Next semester, Long T. Bui will be joining the University in the American Studies Department to teach Asian American Studies as a visiting assistant professor on a one-year renewable contract.
Bui has a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, San Diego, and currently holds the prestigious Chancellor Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. His studies focus on using the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality to discuss geopolitical warfare, globalization, identity, and culture, with an emphasis on Asians in relation to other races and cultures.
Professor of American Studies Patricia Hill expressed the department’s excitement at having its request for a visiting assistant professor of Asian American Studies approved.
“More than a decade ago, American Studies had participated in the Freeman Asian American initiative at Wesleyan with the hope that bringing distinguished visiting scholars and postdoctoral fellows in Asian American history would lead eventually to a tenure line appointment in that field,” Hill said. “Since the Initiative ended in 2005, only Asian American literature has been available in the Wesleyan curriculum. Current students, led by Alton Wang [’16], approached American Studies about the possibility of expanding the Asian American component of our race and ethnicity concentration beyond a literary focus. Since we had long supported such a curricular development, the department voted unanimously to submit a request for a visiting professor in this field.”
Wang, Chair of the Asian American Student Collective, expanded on the importance of having a professor who is so involved in Asian American studies on campus.
“I’m really excited that Professor Bui will be joining us,” Wang said. “One thing I’ve said repeatedly over the course of this year is that I believe that we have a right to learn about our own histories and identities, and the addition of Asian American history and other courses taught by Professor Bui is a step forward in the right direction.”
In the fall, Bui will be teaching a lecture/discussion course on Asian American History (AMST304) and a seminar on Techno-Orientalism (AMST304). In the spring, he will teach a lecture discussion class on Asian Americans and Popular Culture (AMST220), a seminar on Comparative Asian and Latino/a Immigrant Experiences (AMST336), and a seminar on Asian American Gender & Sexuality in Historical Perspective (AMST340).
Hill said the classes suggested by Bui were new and interesting, and she expressed her hopes that many students will also appreciate them.
“We found the courses that he proposed to offer at Wesleyan quite compelling,” Hill said. “They will not only be important additions to the American Studies curriculum, but will also contribute to others areas in the Wesleyan curriculum with which they intersect, including the College of East Asian Studies, Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies, History, and the Science in Society Program.”
Professor of English and American Studies and Chair of the American Studies Department Joel Pfister echoed Hill.
“[Bui’s] teaching and scholarship on Asian American [culture] meshes with several foundational concerns, approaches, and fields investigated by the American Studies faculty: ethnic studies, mass-cultural and media studies, queer studies, feminist studies, and transnational American Studies,” Pfister said. “Clearly, his work on Asian American history is crucial for us.”
According to Wang, the classes that Bui will teach are going to provide a new opportunity in the classroom for students.
“Asian American Studies and other Ethnic Studies programs and courses are important because they illuminate the voices and experiences traditional curriculums erase and wash away,” Wang said. “To say that our [curriculum] is satisfactory or expansive enough without giving strength to these fields is misleading and wrong. I’m looking forward for students who are interested to be able to take these courses, see themselves in the pages of the texts and be at the forefront of classroom discussions.”
Bui was unavailable to comment due to a scheduling conflict.