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

City Cast Las Vegas
Vegas restaurant icon Lotus of Siam put Thai food in our city on the national map — one food critic called it the “bestThai food in North America,” and chef Saipin Chutima has won a James Beard award (which is basically the Grammys of food).
K.N.P.R. News
May is Asian America and Pacific Islander Month, a time we recognize the history, culture and achievements of the AAPI community.
City Cast Las Vegas
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) History Month (or AAPI Heritage Month, depending on who you ask). Here in Clark County, AAPI is our fastest-growing ethnic group, with an expanding footprint in a growing city.
K.N.P.R. News
Nevada Public Radio debuts Exit Spring Mountain, a 10-episode podcast about Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in Southern Nevada.

Articles Featuring Mark Padoongpatt

2022 UNLV Spring Commencement Ceremony for the Graduate College.  May 13, 2022 (Josh Hawkins/UNLV)
Campus News | June 2, 2022

A collection of news stories highlighting the experts and student changemakers at UNLV.

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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.'