American Sociological Association

Section on Asia and Asian America



2014 Section Awards:

2014 Book Award Winner (Asian American Studies):


·   Wendy Cheng. The Changs Next Door to the Díazes: Remapping Race in Suburban California. University of Minnesota Press.

Wendy Cheng’s The Changs Next Door to the Diazes is an incredibly rich analysis of how immigration is changing the state of race relations in America. Based in Los Angeles' San Gabriel Valley, a region home to historical Asian and Latino immigrant communities, Cheng’s analysis expands previous frameworks on race by Omi and Winant (1994) and posits the concept of regional racial formation. Here, she articulates the central role of space in how Asian Americans and Latinos come to conceptualize their racial identities.

Award Committee:

Anthony Ocampo and Rick Baldoz


2014 Book Award Winner
(Asia / Transnational):

·   Kristin Surak. Making Tea, Making Japan: Cultural Nationalism in Practice. Stanford University Press.

Through exhaustive descriptions that speak to her brilliance as an ethnographer, she details how the nation is concretized in movement, bodily gestures, and postures. Over 20 months of participation in several tea ceremony classes, observations of demonstrations and displays of the tea ceremony for tourists, perusing archives, and building on language skills and familiarity with Japan, Professor Surak examines the quotidian ways by which nationhood is instantiated into being. The committee sees Making Tea, Making Japan as a crucial contribution to Asia/ Asian American studies, the sociology of culture, and political sociology.

Award Committee:

Sharmila Rudrappa and Leslie Wang

Research Paper Awards:

·   Kimberly Hoang (Boston College): 2014. “Competing Technologies of Embodiment: Pan-Asian Modernity and Third World Dependency." Gender and Society.

Kimberly’s article examines the surgical and cosmetic bodily projects of sex workers in three bars in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Drawing on ethnography and 130 interviews with clients and sex workers, she argues that sex workers construct radically different self-presentations reflecting changes in the global economy that have expanded the meaning of Asianness to include what she calls pan-Asian modernity. While there is much literature discussing how women embody national identity, this article does it in a unique way, showing that it is not merely imposed but can be chosen in a variety of ways.

·   Anthony Ocampo (Cal Poly Pomona): 2013. “Are Second Generation Filipinos ‘Becoming’ Asian American or Latino? Historical Colonialism, Culture, and Panethnic Identity.” Ethnic and Racial Studies.

Anthony’s article examines how second-generation Filipino Americans understand their panethnic identities in light of their connections to both Asian Americans and Latinos. Drawing on interviews with 50 Filipino adults in Los Angeles and two large-scale surveys of the immigrant second generation, he argues that many Filipinos invoke their colonial history to explain their social distance from East Asians and to blur boundaries with Latinos. This article is a major challenge and contribution to studies of panethnicity, especially in Asian American Studies, which have long regarded U.S. state classification as trumping pre-migration history and homogenizing lived experience.


Award Committee:

Prema Kurien and J Schiao


2014 Graduate Student Paper Awards:

·   Catherine Man Chuen Cheng (Ph.D. Candidate, University of Toronto) “Circuits of Reproductive Labor: Sex Work and Mothering in Contemporary China”

Catherine’s paper is an ethnography of the “circuits of reproductive labor” that connect Chinese migrant sex workers in Macao. The paper was nominated by Hae Yeon Choo, who writes that “this article contributes to the sociology of Asia and Asian America, as it highlights the complex interplay of gender, class, and political economy in contemporary Asia by firmly situating the meanings and practices of sex work within the moral and material landscape based on Chinese migrant women’s lived experiences.”

·   Wasudha Bhatt (Ph.D. Candidate, University of Texas, Austin) “The Little Brown Woman: Gender Discrimination in American Medicine”

Wasudha’s paper draws on more than one hundred interviews with Indian physicians – both first and second generation-- to examine how race/ethnicity, gender, and nationality shape the experiences of Indian physicians in the United States, and how in the environments of racially different foreign-born medical professionals, gendered and racial dynamics create complex conditions of inequality and disadvantage for women of color.

Award Committee:

Jane Yamashiro and Elena Shih


2014 Contribution to the Field Award:

·   Prema Kurien, Professor of Sociology, Syracuse University

We are excited to give the inaugural Contribution to the Field award to Professor Prema Kurien, Syracuse University. Professor Kurien has been an intellectual and institutional leader in the fields of both Asian and Asian American Studies, and a pioneer within South Asian American Studies. Her books and articles bring needed attention to the intersection of religion, ethnicity, race, inequality, and politics. In addition, she is praised by colleagues and students for her service and teaching. She has been a leader in building up Asian American Studies at Syracuse University.


Award Committee:

Pawan Dhingra and C.N. Le

2013 Award Winners and Honorees:

2013 Book Awards

Asian American Studies Co-Winners:

Rick Baldoz. 2011. The Third Asiatic Invasion: Empire and Migration in Filipino America, 1898-1946. New York University Press.

Pawan Dhingra. 2012. Life Behind the Lobby: Indian American Motel Owners and the American Dream. Stanford University Press.

Honorable Mention

Bindi V. Shah. 2011. Laotian Daughters: Working toward Community, Belonging, and Environmental Justice. Temple University Press.

Asian Studies Winner:

Cheris Shun-Ching Chan. 2012. Marketing Death: Culture and the Making of a Life Insurance Market in China. Oxford University Press.

2013 Research Paper Award

Prema Kurien. "Decoupling Religion and Ethnicity: Second-Generation Indian American Christians." Qualitative Sociology, 35:4:447-468.

2013 Graduate Student Paper Award

Elena Shih, UCLA. "Freedom Turns to the Market: Transnational Circuits of Sex, Work and Ethnicity in the Anti- Human Trafficking Movement in Beijing, Bangkok and Los Angeles."