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Syracuse University celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with commemorative lecture by author Shawn Hsu Wong April 10
Syracuse University celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with commemorative lecture by author Shawn Hsu Wong April 10April 09, 2009Office of Multicultural Affairsoma@syr.edu
Syracuse University continues its tradition of recognizing the contributions of Asian and Asian Pacific Americans with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Events will take place through April 25. Highlight of the month’s events is the commemorative lecture by renowned author and University of Washington professor Shawn Hsu Wong, Friday, April 10, at 5 p.m. in Maxwell Auditorium. He will speak about the “Secret Life of An Asian American Writer.”
In 1969, at the age of 19, Wong, then a student at the University of California, Berkeley, decided to become a novelist instead of a doctor. At the time, he could not name a single Asian American author and realized that no high school teacher or college professor had ever assigned or even mentioned a book written by an Asian American. Wong found a whole neglected area of American literature without the benefit of classes or teachers.
Wong’s lecture will detail his search for this literature outside of academia and share his thoughts on current struggles to form or support Asian American studies programs at universities and colleges. He will also discuss and screen scenes from “Americanese,” a film adapted from his novel, “American Knees” (Simon & Schuster, 1995). The film received critical acclaim at the 2006 South by Southwest Festival and is slated for national release this spring.
“As a pioneer academic and activist for Asian America, Wong has forged his way through the wilderness of exclusion, ignorance, institutionalized racism and the alienation of being ‘Other’ in one’s native land,” says SU instructor Nancy Kang. “Through his writing, he testifies to the heroics and the struggles of a diverse, living people, a minority in number only. Wong’s vitality of vision, keen intellect, and sensitivity to irony make him a hero to anyone interested in an enriched understanding of American life.”
In preparation for Wong’s presentation, APA Orange, the Asian American faculty and staff affinity group at SU, coordinated a book club on campus and at Nottingham High School to discuss his novels, “Homebase” (University of Washington Press, 2008) and “American Knees.”
This event is free and open to the public. It is funded by the Kaleidoscope Project, a diversity initiative sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs. For more information, call 443-9676 or visit http://multicultural.syr.edu.