Professor Thai Named to “40 Under 40: Professors Who Inspire” List

Congratulations to Professor Hung Cam Thai who was named to the “40 Under 40: Professors Who Inspire” list.

“Thai is known for “guiding” his students, rather than lecturing them. One student at the college in Claremont, California, says it would be difficult to find another professor as dedicated to mentorship or more passionate about sociology than Thai. Another student describes working with Thai in Vietnam to document the lives of Western expatriates: “The opportunity to experience all parts of the creation of sociological knowledge — from target group selection to data acquisition to data analysis — sparked the interest that has led me to pursue sociology in my graduate studies.” – See the complete list.

Professors Miyake and Kassam: 2015 Wig Distinguished Professor Awards for Excellence in Teaching

Pomona College Professors Lynne Miyake (IDAAS core faculty) and Zayn Kassam (IDAAS affiliated faculty) have received the 2015 Wig Distinguished Professor Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award is the highest honor bestowed on Pomona faculty, recognizing exceptional teaching, concern for students and service to the College and community.

The recipients are elected by the junior and senior classes and then confirmed by a committee of trustees, faculty and students.

Lynne Miyake, professor of Japanese, teaches elementary, intermediate and advanced Japanese; Graphically Speaking: Japanese Manga and its Buds; Japanese/Japanese American Women Writers; and Japanese and Japanese American Autobiography.

Student comment: “Encyclopedic knowledge of her favorite subjects (e.g. manga and anime), willingness to approach it from a variety of angles and take student feedback into account on that front. Miyake sensei constantly brings an incredible energy to all of the classes she teaches. I appreciate how she constantly pushes you to do better and continue learning despite the Japanese language’s difficulty curve.”

Zayn Kassam, the John Knox McLean Professor of Religious Studies, teaches Engendering and Experience: Women in Islamic Traditions; Islamic Thought; Sufism; The Divine Body: Religion and the Environment; and The Religion of Islam. This is her third Wig Award, previously received in 1998 and 2005.

Student comment: “Prof. Kassam is eloquent, caring, and brilliant. She can turn a small moment into a resonating statement about tolerance. By teaching us how to investigate Islam by learning its history and spiritual legacy, she flipped the culturally deterministic script that dominates popular discussion of the religion in a highly necessary way.”


Congratulations Professor Miyake and Professor Kassam!

Hung Cam Thai (2014): Published Book

Insufficient FundsInsufficient Funds: The Culture of Money in Low-Wage Transnational Families
Hung Cam Thai
Stanford University Press.

“Every year migrants across the globe send more than $500 billion to relatives in their home countries, and this circulation of money has important personal, cultural, and emotional implications for the immigrants and their family members alike. Insufficient Funds tells the story of how low-wage Vietnamese immigrants in the United States and their poor, non-migrant family members give, receive, and spend money.

Drawing on interviews and fieldwork with more than one hundred members of transnational families, Hung Cam Thai examines how and why immigrants, who largely earn low wages as hairdressers, cleaners, and other “invisible” workers, send home a substantial portion of their earnings, as well as spend lavishly on relatives during return trips. Extending beyond mere altruism, this spending is motivated by complex social obligations and the desire to gain self-worth despite their limited economic opportunities in the United States. At the same time, such remittances raise expectations for standards of living, producing a cascade effect that monetizes family relationships. Insufficient Funds powerfully illuminates these and other contradictions associated with money and its new meanings in an increasingly transnational world.”

Ming-Yuen S. Ma (2012): Published book

Resolutions 3: Global Networks of Video.
Ming-Yuen S. Ma and Erika Suderburg, eds.
University of Minnesota Press.

Resolutions 3 explores the wide-ranging implications of video art and video-based production in contemporary media culture. Intending to broaden, contest, and amplify the mediated space defined by its two predecessors—Resolution and Resolutions—the contributors to this volume investigate the ever-changing state of video’s deployment as examiner, tool, journal reportage, improvisation, witness, riff, leverage, and document.”

Karin Mak: Grants

Professor Karin Mak received a number of grants for the completion of her film project, “Red Dust” (Roy W. Dean Film Grant – Los Angeles; Emerging Crisis Oral History Research Fund; Labor and Employment Research Fund (LERF); Pacific Rim Mini-Grant).

Kathleen S. Yep (2012): Project

“API Women, Faith, Action: Oral Histories of Asian Pacific Islander Women and Their Faith-Based Activism” website.

Funded by the California Council of Humanities’ California Story Fund, this digital community oral history project uncovers and documents through interviews, digital archives and public forums, the stories of Asian American and Pacific Islander women who, informed by their spirituality and faith traditions, were engaged in the U.S. movement for civil and human rights from the 1960s through the 1990s.

Joseph Jeon (2012): Published Book

Racial Things, Racial Forms: Objecthood in Avant-Garde Asian American Poetry.
University of Iowa Press.

“In Racial Things, Racial Forms, Joseph Jonghyun Jeon focuses on a coterie of underexamined contemporary Asian American poets – Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Myung Mi Kim, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, and John Yau – who reject many of the characteristics of traditional minority writing. In the poets’ various treatments of things (that is, objects of art), one witnesses a confluence of the avant-garde interest in objecthood and the racial question of objectification.”

Linus Yamane (2012): Journal Article

“Labor Market Discrimination: Vietnamese Immigrants.” Published in the Journal of Southeast Asian American Education & Advancement, Vol. 7.

Vietnamese and East European immigrants face similar obstacles in the US labor market. This provides for an interesting test of racial discrimination in the labor market. Does it make any difference if an immigrant is Asian or White? When Vietnamese immigrants are compared to East European immigrants, Vietnamese men earn 7-9% less than comparable East European men, with more discrimination among the less educated, and in the larger Vietnamese population centers like California. Vietnamese women earn as much as comparable East European women. Vietnamese immigrants, male and female, are much less likely to hold managerial and supervisory positions than comparable East European immigrants.