About the project

As a final project for a course through the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies, “Women in U.S.-Asian Relations” (AAS/POL 307), students conducted interviews with women who are cross-cultural "travelers" between the United States and Asia.

Before conducting their interviews, the students examined the ways women historically sought to increase understanding between the U.S. and Asia over a 125-year time period (from the 1850s to the 1970s). They learned about transformative occupations — from writers and poets to missionaries, journalists, film makers, diplomats, medical and social workers, scientists, scholars, and chefs – to determine how women used motivational discourse and social networking, mentoring, and partnering to interpret China, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Vietnam for diverse audiences in America and Asia.

In addition, the students examined the trajectory of American history in the early 1800s when women were precursors, at the turn of the 20th century when women took on roles as progressives, and in the mid-1900s when women challenged the status quo both domestically and abroad. They traced the broader context of U.S.-Asian relations, encompassing the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction era, American missionary movements in Asia, Chinese exclusion laws, WW2 Japanese internment camps, the Korean War, the ascendancy of the Chinese Communist Party, Philippine independence, Indian political movements, and the Vietnam War.

Working in groups, the students then prepared a list of interview questions, corresponded with the interviewee to request an interview, and recorded their interviews using audio and/or visual formats. In their final reports and class presentations, they reflected upon what they learned from the interviewees and each other.

We thank all of those who contributed to these projects and hope you enjoy browsing this collection.

-Peg Christoff 

This project is a joint effort between the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies and the Stony Brook University Libraries.