Promoting Gender Equity and Fair Practices in Asian Studies

October 14, 2020

5:00pm Eastern Time

This roundtable will outline possible shifts in practices and methods to address systemic gender inequalities in our field and at our institutions. We will focus on ways in which we can work together to promote equitable and fair practices in professional development and mentoring in Asian Studies. Kathleen Cruz Gutierrez, Acting Assistant Professor of Southeast Asian and Philippine history at the University of California-Santa Cruz, will discuss the best practices for retaining students who have faced sexual harassment including faculty-graduate student mentoring and student advocacy in the midst of ongoing Title IX crises. Laura Lee Junker, professor of Southeast Asian Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and adjunct curator at the Field Museum, will speak on gender equality as codified in federal law through the lens of EEOC complaints and mentoring others through gender discrimination and sexual harassment. Colleen Laird, assistant professor of Japanese Film and Popular Culture at the University of British Columbia, will address gendered negotiations in contingent faculty positions. Enhua Zhang, associate professor of Chinese literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Chinese Undergraduate Advisor, will present mentoring advice for Asian women in academia. After these brief presentations, the roundtable will open for audience perspectives, with the aim of generating ideas for future action. AAS Executive Director Hilary Finchum-Sung will serve as moderator for the discussion.

Additional Resources

The links below have been recommended by panelists in this AAS Digital Dialogue session.

Sarah Brown, “What Colleges Need to Know about the New Title IX Rules,” Chronicle of Higher Education (May 6, 2020)

R. Shep Melnick, “Analyzing the Department of Education’s final Title IX rules on sexual misconduct,” Brookings Institution (June 11, 2020)

National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, information on discrimination prohibited by the laws enforced by the EEOC

Session Panelists

Kathleen Cruz Gutierrez

Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz

Kathleen Cruz Gutierrez is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She specializes in Philippine history, science and technology studies, and modern Southeast Asia. As a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, she worked to address publicly the failures of Title IX reporting and response structures. In 2015, she joined the UC President’s Task Force on Responding to Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence to influence policy reform across the UC system. She also organized with graduate students to demand more transparency for the Title IX adjudication process, which has since changed to reduce the number of hearings during which complainants are expected to verbally repeat their experiences of sexual harassment or sexual violence.  For her efforts, she received the RISE Leadership Award from Berkeley’s Gender Equity Resource Center in 2017. She has shared her insight and experience with university Title IX with UpFront-KPFA (Berkeley, 94.1), The Guardian, and NPR. Her op-ed on the retention of graduate-student Title IX complainants, co-written with Eva Hagberg, will appear in The Chronicle of Higher Education in Fall 2020.

Laura Lee Junker

Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Scientific Affiliate/Adjunct Curator in Asian Archaeology at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago

Laura Lee Junker is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, specializing in East Asian and Southeast Asian archaeology, and a Scientific Affiliate/Adjunct Curator in Asian Archaeology at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. I have carried out archaeological projects in China, Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines and India for several decades, published two books focused on the history and archaeology of raiding and trading chiefdoms in the prehispanic Philippines between the 10th century to the early 20th century 19th, and the forager-traders who moved  forest products to the coast and eventually to China and other mainland Asian ports. I spend my summer and semester leaves on archaeological digs, and I have brought my three daughters to the field at various times. As the Associate Dean at the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Chicago since 2009, I have dealt with a significant number of cases of gender bias and sexual harassment involving graduate student victims. In my first academic position at a top-notch private university, I had the unfortunate experience of sexual harassment by two tenured male faculty and learned from female graduate students that they too were being harassed. My EEOC complaint, spearheaded by an amazing lawyer, was able to get restitution for myself and other female faculty and students. As a Graduate College Dean, I use my knowledge of protective laws to identify students who are being sexually harassed, with special concern for foreign students who often do not know the U.S. laws pertaining to discrimination.

Colleen Laird

 Assistant Professor of Japanese Film and Popular Culture in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia

Colleen A. Laird is an Assistant Professor of Japanese Film and Popular Culture in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. She is the author of “One Ghost, Two Shells: The Transnational Treasure Text of Kikuchi Rinko” (Feminist Media Studies) “Imaging a Female Filmmaker: The Director Personas of Nishikawa Miwa and Ogigami Naoko” (Frames Cinema Journal), “Star gazing: Sight lines and studio brands in post-war Japanese film posters” (The Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema), and “Japanese Cinema, the Classroom, and Swallowtail Butterfly” (Jump Cut). She is currently working on a monograph on Japanese women film directors working in contemporary commercial cinema.

Enhua Zhang

Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Enhua Zhang is an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  She received her Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Cultures with a minor in Anthropology from Columbia University. Her research and teaching interests include Chinese literature since the late nineteenth century, Chinese Cinema, Chinese Popular Culture, Gender Studies, and Cross-cultural Studies. Professor Zhang is the author of Space, Politics, and Cultural Representation in Modern China: Cartographies of Revolution (London and New York: Routledge 2016); and the co-editor of Red Legacies in China: Cultural Afterlives of the Communist Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Asia Center 2016). She is currently working on two book-length projects: Chinese Extravaganza: the Real, the Spectral, and the Spectacular investigates the making, aesthetics, and reception of the grand-scale commercial thus artistically underestimated performances; Epistolary Archaeology: Chinese Letter-Writing Since the Late Nineteenth Century examines the disappearing genre of letter-writing and its role negotiating between the private and the public.