Our goal is to bring Asian American studies to the entire world. Ambitious. We know.
For each of us, taking Asian American Studies courses in college allowed us to see ourselves in history. We suddenly had tools to understand our place in the world and to combat inequity and injustice. We each became teachers to pass on these tools to the next generation.
But why did we have to take a college course to experience this transformation? And why, as teachers, do we have to limit ourselves to the classroom to share this experience with others?
We reject the notion that Asian American studies only belongs in the classroom. And with that, we have set out to make Asian American history and culture relevant, accessible, fun, and transformative for everyone. We design curriculum and facilitate workshops for a range of audiences, from K-12 students to corporate professionals, and for a variety of events, from affinity group gatherings to Diversity-Equity-Inclusion trainings.
Our workshops take a specific, concrete, and familiar phenomenon and use it to open up discussions about how we got here, how we are seen, and how we shape the world. Whether the topic is boba, Michelle Yeoh, or Pokémon, we use it to explore hard-hitting history, raise provocative questions, and address urgent issues. Our workshops may look bite-sized, but they pack in a whole lot of knowledge, critical lens, and radical ethos.
So yes, we believe Asian American studies is for everyone. And we hope you will invite us to prove it.
We first met as teachers who taught at different times for the same school. As our paths crossed repeatedly in other arenas where we shared our work, we decided to team up and create workshops together. In the meantime, we also discovered that we are distantly related! We now joke that, as it seems to be the case with all Asians, we are “cousins.”
Born and raised on Ramaytush Ohlone land (now known as San Francisco), Katie Quan (she/her) is a third generation Chinese American. She is an artist, community advocate, curator, storyteller, and educator. Her comics and illustrations capture the multidimensionality of Asian America, exploring themes like self identity, mental health, and family.
Her work has been exhibited at SF Zinefest, Kearny Street Workshop’s APAture, A PLACE of Her Own, and Chinese Historical Society of America. Katie is the creator of REALSOUL, a curriculum based organization that focuses on making Asian American stories intersectional, interdisciplinary, and accessible to learners of all ages.
She currently serves on the advisory board to the AAWAA and newsletter editor to the Square and Circle Club. In her free time, you can find her drawing, bouldering, or swatting gnats away from her indoor plants. Learn more about her work: www.realsoul.us.
Catherine Fung, Ph.D. (she/they) started her career as a college professor teaching courses and publishing scholarship in Asian American literature. She moved into high school teaching, where serving younger students taught her a lot about teaching from the heart. Her teaching has always been guided by values she cultivated as an activist: liberation, community, and healing.
Now, she is figuring out how to teach, write, organize, and coach in her own terms, working as a freelance consultant, workshop facilitator, and writing coach, while continuing to teach Asian American Studies for San José State University. She is the mother of a two-year-old and is figuring out how to teach him Asian American studies on a daily basis.
Her research and writing appear in Social Text, College Literature, Dismantle Magazine, SocialText, and Techno-Orientalism: Imagining Asia in Speculative Fiction, History, and Media, Asian American Literature in Transition, among other publications. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Davis and her B.A. in English and World Literatures from UCLA.
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