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About AAPI Studies

Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study in the arts, humanities, and the social sciences. It promotes the study of the history, politics, and cultures of Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the United States, Oceania, and other parts of the Americas.

Interdisciplinary Emphasis

The AAPI Program emphasizes the interdisciplinary study of history and culture and the construction of local, transnational, and diasporic communities among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The curriculum will allow students to examine the artistic and literary productions, histories, and political struggles of various communities--Chamorro, Chinese, Filipinx, Indian, Indigenous Hawaiian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Marshallese, mixed-race, Pakistani, Vietnamese, and other Asians and Pacific Islanders. The program emphasizes these groups not as discrete identities but as subject positions formed and negotiated in tension with the United States nation-building project. The rich interdisciplinary spectrum of courses offered by this minor will equip students with multi-method research and communication skills to collaborate across and to build communities, during and beyond their time at UC San Diego.


The efforts to establish an Asian American Studies Minor Program at UC San Diego are longstanding, led by generations of AAPI students. In 1986, Professor James Lin taught the first Asian American Studies course at UCSD as part of a campus-wide push among students and faculty for an Asian American Studies program. In 1987, the Asian Pacific Islander Student Alliance formed an Asian American Studies Committee to advance the creation of the minor.

In 2011, the Coalition for Critical Asian American Studies (CCAAS) was formed to continue these demands. In 2014, CCAAS issued an open letter addressing the lack of institutional support for AAPI students, including mental health services, faculty lines dedicated to Asian American Studies, and a robust Asian American Studies curricular program. CCAAS has organized faculty-student-staff mixers regularly to raise awareness about the campus climate for AAPI students and the need for a minor.

The AAPI Program is the result of these student-led efforts over the years. The program will carry on the tradition of transformative education embodied by these efforts and that has been at the core of Asian American Studies since its origins in 1968-69.