College of Arts and Sciences


  • Wong’s New Book Focuses on Political Participation of Asian Americans

    November 3, 2011

    Professor Janelle Wong, Director of the Institute of Public Service, just published “Asian American Political Participation: Emerging Constituents and Their Political Identities” with S. Karthick Ramakrishnan, Taeku Lee, and Jane Junn (Russell Sage Foundation, 2011). The book is a comprehensive study of Asian American political behavior, including such key measures as voting, political donations, community organizing, and political protests. 

    “Although Asian Americas enjoy higher levels of education and income than any other racial group, they have exhibited limited participation in the U.S. political system,” Wong said. “This project suggests that the experience of Asian Americans is critical for how we understand democratic representation."

    The book examines why some Asian American groups participate while others do not, why certain civic activities are deemed preferable to others, and why Asian American socioeconomic advantage has so far not led to increased political clout.

    The authors collected data from the 2008 National Asian American Survey of more than 5,000 Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, and Japanese Americans. The book shows that the motivations for and impediments to political participation are as diverse as the Asian American population. For example, native-born Asians have higher rates of political participation than their immigrant counterparts, particularly recent adult arrivals who were socialized outside of the United States. Protest activity is the exception, which tends to be higher among immigrants who maintain connections abroad and who engaged in such activity in their country of origin. In addition, hate crimes and racial victimization are the factors that most motivate Asian Americans to participate politically.

    “Asian Americans are fast growing and lean Democratic overall,” Wong noted. “Understanding the conditions under which they engage in politics has important implications for the future of U.S. politics.”

    Wong received her Ph.D. from Yale University and joined the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences in July 2011. A prolific scholar, she has written extensively on nonprofit organizations and their role in political participation among Latino and Asian American immigrants. “Asian American Political Participation” is her third book. 

    The Institute of Public Service offers a Master of Public Administration, Master of Nonprofit Leadership, Bachelor of Public Affairs degree, and an undergraduate minor in public affairs. The institute works with neighboring communities and the region through applied research, collaborations, trainings, consultations, and public policy forums.

    The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 33 undergraduate and 7 advanced degrees.


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