Forum 4


A Verge on the Road project

Tina Chen, Professor of English and Asian American Studies; Editor, Verge: Studies in Global Asias


Asian American Studies often exists at the margins—of institutions and programs, but also of disciplines and intellectual community. This forum will focus on the importance of transforming the conditions for the cultivation of Asian American Studies, its scholars and its scholarship, at institutions that continue to practice curricular diversity via minimal inclusion. Minimal inclusion manifests differently at different institutions, ranging from hiring a single scholar to work in the field to creating minors by virtue of credit hours instead of field integrity to ensuring precarious programmatic survival as the status quo.


In other words, the institutional embrace of subsistence, the maintenance of existence at a minimal level, as a model for diversifying curricula and community must be countered by an alternative vision. Despite a lack of resources, it is incumbent on Asian Americanists to imagine into possibility our own flourishing. Working in isolation and often without the support of programs and colleagues within our institutions, it is still possible to develop critical resources that make flourishing possible by cultivating extra-institutional and trans-institutional collaboration. Focusing on two issues—mentorship and publication—we will consider how East of California and Verge: Studies in Global Asias were created outside of traditional models of institutionalization and program building and how they operate to facilitate such collaboration. 


The forum aims to help participants identify the ways in which looking outside of their own institutions might help create new conditions of professional possibility and support.



  • How does minimal inclusion operate at your institution?
  • What are the specific resources (including but not limited to the financial) that minimal inclusion prevents you from accessing?
  • What kinds of community and mentorship would make a difference in your ability to move beyond existence to flourishing?