Reflections on the Field: Community Engagement and Excluded History

Reflections on the Field: Community Engagement and Excluded History

By Paul Y. Watanabe, University of Massachusetts, Boston

When pioneering Asian American political scientist Don Nakanishi retired from the University of California–Los Angeles as director of its renowned Asian American Studies Center, he chose to forego the golf course and beach as sites for his golden years. Instead, Don chose to focus his energies across town in East Los Angeles and engage again in community activism—in this case, around the long struggle for the area’s incorporation as a city. Don’s journey demonstrates how community-centered engagement has been a catalyst for several political scientists and others to ground their intellectual inquiries centered on Asian American sites in a commitment to political, economic, and social justice.

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