Announcement of Ed.D. Proposal Defense Kimberley Deng: “From Coolies to “China Virus”: A Narrative Inquiry on the Racialized Experiences of Chinese American Students in Higher Education”

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

ABSTRACT: Anti-Asian rhetoric and discrimination had existed in the United States since the early 1800s when the Chinese arrived to work as indentured laborers or “coolies.” In recent years, reported cases of Anti-Asian hate crimes have surged since the media linked the Covid-19 virus to China as the country of origin. In 2020, Chinese Americans experienced 59% of harassment incidents (Borja & Gibson, 2021), even though they comprise only 23% of the Asian American population (Budiman & Ruiz, 2021). Universities seem under-prepared to handle discrimination towards Chinese American students, in part because Chinese Americans are often racialized as model minorities. Many studies paint broad strokes of campus life for Asian American students, primarily focusing on academic achievement rather than their experiences or their use of support services. Therefore, if higher education institutions are to foster inclusive learning spaces, it is necessary to learn from Chinese American students about their experiences and how the university can be more responsive in their support. This narrative inquiry aims to understand the racialized experiences of Chinese American students in higher education while contextualizing these experiences within the historical effects of racism that have been exacerbated by a pandemic. Using Asian Critical Theory as the theoretical framework, my study seeks to answer the following questions: 1. What experiences do Chinese American students report in higher education? a. How does their racial identity interplay with their experiences on campus? 2. How do Chinese American students experience university support? a. What do the students’ stories reveal about the support they require? My primary data source will be interviews, using a convenient purposeful sample of 10-12 Rutgers University-New Brunswick students. Each participant will be interviewed twice. I will also use documents as a secondary data source to provide context on the types of services offered to students and some insight into the events on campus. My hope is that I will be able to share the results with administrators regarding the type of support that this group of students might require. This study will contribute to the few studies that exist on Asian American college students, and it will specifically amplify Chinese American voices and share their stories.

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