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Josephine Lee, an  English professor (R) was the driving force behind the new Asian American minor program at the U.

U offers Asian American minor

by the University of Minnesota News Service

From eNews, November 13, 2003

How do the experiences of Americans of Asian descent compare to those of other immigrant groups that make up this country? Undergraduate students can explore this question and many others when they minor in Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota. The U is the only school in Minnesota to offer this program. The program, which falls under the Department of American Studies, focuses on the history, politics, and culture of Americans of Asian descent. Its courses are designed to help students explore the diversity of Asian American communities, explains Josephine Lee, an English professor and driving force in establishing the program. Our Asian American Studies program recognizes the uniqueness of Minnesota's Asian American populations and their commonalties with each other and with other Asian American communities across the nation, says Lee. Once known for its cultural homogeneity, Minnesota has become a magnet for immigrants from countries throughout Asia. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the state's Asian American population increased by 108 percent in the 1990s (from 78,000 to more than 168,000). The U's undergraduate Asian American student population makes up 11.6 percent of its total student body. "It's high time it's happening, says Lee. "It's not just for Asian American students. It's also a field of interest all kinds of people are getting into. It's an academic field that's coming of age." Having a minor is the first step toward a possible Asian American Studies Department, says Lee. To learn more about the U's new Asian American Studies minor, see

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