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AAC Fellows Program

UNC’s AAC Fellows program is the first Asian America-focused Fellows program in the nation, bringing together pre-eminent scholars, artists, and community organization leaders for collaboration, workshops, and campus visits that inspire engagement with Asian American studies across campus. Fellows are chosen to address the breadth and richness of Asian America as well as campus needs and interests.

Current Fellows:

Dr. Samah Choudhury (she/her) is an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Ithaca College. She has an academic background in the Middle East, Islam, and the Muslim identity and her specialty lies in Islamic Studies, humor and comedy, race, and gender. She has a wide range of experience that centers particularly on how Islam and Muslims are articulated through the medium of stand-up comedy.

Dr. Theodore (Theo) Gonzalves (he/him) is a scholar of comparative cultural studies and currently serves as the curator of Asian Pacific American history at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. He also serves as the interim director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. Dr. Gonzalves focuses on the experiences of Asian American and Filipino American communities. His research specialties also include Asian Pacific American history, culture and the performing arts. 

Dr. Sean Metzger (he/him) is currently a professor at the School of Theatre, Film and Television and the Vice Chair of Undergraduate studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to his arrival at UCLA, he was an assistant professor of English, theater studies, and Asian & Middle Eastern studies at Duke University. Broadly, Dr. Metzger works at the intersections of  Asian American, Caribbean, Chinese, film, performance and sexuality studies. His scholarly publications include numerous books centering on these areas, including his first book, Chinese Looks: Fashion, Performance, Race (2014)

Becoming a Fellow

Fellows are currently selected partly by application and partly by invitation in order to ensure a professionally varied cohort. We anticipate opening applications for 2022-23 in April 2022.

Past Fellows:

2020-21 (inaugural year)
The inaugural Fellows of 2020-21: Iyko Day, Nitasha Sharma, and Rajiv Mohabir.

Dr. Iyko Day joins us from the Department of English and Critical Social Thought at Mount Holyoke College. Author of Alien Capital: Asian Racialization and the Logic of Settler Colonial Capitalism (Duke University Press, 2016), Day’s research focuses on the visual culture and literature of Asian North America. (Dr. Day already spoke at a jointly hosted Asian American Center and Carolina Asia Center event in the “Anti-Blackness and Alliance” series: video available here with ONYEN login.)

Rajiv Mohabir, a faculty member in the BFA/MFA program in Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College, is an award-winning Indo-Carribean poet and translator of poetry. Mohabir’s first book of poetry The Taxidermist’s Cut (Four Way Books, 2016) exposes the wounds of coming of age as a queer brown youth. I Even Regret Night: Holi Songs of Demerara (Kaya Press, 2019), Mohabir’s translation of Lalbihari Sharma’s 1916 book of poems, the only known literary work by an indentured servant in the Anglophone Caribbean, captures the hardships of life as an island “coolie” worker.

Dr. Nitasha Tamar Sharma, of the Department of African American Studies and the Program in Asian American Studies at Northwestern University, brings to the AAC Fellows a focus on the relationships between racialized peoples, specifically intersections of Black, Native, and Asian America. In Hawai’i is my Haven: Race and Indigeneity in the Black Pacific (Duke University Press, forthcoming August 2021) Sharma explores essential questions regarding race, identity, art, and place.