On this month’s episode of the Deerfield Public Library Podcast, we were honored to welcome Dr. Jason Oliver Chang, Associate Professor of History, as well as Asian and Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut. 

Dr. Chang’s work encompasses many aspects, from academic writing to public advocacy. We use his zine “Unmasking Yellow Peril” (co-written with Turner Willman and the group 18 Million Rising) as a jumping-off point for discussing the history and present of exclusion, discrimination, and violence against Asian Americans, as well as the field of Asian American Studies more generally.

In this time of rising anti-Asian rhetoric and violence, many have looked for educational resources. As Dr. Chang tells us, the lack of familiarity with this history is itself a familiar dynamic because of the “perpetual foreigner” stereotype, which leaves out Asian Americans from the American story. For Dr. Chang, Asian American Studies isn’t only about adding another lost chapter to history, but also about interrogating how our “common sense” historical narratives depend on the absence of certain stories. 

We also discuss Dr. Chang’s 2017 book Chino: Anti-Chinese Racism in Mexico 1880-1940 as well as his support for a recent push to get Asian American Studies in Connecticut public schools. A similar effort is currently underway here in Illinois.

You can download the zine Unmasking Yellow Peril for free or pick up a copy from the Deerfield Public Library’s Podcast Collection shelf. You can also find Asian America: A Primary Source Reader (co-edited by Dr. Chang) in our collection soon, as well as many other resources here at the Library.

We hope you enjoy our 48th episode! Each month we release an episode featuring conversations with notable guests, including authors, artists, and leaders from Deerfield, Chicagoland, and around the world. Learn more about the podcast on our podcast page.

You can listen to all of our episodes in the player below or on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, or anywhere else you listen to podcasts. We welcome your comments and feedback—please send to [email protected]