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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.


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.

April 15 Stephen Chan Keynote at the Benton Museum

Opening the Bodies Living Through Violence Conference/Academic Workshop, Professor of International Relations STEPHEN CHAN will give the Keynote Address on Friday, April 15 at 6PM at the Benton Museum. The workshop will take place the following day in the Student Union of the University of Connecticut – Storrs Campus.



Stephen Chan image for Keynote at UConnStephen Chan was awarded an OBE for “services to Africa and higher education” in the summer of 2010, alongside receiving the 2010 Eminent Scholar in Global Development award of the International Studies Association. Currently Professor of International Relations and a member of the University of London Senate, Chan was the Foundation Dean of Law and Social Sciences at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and recently served as Dean for a second time. See for additional biographical information.

Professor Chan has published 27 books on international relations and more than 200 articles and reviews in the academic and specialist press, as well as over 100 journalistic feature articles. His books include Robert Mugabe: A Life of Power and Violence, Kaunda and Southern Africa: Image and Reality in Foreign Policy, and Citizen of Africa: Conversations with Morgan Tsvangirai. His most recent work is The End of Certainty: Towards a New Internationalism.

The Keynote Address will cover the history of violence and its thought in parts of the Middle East, and Chan’s online lecture on YouTube may serve as an introduction for this vast and complex subject.

Chan participated in the transition to independence of Zimbabwe, the reconstruction of Uganda after the fall of Idi Amin, and also advised and trained government ministries in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Kenya. He established a consortium that trained the Eritrean Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately before and after independence in 1993. He was also part of a consortium that trained the parliamentarians and ministers of post-Dergue Ethiopia from 1998-9. From 2006-7 he was a member of the Africa-China-US Trilateral Dialogue, an effort to establish a common set of principles to help govern the emerging trade wars involving the three continents.

The Bodies Living Through Violence Conference/Workshop is organized by Asian and Asian American Studies Institute (Cathy Schlund-Vials) and Department of Political Science (Christine Sylvester) with support from the William Benton Museum of Art (Nancy Stula, Director). CONTACT Professor Cathy Schlund-Vials, for more information.



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.

Affiliate Faculty Kick-Start 2016

Asian and Asian American Studies Institute Affiliate Faculty members Alexis Dudden (History), Manisha Desai (Sociology/WGSS), Fred Lee (Political Science), and Peter Zarrow (History) are engaged in commentary in the news and premiering new scholarship in the classroom and in public speaking events to kick-start 2016 Spring Semester accomplishments.

Professor Dudden joined Park Yu-Ha of Sejong University (South Korea) and author of a book translated as “Comfort Women of the Empire” in sharply criticizing the recent Japan-South Korea accord to resolve this long-standing dispute, in a Japan Times report that appeared on January 12, 2016.

Professor Manisha Desai (Sociology and WGSS), author of the forthcoming book from Routledge Subaltern Movements in India is teaching a new course called “Gender Politics in South Asia” [WGSS 3998-section 4] that will study the ways in which the body has been the site of that struggle and continues to define transnational discourse in the region, building borders among India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka but also facilitating bridges for women’s rights that provide possibilities for more gender just societies in the region.

Professor Fred Lee (Political Science) and Peter Zarrow (History) are both slated to give Humanities Institute public talks. On Friday, February 17 at 12:30pm Lee 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.

On Tuesday, April 12 at 4:30pm, Professor Zarrow, who is a recipient of a 2015-2016 UCHI Fellowship will deliver “Utopian Democracy and the Birth of Chinese Liberalism: John Dewey, Chen Duxiu, and Hu Shi” that presents two case studies of “Chinese liberalism”, an idea that may strike many inside and outside of China as an oxymoron. Zarrow will argue that notions of liberty and equality, democracy and civil society came together in the politically tumultuous 1910s and 1920s, focusing on Chen Duxiu, who later became a founder of the Chinese Communist Party, and on Hu Shi, who later became Chiang Kai-shek’s ambassador to the United States, and their takes on Deweyan ideals.

