October 2, 2002 – Ling-chi Wang: “Kaihua jieguo zai haiwai: Literatures of the Chinese Diaspora in the Age of Globalization”

Wednesday, October 2 | 4 PM | Oakes Mural Room

Professor Ling-chi Wang is a distinguished scholar and activist on Asian American issues. He was at the center of the struggles that shaped the creation of the Ethnic Studies Department at UC Berkeley, and has been an advocate ever since of the department’s social activist agenda, particularly in the wake of the Bakke court decision and other attacks on affirmative action. He has been centrally involved in activism, scholarship and dialogues about the rights of Chinese-speaking students in K-12 education, the housing crisis in San Francisco’s Chinatown, the 1996 campaign finance scandal, and, most recently, issues around the Japanese government’s responsibility to Chinese, Koreans, and other Asian targets of Japanese aggression during World War II. He played a key role as strategist and advisor during former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Wen Ho Lee’s battle against espionage charges. His recent publications in Asian American studies include “Being Used and Being Marginalized in the Affirmative Action Debate: Re-envisioning Multiracial America from an Asian American Perspective” in Asian American Policy Review and “Structure of Dual Domination” in Amerasia Journal.

Originally trained as a specialist in ancient Semitic languages, Professor Wang has also worked extensively on the literature and culture of the Chinese diaspora. His Chinese American Poetry: An Anthology, edited with Henry Yiheng Zhao, was published in 1991 by the University of Washington Press. The Chinese Diaspora: Selected Essays, co-edited with Wang Gungwu, appeared in 1998 (Singapore: Times Academic Press). Professor Wang is currently organizing a November conference on the literatures of the Chinese diaspora. This body of literature is written in several languages: Chinese, English, Spanish, French, Malay, and Tagalog among them. Because this literature does not fall under the rubric of Chinese national literatures, it receives little attention from scholars in Taiwan and China. Treatment of Chinese diasporic literature within the fields of European or American minority literatures rarely allows for attention to the global contexts and transnational articulations of its various national sites. Professor Wang aims at the creation of a new field of study.