ESP Biography

JIAJIA ZHANG, double major in (Asian) American Studies and Art

Major: American Studies, Art

College/Employer: Amherst College

Year of Graduation: 2022

Picture of Jiajia Zhang

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Hi! Thanks for stopping by!

I'm a sophomore at Amherst College double majoring in American Studies with a Concentration in Asian American Studies and Art Practice. I am also pursuing a Five College Certificate in Asian American Studies.

I currently work for the Amherst College Department of Anthropology, as well as the 1882 Foundation, a Washington DC-based nonprofit that initiates legal and educational advocacy around the historical and continuing significance of the Chinese Exclusion Acts. My research interests are centered in Chinese American history, at this time particularly the lynching of Vincent Chin and the Asian American experience in 1980s Detroit!

If you have any questions about Asian American history or activism or applying to liberal arts colleges, I'd be happy to talk. Granted, I'd also be happy to talk about niche TV shows (Into the Badlands?? Marco Polo?? On My Block???) or exotic reptiles if that is of any interest to you.

Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

H13118: Untold Asian American Histories: from the Chinese Massacres to the Yellow Power Movement in HSSP Summer 2019 (Jul. 07, 2019)
Did you know that an Asian American man brought the Supreme Court lawsuit that gave all Americans citizenship by birthright today? Did you know that Asian American generals fought in the Civil War? Did you know that Chinese Americans fell victim to the largest mass lynching in American history? Did you know that Hollywood's first sex symbol and male movie star was Japanese American? Are you frustrated by the lack of Asian American history offered in schools? Sign up for Untold Asian American Histories, and we will explore an overview of Asian American history, from the nineteenth century to now! We will use dynamic learning methods-- a mix of lecture, discussion, photography and documentaries/movies, primary sources, court cases, and more-- to investigate topics like the Japanese American Incarceration, the mass-expulsions of Chinese and South Asian Americans, the Transcontinental Railroad, and the Asian American Movement, a massive uprising of Asian Americans in the 1970s that shortly followed the Civil Rights Movement. Plus, expect a special lecture from Professor Franklin Odo (check him out on Wikipedia!), one of the original leaders of the Asian American movement, founder of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and recipient of the Association for Asian American Studies Lifetime Achievement Award. Professor Odo has taught Asian American Studies at over 30 colleges and universities in his lifetime, and now we bring him to you! We recommend 9th grade as a rough minimum requirement. However, all ages are welcome if you feel comfortable exploring emotionally difficult content, namely hate crimes and prostitution. All are welcome to join, Asian American or not! We believe Asian American history has played a role in shaping everyone's lives here in America :)