Letter from the Chair

The Department of American Studies and Ethnicity (ASE) at USC is a multi-disciplinary department that investigates the multi-faceted problems of race, immigration, urban geography, culture, power, gender, sexuality and social justice. We engage students and the public to understand diversity, the consequences of disparity and inequity, and the enactment of community and citizenship in Los Angeles, California, the United States and the world.

ASE houses a stellar and transformative faculty, drawn from across USC, whose scholarship and teaching crosses disciplinary boundaries.  

In our undergraduate and graduate courses and our ASE Commons public events , research symposiums and public events, we produce robust inquiry in the cross-cutting fields of American Studies and Ethnic Studies that engages complementary fields of Literature, History, Sociology, Politics, Film, Communications, Anthropology, Science Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Psychology and Cognitive Studies, Cultural Studies, Legal Studies, Performing Arts and Visual Studies.

As an innovative and multidisciplinary PhD program, ASE offers models of scholarly inquiry and interpretation that addresses the creative potential of diasporic and ethnic communities and the multi-directional influence they exercise upon the immediate California region, the United States and ricocheting across the Americas, Pacific and Atlantic.

Our students have become professors at top universities, leaders in arts and cultural institutions, and innovators in community, national and international organizations and in professions of law, medicine, education, and social work.  Through rigorous and cutting-edge research, the faculty and students are devoted to understanding human impact and the potential for transformation towards justice and equity.

Our faculty have published numerous award winning books  and research articles that have become field changing for Ethnic Studies, American Studies and far beyond.

Our graduate students are placed in tenure track positions at the most competitive universities.  They win top fellowships and awards from the Ford Foundation, the Haynes Foundation, ACLS, Mellon, AAUW, and National Science Foundation.

ASE has key collaborations with the Center for Immigrant Integration, the Proram for Regional Equity and the, and the Center for Democracy and Diversity.  We house Kaya Press, a Trans-Pacific creative and non-fiction press.

Our signature public lecture series ASE Commons addresses Race, Power and Critical Thought and features new research in American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Indigenous Studies, Transnational Studies.  And, our faculty have organized campus wide events, performances, lectures, and music series.

The department continues to grow in new directions and currently hosts research clusters in: Indigeneity and Decolonization; Race and Sexuality; Black Diasporas and Transpacific Studies. 

ASE is truly a unique opportunity for cutting edge research on race, ethnicity, immigration, society, gender, sexuality and power. We look forward to your participation in the ASE project!


Viet Nguyen

Associate Professor

Interim Chair, American Studies & Ethnicity

  • Department of American Studies & Ethnicity
  • University of Southern California
  • 3620 South Vermont Avenue
  • Kaprielian Hall 462
  • Los Angeles, California 90089-2534