the vein of Frantz Fanon.

His second book project will deal with the challenges that contemporary transpacific cinema has faced in representing extraordinary politics and other kinds of radical transformations, especially after the exhaustion and/or collapse of various socialist and nationalist revolutionary projects.

Lee’s courses at the University of Connecticut are centered on social and political philosophy as well as critical and critical race theory. He teaches an Introduction to Political Theory, Modern Political Theory (17th-19th c.), Contemporary Political Theory (20th-21st century), Critical Race Theory, and a graduate seminar on Critical Theory.