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Theo Gonzalves elected president of the Association for Asian American Studies

In a year that featured a record number of votes cast, Theo Gonzalves, an associate professor of American studies, has been elected to serve as president of the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS).

The association was founded in 1979 to advance high standards of teaching, research, and service in the field of Asian American Studies. The national organization hosts conferences, events, special projects, and symposia each year to engage AAAS priorities. “Equally important is the degree to which the association’s various objectives – specifically as they intersect with advocating and representing the interests and welfare of Asian American Studies and Asian Americans – reflect multiple communities and varied identities,” notes the association’s website.

The AAAS president serves as the chief executive officer of the association, leads an executive board, convenes the annual meeting, and establishes operational budgets for the organization. Professor Gonzalves will serve a one-year term in 2017-2018 as president-elect, and a two-year term from 2018 to 2020 as president.

Gonzalves has research interests in Asian American studies, ethnic studies, U.S.-Philippine relations, Filipino American histories and cultures, and performance studies. He has a particular focus on the power of expressive forms.

His book-length projects include: Stage Presence: Conversations with Filipino American Artists (2007)The Day the Dancers Stayed: Performing in the Filipino/American Diaspora (2009)Carlos Villa and the Integrity of Spaces (2011); and, with Rod Labrador, Filipinos in Hawaii (2011). His work has been supported with a Fulbright award, a Meet the Composer grant, and senior fellowships at the Library of Congress and Smithsonian.

“Since 1989, the Association for Asian American Studies has been my professional home,” Gonzalves says. “I have served as a graduate student representative, Hawaii Regional representative, a member of site and program committees, and a member of the Filipino Studies caucus. I have seen up close how colleagues have worked diligently to sustain our Association. I continue to fight for our field by mentoring young scholars, helping to build an Asian American studies minor program from scratch, creating new courses, and founding UMBC’s Asian American Faculty Council.”

As president, Gonzalves says he will aim to coordinate a robust AAAS social media presence; improve external funding to support students, community activists, and conference attendance; advance opportunities for professional development for K-12 instructors; and explore international exchange opportunities in Asia and other regions.

Read more about Gonzalves’ work and research on the American studies website, and learn more about his Smithsonian fellowship to study music’s cultural impact in UMBC Magazine.

Image: Theo Gonzalves. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.