The Administration, Institutional Support, and Faculty

By Robert Boxwell '25, Deborah Jung '24, Jessica Yang '25, & Nolan Yee '25 

"We believe that [Asian American Studies] matters, not only because it legitimizes the field, which is important, but also it sets an example for other institutions to also incorporate Asian American studies into their curriculums —  because historically, Asian Americans have been marginalized,”

Daniel Lin, in an interview with The Dartmouth

Former Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim, the first Asian president of an Ivy League institution. Despite his historic appointment as president, Asian American Studies failed to come to fruition during his time at Dartmouth. 

Dartmouth College has had a long and tumultuous history in the fight for institutionalized Asian American studies. While other colleges and universities around the nation have successfully integrated Asian American studies, or at least Asian studies, into their school as an academic discipline, the College today has no independent department that houses Asian or Asian American studies, literatures, or languages. Created in 2015, the Asian Societies, Cultures, and Languages Program (ASCL) serves partially toward this end but lacks the institutional support afforded to full-fledged departments. There have been numerous attempts by students, faculty, and administrators within Dartmouth to more deeply integrate this very important study over the past several decades, but efforts for various reasons documented in this section have continually risen to promising heights, and inevitably fallen back to the status quo in an equal amount of time. We hope to underline the cyclical nature of attempts to institutionalize Asian American studies through an administrative lens so as not to forget the long, storied history of those who fought for Asian American studies long before the current generation of students walked on campus.

"The Dean of Faculty Office is in the process of developing 'curriculum and programming related to Asian American studies,' according to an email statement from associate dean of International and Interdisciplinary Studies Matthew Delmont. While the Dean of Faculty Office has the goal of forming a steering committee to establish, among other features, an Asian American studies major and minor, such a committee has not yet been formed, Delmont wrote."

The Dartmouth

The history of Asian studies and Asian American studies are independently covered and outlined in this presentation as distinct yet inevitably intertwined academic subjects. We then present the logistical barrier to the creation and sustainment of an Asian American studies program or department and classes, as well as the particularly important role that faculty — both their presence and absence — have played toward the cause of Asian American studies. Finally, the role of OPAL’s Office of Asian and Asian American Student Advising, and the influence of Nora Yasumura, will be covered to explore Asian American studies and life outside of traditional administration.