PhD, History, UCLA
MA, Asian American Studies, UCLA
BA, History, University of Pennsylvania


Office: UW2-330
Phone: 425-352-5098
Mailing: Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-8246


I believe there’s an important distinction between “schooling” and “education.” Schooling is generally seen as a required act at the K-12 level and a means to qualify for a job at the collegiate level. It’s no wonder so many students find schooling to be onerous and tedious. By contrast, I strive to make education meaningful and powerful by understanding its crucial role in catalyzing personal and social transformation.

Drawn to subjects, communities, and perspectives that are too often marginalized or silenced, my teaching focuses on Asian American studies, African American studies, urban studies, activism, and community organizing. The classroom provides a space to explore new ways to analyze difficult social issues, interrogate dominant viewpoints, and continuously think and rethink the purpose of learning. At the same time, critical learning and teaching must go beyond the walls of the university to engage the way we interact with family, community, and society.

Recent Courses Taught

I will begin teaching at UWB in 2015. From 2000 to 2014, I taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Ethnic Studies, American Studies, and U.S. History at the University of Michigan.


Centered on the comparative and intersectional study of race and ethnicity, my scholarship examines the complex questions, contradictions, and possibilities arising from the prevalence of diversity in the United States. My research especially addresses the study of 20th and 21st century American history, urbanism, and social movements. Working particularly from the vantage points of Black and Asian American studies, I engage the multiethnic “big city” as a privileged site to analyze the cutting-edge of social change in U.S. society. My writings are based on both archival research and community-based research often conducted in direct cooperation with social justice organizations or emanating from my own participation in social justice organizing.

Since the spring of 2014, I have served as a senior fellow for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, where I am working with a team of curators, scholars, and educators on the “Our American Journey” project and the “Many Voices, One Nation” exhibit that seek to promote narratives of U.S. history reflecting the rising diversity of the nation as a global crossroads.

Selected Publications

I have written one book and co-authored a second book:

The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, co-authored with Grace Lee Boggs (University of California Press, 2011); updated and expanded paperback edition with new preface and afterword with Immanuel Wallerstein (University of California Press, 2012).

The Shifting Grounds of Race: Black and Japanese Americans in the Making of Multiethnic Los Angeles (Princeton University Press, 2008) in the “Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America” series edited by William Chafe, Gary Gerstle, Linda Gordon, and Julian Zelizer.

My articles have appeared in multiple anthologies and journals, including Afro-Hispanic Review, Amerasia Journal, Journal of Asian American Studies, and The Journal of American History.

Currently, I’m working on four book projects on the following topics:

Economic crisis and radical activism in Detroit

Asian Americans in the media spotlight

Asian American community activism and the politics of multiracial urban space

A community-authored oral history of Japanese Americans in Detroit