Yvonne Kwan

Yvonne Kwan

Associate Professor

Department of Sociology & Interdisciplinary Social Sciences 




Southeast Asian American Studies, critical refugee studies, critical race, trauma, memory, higher education


Current Research Activities

I am an Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies in the Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at San Jose State University. As the Director of the Ethnic Studies Collaborative, I have worked closely with campus community partners and other Ethnic Studies faculty in the College of Social Sciences to create a minor in Comparative U.S. Race and Ethnic Relations. Having served as Co-Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi/American Task Force, I have advocated for curricular and co-curricular support for APID/A students. My research has been published in the Journal of Asian American Studies, New Directions for Higher Education, and the Bilingual Research Journal. My current book manuscript addresses transgenerational transmission of trauma among Cambodian Americans in California. I was also the convener and lead organizer of the 2020 Southeast Asian American Studies Conference.


Research Connections to Current Events

My research specialties include an important mix of micro and macro subjects (colonialism and affect), social theory, law and society, mixed methods, trauma and memory, mental health, and race (critical race and critical refugee studies). My research trajectory moves in two complementary directions. First, I study the transmission of trauma across generations with a particular focus on Southeast Asian refugee populations. I ground such trauma studies in core sociological areas: power, inequality, immigration, family, gender, race, and stratification. Second, as related to the first, I examine the impact of broad historical macro-experiences of colonialism, post-colonialism, immigration, and refugee status on cultural identity, education and achievement, and affect. Of all of these issues continue to be connected to increasing social inequalities -- especially as related to the impacts of COVID-19, anti-immigrant sentiment, and racism.