Yvonne Y. Kwan

Photo of Yvonne Y. Kwan

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Scholar | Writer | Mentor

Dr. Yvonne Y. Kwan joined the Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at San Jose State University as an assistant professor of Asian American Studies in Fall 2017. She teaches classes in Asian American History and Politics, Southeast Asian Diaspora, Asian American Representation and Popular Culture, Asian American Communities, and Quantitative Methods. As the Director of the Ethnic Studies Collaborative (2019-2021) Kwan led efforts in the implementation of CA Assembly Bill 1460 (Ethnic Studies Graduation Requirement at the CSUs) at SJSU. She also helps to organize the CSU-wide Asian American Studies Caucus. In 2021, Kwan serves as the lead organizer of the Southeast Asian American Studies Conference.

Kwan’s current book manuscript, entitled Afterlives of Diaspora: Cambodian American Trauma and Memory, explores how social trauma may not be verbalized or articulated, but yet children of survivors can still develop the capacity to both identify with and experience the pain of previous generations. The successive generations bear witness to the pain of trauma, genocide, and relocation, whether consciously or not. Transgenerational traumatic memory then mediates the present with the past and the future, creating bodily intensities in the successive generations that open possibilities for social justice action and coalition building. The main lines of inquiry of this manuscript address 1) ways in which individual models of trauma converge with collective and affective notions of trauma as a collective and transgenerational phenomenon, 2) mechanisms of transference, and 3) implications of trauma for mental health and education—for the first and successive generations.

From 2015 to 2017, Kwan was a postdoc at Dartmouth College’s inaugural cohort of the Society of Fellows Program. Dr. Kwan received her PhD and MA in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz. She also has an MA in Race and Ethnic Studies in Education from UCLA. Her research has been generously funded by the American Sociological Association’s Minority Fellowship Program and the University of California. She has also served as a mentor for the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, Dartmouth’s First Generation Mentorship Program, UCSC EOP, and Southeast Asian American Studies Conference.

RESEARCH INTERESTS  mixed methods; feminist methodologies; critical race studies; critical refugee studies; Asian American studies; law and society; family; education; trauma, memory, mental health and affect; social theory.

EDUCATION
2015  Ph.D. Sociology, UCSC
2011  M.A.  Sociology, UCSC
2009  M.A. Education, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
2008 B.A., B.A. Ethnic Studies (Honors Distinction) and Psychology, UCSD (cum laude)