In Memoriam GRACE LEE BOGGS (1915-2015)

Photo of Grace Lee Boggs by Grace Holland

Grass-roots organizer, philosopher, teacher and revolutionary – Grace Lee Boggs leaves the Asian American community to mourn her passing on October 5, 2015 in her beloved Detroit. She also leaves an enduring legacy of empowering the poor, the working class and communities of color, as well as the wealth of ideas and activism that ranged from civil rights, black power, environmental justice, human rights, and radical feminism.

Born to Chinese immigrants in Providence, Rhode Island she earned her Ph.D. in philosophy from Bryn Mawr College (PA) in 1940. Grace moved to Detroit in 1953 and married autoworker Jimmy Boggs, an African American who was part of the great migration to the industrial cities of the North from the Jim Crow South of the time. And together, they made a formidable couple who committed their life work to the struggle for black freedom. In Thomas Sugrue’s “Postscript: Grace Lee Boggs” for The New Yorker, he writes,

“Grace was passionate but seldom dogmatic, and unlike many of her comrades she was perfectly willing to reconsider her political positions. In her view, revolution was a process, and it required improvisation and a long-term view.”

In November of 2001, the Institute and the Asian American Cultural Center scheduled to host Grace Lee Boggs at UConn to introduce her to students and her 1998 memoir Living for Change (Univ. of Minnesota Press) via the slAAm! Book Club. Unable to attend, she sent UMass-Boston’s Michael Liu in her place and he read a letter from Grace whose text is reprinted and excerpted below. Fourteen years on and her words ring true and urgent as ever. LONG LIVE GRACE!

Dear Friends,

How do those of us whose humanity has been enriched by our struggles to define our ethnic identity draw upon this enriched humanity to create a new kind of citizenship and leadership in this period of vulnerability, turbulence and transition …?

As I have grappled with this question, I often refer back to the passage in the 1976 pamphlet “Towards a New Concept of Citizenship” [written by Jimmy Boggs].

This nation was founded by a great revolution which inaugurated an age of revolutions all over the world because it gave men and women a new concept of themselves as self-governing human beings, i.e. as citizens rather than subjects. In other words, instead of being masses, who think of themselves as victims and only make demands on others, they were ready to make demands on themselves.

This country is still in its infancy. The ancestors of the overwhelming majority of today’s Americans were not among the few who founded this nation … and established the political and social patterns which have brought us to the present crisis. The ancestors of today’s blacks were here – but they were excluded from participation … even though their labor was building the infrastructure which made possible this country’s rapid development. Thus, the people now living in the United States have had no real experience of the great revolutionary struggles by which any great nation is created. That political and humanizing experience still lies before us all.

Grace Lee Boggs
Detroit, Michigan 11/27/01

PHOTO CREDIT: Robin Holland

India Studies Preview of 2015-2016 Programs

The India Studies Program at UConn is pleased to announce a full slate of sponsored or co-sponsored events.


In 2015, as part of expanding its Asian purview, the Asian/Asian American Studies Institute in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences entered into an agreement to host India Studies on its website and to manage the publicity for India Studies guest lectures/events held at the University of Connecticut.

Since the 2014 Fall Semester, the Institute has served as the administrator of the India Studies Minor. Contact either Prof. Cathy Schlund-Vials or Betty Hanson, the Founding Director of India Studies and Prof. Emerita of Political Science for details concerning the minor’s plan of study.

The Study Abroad programs related to India Studies will remain with the Office of Global Affairs.

2016 Association for Asian American Studies Annual Conference to be held April 28-30 in Miami, FL

The AAAS annual meeting highlights current scholarly research and developments within the field and brings together experts and professionals with an interest in the field.

This year’s Call for Papers / Due October 16, 2015 invites participants to address and reflect on “Gateways, Ports and Portals: Re-imagining Points of Departure for Asian American Studies.” Program co-chairs are Chris Lee (University of British Columbia) and Crystal Parikh (New York University).


Please Note: You MUST be a current and active AAAS member of the calendar year in which you are submitting your proposal (so your membership must be active for the calendar year of 2015 in order to submit a proposal for 2016).