Robert Chang

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Robert ChangPlease describe any professional and extra-curricular activities in which you are engaged that are related to social justice. Such activities can encompass a wide range: examples include service on non-profit bodies or on commissions, pro-bono representation, fact-finding, and other professional and extra-curricular activities.

I direct the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at the law school. We engage in a variety of advocacy projects in the service of social justice. The Korematsu Center, workisng with the Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic, offers a civil rights clinic in which we work with students on cases and advocacy projects. One case that we have been working on since January 2012 is a case in Arizona that is now before the Ninth Circuit. I am co-counsel to high school students in the Tucson Unified School District who have challenged the constitutionality of an Arizona law that has resulted in the elimination of that district's Mexican American Studies Program. You may learn more about the case here: http://www.law.seattleu.edu/centers-and-institutes/korematsu-center/arizona-ethnic-studies-case

You may find out more about the Korematsu Center and its activities here: http://www.law.seattleu.edu/centers-and-institutes/korematsu-center

Please describe any scholarly projects in which you have or are engaged that involve social justice.

The Korematsu Center played an integral role in creating the Task Force on Race and the Criminal Justice System. As part of this work, I led a research team that produced a report on race and Washington's Criminal Justice System. This report was published simultaneously in the Seattle University Law Review, the Gonzaga Law Review, and the Washington Law Review. The report and further information about the Task Force can be found here: http://www.law.seattleu.edu/centers-and-institutes/korematsu-center/race-and-criminal-justice

I have an article, The Invention of Asian Americans, forthcoming in the UC Irvine Law Review that explores identity and coalition building. It begins by examining amicus briefs submitted in Fisher v. Texas by Asian American organizations in support of and in opposition to affirmative action. What does it mean when groups that purportedly protect, advance, and represent the interests of Asian Americans invoke the historical treatment of Asian Americans and present facts about Asian Americans but end up advocating for opposite outcomes? My article starts with the competing Asian American perspectives and assertions of authority expressed in these briefs to explore the theme of a Symposium at the UC Irvine School of Law, provocatively entitled, Reigniting Community: Strengthening the APA Identity. The Symposium theme makes two assumptions: (1) there is a community to be reignited; and (2) there is an APA identity that exists to be strengthened. These assumptions in turn beg two questions: Why do we want to reignite community? To what end do we want to strengthen APA identity? To posit these as goals indicates that these are political projects. Describing them as political projects does not undermine or discredit them - it merely acknowledges the aspirational dimension of the Symposium theme that necessarily invokes identity politics. But group identity presumes a group. Part I provides context for the discussion of the Asian racial category. Part II discusses the construction of the Asian racial category that serves as the basis for Asian American communities and Asian American identity. Part III examines the relationship between individuals to the group in order to understand better what leads individuals to identify as members of a racial group and racialized community. Part IV returns to the politics of affirmative action and the role that Asian Americans play in this debate. Included in this discussion is the dynamic of racial triangulation and the role it plays in helping to consolidate identity as well as coalitions. That article is available here: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2228901

For more information, please visit Professor Chang's Faculty Profile Page.