Mark Padoongpatt

Professor and Director, Asian and Asian American Studies
Expertise: Asian American history, 20th-century U.S. history, Race and racism, Suburbs, Thai cuisine


Mark Padoongpatt, an associate professor within UNLV's Department of Interdisciplinary, Gender, and Ethnic Studies, serves as director of the Asian and Asian American Studies program. 

Padoongpatt researches and writes on the histories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the 20th-century United States, with a focus on empire, migration, race, and urban and suburban cultures. His Ph.D. thesis-turned-book, Flavors of Empire: Food and the Making of Thai America (University of California Press, 2017) — which explores how and why Thai food shaped the contours of Thai American community and identity since World War II — landed him an appearance on Padma Lakshmi's Hulu show "Taste the Nation." Padoongpatt is currently writing a book and developing a podcast series on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Las Vegas titled "Neon Pacific," which explores histories of race, space, and placemaking in Vegas.

At UNLV, Padoongpatt teaches a range of courses in Asian American Studies and on the interdisciplinary research process, including Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies, Interdisciplinary Research Methods, and the Interdisciplinary Capstone class.


  • Ph.D., American Studies & Ethnicity, University of Southern California

Mark Padoongpatt In The News

May 18, 2021
Home is where the heart is and for many native Hawaiians and Las Vegas has become their adopted home. In fact, so many have settled in Southern Nevada that Vegas has earned a reputation as being the "ninth island."
May 11, 2021
You may have heard of the term AAPI on the news in recent months, but if you didn’t know it stands for Asian American Pacific Islander.
March 2, 2021
With the help of celebrity chef and entrepreneur Jet Tila, award-winning restaurateurs Saipin and Sabrina Chutima, and author Mark Padoongpatt, in this episode, we trace the history of Thai food in America, from pad thai’s surprisingly recent origins to the Thai government’s efforts at gastrodiplomacy.
September 14, 2020
Mark Padoongpatt ’11, a professor of Asian American studies, turned his Ph.D. thesis into a book on Thai immigrants that landed him air time on the Hulu show hosted by Padma Lakshmi.

Articles Featuring Mark Padoongpatt

Campus News | June 8, 2021
A collection of news stories highlighting celebration, health, and progress at UNLV.
A man gestures while on stage
Campus News | May 25, 2021
Associate professor Mark Padoongpatt will tackle the history of and rise in anti-Asian sentiment and violence in a special episode of 'We Need to Talk.'
A man sits smiling at a restaurant table.
Arts and Culture | September 19, 2019
A new book explores what Thai food in America can tell us about the people cooking it and the people consuming it.