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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Asian Canadian Studies as an Emancipatory Project


With the rise in global neoliberalism and right-wing populism, higher education in Canada is at the forefront of the battleground for racial equality, multiculturalism, and diversity efforts. This essay argues for the importance of Asian Canadian Studies (ACS) as a means to combat ongoing manifestations of racism and racialization in the academy. We examine the necessity of ACS as an emancipatory project—its objectives and the challenges it faces. There are currently three existing ACS programs in Canada, and we will focus in particular on the University of British Columbia’s Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies Program as an illustrative example of how to promote social justice and civil rights in Canadian higher education. The importance of ACS and its effectiveness are discussed in the context of university settings.

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