UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center has appointed Jerry Kang, a professor and influential scholar of law and Asian American studies at UCLA, as the inaugural holder of the nation’s first chair in Korean American studies.
The Korea Times–Hankook Ilbo Chair in Korean American Studies at UCLA was named in recognition of one of the chair’s donors, Jae Min Chang, a UCLA alumnus and the chairman, publisher and CEO of the Korea Times, the largest Korean American newspaper in the United States. Hankook Ilbo is its sister newspaper in Korea.
Other donors to the endowed chair include UCLA alumnus Mike Hong, chairman and CEO of Dura Coat Products Inc., a resin and coatings chemical company, and Do Won Chang, co-founder and CEO of fashion retailer Forever 21.
“Professor Jerry Kang is an outstanding and accomplished scholar and an award-winning and exceptionally gifted teacher,” said David K. Yoo, director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. “As a leading legal mind with an exemplary record of innovative and interdisciplinary scholarship, Professor Kang will contribute a great deal to the field of Korean American studies.”
Kang, a founding co-chair of the UCLA School of Law’s critical race studies specialization, has written about such topics as the Japanese American internment during World War II, racial violence against Asian Americans, and Asian American civic and political engagement. His research on legal issues and communication technologies has included innovative work on cyberspace law and the social impacts of new information structures.
In 1998, Kang was named the UCLA School of Law’s Professor of the Year, and in 2007, he received the Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was also honored with the 2010 Eby Award for the Art of Teaching, one of six distinguished teaching awards given by UCLA.
Born in Seoul, Kang was raised in Illinois and earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and a law degree with honors from Harvard University.
“It is a deep honor to be named to the Korea Times–Hankook Ilbo Chair in Korean American Studies,” Kang said. “It is the first chair of its kind, and I am mindful of both the recognition and the responsibility that it carries.
“Since my research spans multiple fields, I’m excited about the chair allowing me to focus more of my research on matters that interest and impact Korean Americans. Some examples include comparative work between Korean and United States Internet law, as well as the rise of Korean American lawyers.”
The Los Angeles metropolitan area, with approximately 300,000 Korean Americans, is home to the largest urban concentration of people of Korean descent outside Korea.
The UCLA Asian American Studies Center, founded in 1969, houses the nation’s premier research, publications, public education, and archival and library programs in Asian American studies. The center’s nearly 50 faculty members specialize in disciplines ranging from the social sciences to the humanities and represent many professional fields, including law, urban planning, education, public health and the arts.
Along with numerous books and reports, the center’s press publishes the Amerasia Journal and the journal AAPI Nexus. The center also maintains an array of relationships with organizations, elected and community leaders, corporations, and foundations throughout the nation and the world.
With the new Korea Times–Hankook Ilbo Chair in Korean American Studies, UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center now has four endowed chairs, which focus on various Asian American groups and issues such as U.S.–China relations.