Mark Padoongpatt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Asian and Asian American Studies; Interdisciplinary Studies; Director of Asian and Asian American Studies
Mark Padoongpatt received his Ph.D. in American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California in 2011. His research centers on the experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the twentieth century United States. Using historical and cultural analysis, he examines the intersection of the social with the political as well as the transnational, global character of American culture and society. Dr. Padoongpatt is especially interested in the way race and ethnicity gets constructed in the textures of everyday life—in seemingly insignificant sites such as food. His goal is to better understand new populations, explore new social and cultural phenomena, and unpack the complexities and diversity of Asian and Pacific Islander America.
His recently published book, Flavors of Empire: Food and the Making of Thai America (University of California Press, American Crossroads series), explores how and why Thai food has shaped the contours of Thai American community and identity since World War II. Padoongpatt argues that foodways, more than just cultural heritage, became an indispensable part of the Thai American experience because of the confluence of U.S. Cold War intervention in Southeast Asia, the rise of discretionary leisure spending and consumer services, and the ascension of Los Angeles as a multicultural global city over the second half of the twentieth century. The book stands as the first historical examination of Thai Americans. His work also appears in the Radical History Review (April 2011), the Journal of American Ethnic History (January 2015), Eating Asian America: A Food Studies Reader (edited by Robert Ku, Anita Mannur, and Martin Manalansan, New York University Press, 2013), and in the anthology Food Across Borders (edited by Matt Garcia, Don Mitchell, and Melanie DuPuis, Rutgers University Press, October 2017).
Dr. Padoongpatt teaches courses in Asian American Studies, core courses in the interdisciplinary studies degree sequence (IDS 201, IDS 240, IDS 494, and IDS 495) and, on occasion, the College of Liberal Arts first-year experience course (COLA 100).