The Asian American Studies Task Force (AASTF) is a student activist organization that advocates for greater diversity in the Yale curriculum. Founded in the 1970s, AASTF believes Asian American Studies is central to Yale University’s mission of fostering “outstanding research and scholarship,” educating “aspiring leaders worldwide,” and promoting the “free exchange of ideas in an ethical, interdependent, and diverse community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni.”
While recognizing that Yale has made efforts to expand its course offerings related to East Asia, and specifically China and Japan, the AASTF asserts that similar attention needs to be given specifically to Asian Americans Studies. Countless other colleges and universities across the U.S. recognize the merit of Asian American Studies and have satisfied the academic interests and demands of their students.
The history of the AASTF includes a variety of social, cultural, and political activities. In times where sufficient course offerings were unavailable, students have developed their own courses, begun reading groups, and invited guest speakers. We have also compiled reports on the state of Asian American studies across the nation and organized workshops and discussions to provide structured spaces for dialogue about Asian American narratives.
Within the larger New Haven community, we have conducted outreach to schools to supplement traditional textbooks and lesson plans which often omit Asian American voices. These are just some examples of the extensive history of student activism for Asian American Studies at Yale.
The students of today’s Asian American Studies Task Force seek to build upon this rich history of student activism and empowerment. This iteration of the Task Force was established in the Spring of 2014 as a collaboration between student leaders in the Asian American Students Alliance, the Political Action and Education Committee, and the Asian American Cultural Center. We believe the very fact of institutional recognition will lend a great sense of validation to the voice of Asian American students on campus and to the civil equality of Asian Americans in U.S. society at large.