American Studies Welcomes Janelle Wong

Please join us in welcoming Professor Janelle Wong, the new Direc-tor of the Asian American Studies Program (AAST) who is also jointly appointed in the Department of American Studies. Professor Wong comes to us from the University of Southern California and Seattle University.

An interdisciplinary political scientist by training, Professor Wong is excited to see so much going on in the D.C. Metro area, particularly in terms of national electoral politics and national Asian Pacific American organizations. Because of her research specialties and her new proximity to the heart of national politics, Professor Wong has been very busy since her arrival. Given her latest research on Asian American and Latina/o evangelicals and Pentecostals, and how they are changing the traditional Christian right in America, she was interviewed for a story on NPR (available at She also co-wrote an article that was included on The Washington Post’s blog (link available at

As for teaching, Professor Wong shared, “The students are great here.” She is currently teaching AAST200: Introduction to Asian American Studies, which she describes as “one of the most rewarding classes” she has taught. Professor Wong is interested in the future in teaching courses on Asian American politics, and contributing her specialties in quantitative methods in the study of race and ethnicity both to AAST and to the Department of American Studies. As AAST Director, one of her goals is to redesign the program’s curriculum to more resemble a program shaped by comparative ethnic studies with a transnational focus.

Though her responsibilities with AAST occupy much of her time, Professor Wong is dedicated to being part of the Department’s “vibrant and supportive community.” She also wants our undergraduate community to see the intellectual commonalities and shared investments between Asian American studies and American studies, and would like for AMST majors to consider taking courses with AAST as part of their concentration areas. Please join us in welcoming Professor Wong to the Department of American Studies and to her position as Director of the Asian American Studies Program.