Symposium to focus on Asian-American identity

March 30, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Asian-American identity in the Midwest, at college campuses and in the media are some of the topics that will be discussed at an April 13 symposium at Purdue University.

New Communities: A Symposium on Exploring, Challenging and Negotiating Contemporary Asian-American Identity is 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Purdue Memorial Union, Room 118. The event, which is free and open to the public, is to celebrate the upcoming Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, will speak from 9:15-9:50 a.m. on "Becoming Asian Pacific American … in the Midwest?!!! Identities, Cultures and Communities." Wang writes the syndicated column "Adventures in Multicultural Living" available at and is the outreach coordinator of the Ann Arbor Chinese Center of Michigan.

Times, topics and panelists for the other sessions are available online at

Panelists include Asian-American activists "Angry Asian Man" blogger Phil Yu, Blacklava founder Ryan Suda, songwriter Dawen and spoken word artist Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai. Professors from Northwestern University, Purdue University, the University of Illinois Chicago, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Indiana University also are participating.

The New Communities Symposium is the result of a Bisland Strategic Initiatives Fellowship awarded to student Kate Agathon by the Purdue Graduate School. Agathon, who is from Lafayette, Ind., is working on her doctorate degree in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Other symposium sponsors are American Studies, Asian Studies, Committee on Institutional Cooperation Asian American Studies, College of Education Office of Diversity Initiatives, Council on Asian American Studies, Department of English, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Diversity Resource Office and DiversiKey, Purdue Graduate Student Government, Student English Association and the Vietnamese Student Association.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Sources: Kate Agathon, 
                  Patrocinio Schweickart, interim director for Asian American Studies,