BMCC Receives NEH Award of Almost $100,000 for Asian American Studies Project

April 14, 2016

Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) just received a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) award of $99,998 to fund a year-long project, “Building Asian American Studies across the Community College Classroom.” The Project Director is Soniya Munshi, BMCC Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Department of Social Sciences and Human Services, and the project is hosted by the BMCC Center for Ethnic Studies.

Through this project, 15 selected faculty participants from CUNY community colleges will receive a stipend to attend a Faculty Development Summer Institute on August 15-20 as well as two days of workshops at the end of both the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters. They will also have the option of attending a monthly colloquium on Asian American studies, at BMCC.

“Participants will engage the local histories, cultures and identities of diverse, new and underrepresented Asian American communities in the New York City metropolitan area,” says Project Director Munshi. “They will develop curricular materials for use in their own classrooms.”

The August 2016 institute will provide presentations by guest faculty, teaching tours led by scholar-activists and community organizations, and academic scholarship, literary texts and cultural work.

Through these activities, Munshi says, participants will examine critical concepts and frameworks in Asian American Studies. They will explore new Asian immigrant communities in New York City, as well as gender and sexual labor. Other issues they will examine include transnationalism and cultural production; Asian American racialization; concepts of race and caste; cross-racial relationships and the Asian American diaspora. 

At the end of the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters, participates will reconvene for a day-long session to assess the implementation of the curricula they have developed. In addition, says Munshi, the project will provide at BMCC, a monthly public Colloquium in Asian American Studies to highlight emergent interdisciplinary research, cultural production, and innovative pedagogy. 

Each of the 15 participants will receive a stipend for a total of eight days, including the Summer Institute and two follow-up sessions. They will also receive additional stipends for attending the monthly colloquium.

Community college faculty invited to apply

CUNY community college faculty, including adjuncts and visiting faculty, are encouraged to apply to take part in “Building Asian American Studies across the Community College Classroom” or to be added to the project’s mailing list by contacting the project organizers at

The project team includes Soniya Munshi (Project Director), BMCC/CUNY; Jennifer Hayashida, Asian American Studies Program Director, Hunter College/CUNY; Caroline Hong, Assistant Professor of English, Queens College/CUNY; Patricia Mathews-Salazar, Director, Center for Ethnic Studies, BMCC/CUNY; Nita Noveno, Lecturer in English, BMCC/CUNY and Linta Varghese, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies, Hunter College/CUNY.




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  • NEH awards $99,998 to BMCC for Asian American studies project
  • CUNY community college faculty are invited to apply to be part of the curriculum project
  • First event is a faculty development institute in August 2016

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