An Unseen Unheard Minority: Asian American Students at the University of Illinois

Online Book Talk with Dr. Sharon S. Lee, Teaching Assistant Professor, Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Thursday, March 3, 2022

7:00pm- 8:00pm, central time

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Higher education hails Asian American students as model minorities who face no educational barriers given their cultural values of hard work and political passivity. Described as “over-represented,” Asian Americans have been overlooked in discussions about diversity; however, racial hostility continues to affect the Asian American community, as evidenced by the recent surge in anti-Asian violence during the COVID pandemic. In the face of such hostility, Asian American students have actively challenged their invisibility in minority student discussions. In this talk, Dr. Sharon Lee will be discussing her recent book published through Rutgers University Press as part of the series New Directions in the History of Education. This book details the history of Asian American student activism at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, as students rejected the university’s definition of minority student needs that relied on a model minority myth, measures of under-representation, and a Black-White racial model, concepts that made them the “unseen unheard minority” on campus. This activism led to the creation of one of the largest Asian American Studies departments and Asian American cultural centers in the Midwest. Their histories reveal the limitations of understanding minority student needs solely along measures of under-representation and the realities of race for Asian American college students.

This online event will be recorded for later viewing. Contact Sharon Lee at with questions.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership; Department of Asian American Studies; and the Asian American Cultural Center