ASE Congratulates Professors Oneka LaBennett and Karen Tongson on the receipt of their Dean’s Emblem Awards!

Professor Tongson received the “2023 Communicator of the Year Award” in the Humanities. The award honors scholars who contribute significant time and effort to meaningfully improve the public’s understanding of issues, influence policy, and/or raise the level of public discourse around research and scholarship conducted at Dornsife.

Professor LaBennett received the “2023 USC Dornsife Dean’s Emblem Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the space of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

The award honors scholars for publications, research, or engagement with the public or academic community that address issues of access, representational diversity, the impact of marginalization or discrimination, and/or building inclusive communities.

ASE is honored to have these wonderful scholars in our midst!

Congratulations ASE Prof. Francille Rusan Wilson on winning the Carter Godwin Woodson Scholars Medallion from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH.)

We are honored to celebrate our colleague Professor Francille Rusan Wilson’s receipt of the Carter Godwin Woodson Scholars Medallion from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH.) This award, as the ASALH website states, “is presented to a scholar whose career is distinguished through at least a decade of research, writing, and activism in the field of African American life and history. The recipient’s career should embody and personify the Woodson legacy to ensure a firm foundation for the continuance of African-centered education through dedication and commitment to African-American history.” More details can be found here: The award was presented by Dr. Gregory Mixon, Professor of History at University of North Carolina Charlotte and member of the ASALH Executive Council.  Professor Wilson is Director of the USC Black Studies Initiative/Emerging Center and Associate Professor of American Studies & Ethnicity, History and Gender & Sexuality Studies. Warm congratulations, Francille!

Will AI replace writers — and the rest of us? An L.A. scholar-poet games out the future


A teach in: Tuesday held on May 25, 2021, 1-3pm PM PST.  To see the webinar, watch here.

Speakers: Adrian de Leon, Deena Naime, Evelyn Alsultany, Laurie Brand, Layla Zbinden, Megan Awwad, Sarah Gualtieri, Sulafa Zidani, Viet Nguyen

Muslims in TV and Film

Despite recent progress, Hollywood’s depictions of Muslim people could improve. USC Dornsife’s Evelyn Alsultany co-created a new test modeled after the Bechdel Test to help creative teams represent Muslims more accurately and responsibly. Watch video >

2019 – ASE Welcomes 5 New Faculty

2019 USC ASE Faculty

Evelyn Alsultany is a leading expert on the history of representations of Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. media and on forms of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism. Alsultany is the author of Arabs and Muslims in the Media: Race and Representation after 9/11 (New York University Press, 2012) and co-editor of Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence, and Belonging (Syracuse University Press, 2011) and Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora (University of Michigan Press, 2013).

Adrian De Leon is a Abagatan (Southern) Ilokano poet, historian, and essayist. His research and creative practice explore Philippine indigeneity and migrant labor from the 19th century to World War II. He is the author of Rouge (2018) and barangay (forthcoming, 2021), and co-editor of FEEL WAYS: A Scarborough Anthology (2020). He is an Assistant Professor of American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, and a faculty member of the Center for Transpacific Studies.

Oneka LaBennett (Ph.D. Harvard, Social Anthropology, 2002) is the author of She’s Mad Real: Popular Culture and West Indian Girls in Brooklyn, and editor of Racial Formation in the Twenty-First Century. Her recent article, “‘Beyoncé and Her Husband’: Infidelity and Kinship in a Black Marriage,” appears in a special issue of differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies. Her current projects include one manuscript that situates Guyana’s marginality in scholarly discourses against its centrality in global, gendered racializations; and another that examines genre-defying Black women artists. Previously, LaBennett was Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies for Cornell University’s Africana Studies and Research Center.

Shawn McDaniel (Ph.D. The Graduate Center, CUNY) is Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity. Prior to joining USC, he was Assistant Professor of Romance Studies and Latina/o Studies and the Emerson-Krapels Faculty Fellow at Cornell University. Intersecting Caribbean, Latin American, and Latinx literary and cultural studies, his research and pedagogy explore subjectivity, power, aesthetics, modernism, race, gender, sexuality, and dissidence in print, visual, and sonic cultures of the Americas from the nineteenth century to the present. He is working on two book projects: Centenary Subjects: Race, Reason, and Rupture in the Americas and Cuban Chic: Queer Deco and Diasporic Modernism in New York and Havana.

Natalia Molina’s work lies at the intersections of race, gender, culture, and citizenship. She is the author of two award-winning books, Fit to be Citizens? Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879–1939 and How Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts. Her current book project examines eight decades of place-making, community formation, and gentrification in the historically multiethnic Los Angeles community of Echo Park.

The leader of USC’s Career Pathways advises students to start early, making mixers, mentorship and elevator pitches part of their job strategy

Read more.

April 2015

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s first novel explores the Vietnam War through the lens of his conflicted protagonist, an American-educated spy for the Viet Cong.

Read more      NY Times article

Book cover for

August 2012

We are pleased to share the news that Nayan Shah’s recent book Stranger Intimacy: Contesting Race, Sexuality, and Law in the North American West has been awarded the American Historical Association, Pacific Coast Branch’s Norris and Carol Hundley Award.  The Hundley Award recognizes the most distinguished book on any historical subject submitted by a scholar who resides within the twenty-two Western states or four Canadian provinces from which the Pacific Branch of the American Historical Association draws its membership.  The award will be presented on Saturday August 11 at the conference banquet at Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego.

Book cover for

Contact Us

Department of American Studies & Ethnicity

Located in Kaprielian Hall on the University Park campus, ASE faculty, graduate students, and staff are available to assist you with information and resources about our academic programs and research specialties.


University of Southern California

3620 South Vermont Avenue

Kaprielian Hall 462

Los Angeles, California 90089-2534