Meet Krupal Amin, Associate Director of the Asian American Center at UNC


UNC alumnus Krupal Amin has returned to university after more than a decade, now as associate director of the Asian American Center.

Amin took office in July.

“The ability to help build a center very close to my home, at least for me, is very important to me on campus,” Amin said. “I was delighted to be able to transfer at the right time to the right place. ”

Amin received his undergraduate degree in English and Comparative Literature from UNC-CH and then obtained his Masters in English Literature from UNC-Charlotte. While at UNC-CH, Amin co-founded Tar Heel Raas, one of the University’s South Asian dance teams.

Amin then completed his doctorate in English literature at Ohio State University. Prior to returning to UNC-CH, she taught American Studies, Critical Race Theory, and Women and Gender Studies at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

“It’s really great to be able to come back after this long and kind of looking around and say, ‘Oh, wow, there’s a space on campus that’s dedicated to this kind of work,’” Amin said. .

The AAC was founded in 2020. The center’s mission is to “cultivate a critical understanding of Asian-American people, cultures and histories,” according to its website.

Heidi Kim, director of AAC, said Amin’s programming work includes planning college conferences, community workshops, community conversations and partnership programs around the college.

Kim said she felt lucky to have found someone who graduated from UNC-CH, has a degree in Asian American Studies, and helped found a student organization of American interest. Asian origin.

“It was really great working with her, and there is no doubt that, especially this year, as we opened up the physical space and started doing in-person programming, it would have been impossible to maintain it alone. “Kim said. “It was really just like finding a gem.

Susin Seow, Deputy Director of Major Grants at UNC-CH, helped facilitate support for AAC. Seow said she was delighted to welcome Amin to the community.

“She really understands the context,” Seow said. “You know, she really understands, I think, what we’re trying to do with the center.”

In her research, Amin said she focuses on American multiethnic literature from the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as coming of age stories, such as the bildungsroman. kind.

She is currently working on an article on “Jasmine” by Bharati Mukherjee, a book about a protagonist who comes to the United States at a young age, learns to navigate the country after the Cold War and who she wants to be as an American. of Asian origin. Amin said she identifies with the main character.

“So she comes to America on her own,” Amin said. “… I was born in India, then my parents sort of came when I was young.”

As someone with extensive experience in English literature, Amin said her research is relevant to the work she does in terms of Asian American programming for the center.

“It helps to know what cutting edge research is being done to understand where conversations are at about the Asian-American experiences,” Amin said.

One of the long-term goals Amin wants to achieve is for the Center to emphasize that the South is more than just a black-white binary.

“So what does it mean for us to have a center for Asian Americans in a geographic region that has been based on a white and black binary for a very long time? ” she said. “What does it mean to have a racialized experience that doesn’t fit into any of these categories? “

Amin’s literary background also frames how she views institutional advancement in diversity.

“I think one of the things I enjoyed the most about my training is that when you read something you really have to slow down and not try to jump to conclusions, not try to find the right solution by five minutes, ”Amin said. “We have to slow down if we are working towards diversity. You can’t make it better by somehow putting a bandage solution on something. “

Amin said she hopes to see students and faculty visit the AAC. She said the conversation about Asian Americans is long term, and one has to be engaged to understand.

“It’s the Asian American Center, but we welcome everyone,” Amin said. “I think that’s part of our mission, it’s sort of saying that we offer information, we offer conversations, we offer the opportunity to understand each other. ‘is centered on the idea of ​​the Asian American experience, but anyone can always find out more, even Asian Americans. “


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