The Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies (AAADS) Program at UC Berkeley, one of the programs under the Department of Ethnic Studies, is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of historical and contemporary experiences of Asian-ancestry groups in local, national, and global contexts. Asian American is a pan-ethnic term designating a racialized population made up of various groups of Asian ancestry, and encompassing both the foreign-born and the U.S.-born.
Initially constituted as a component of the emergent field of ethnic studies in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the AAADSP centered on domestic U.S. concerns. It continues to be part of a national activist effort to increase the political, economic and cultural representation of people of color in American life, more specifically, to improve the educational relevance and ethnic diversity of institutions of higher learning. However, the AAADSP has also been responsive to the shifting geopolitical, economic and sociocultural forces most conveniently summed up by the term globalization, and is now increasingly attentive to issues of transnationality and diaspora while retaining its original commitment to community empowerment.