John Kuo Wei (Jack) Tchen

Inaugural Clement A. Price Chair in Public History and the Humanities
Director, Clement A. Price Institute
Professor of History


Jack TchenJack Tchen is a facilitator, teacher, historian, curator, re-organizer, and dumpster diver. He works on understanding the multiple presents, pasts, and futures of American cities and metropolitan areas, identity formations, trans-local cross-cultural communications, archives and epistemologies, and progressive pedagogy. He also works on decolonizing Eurocentric ideas, theories, and practices and making our cultural organizations and institutions more representative and democratic.


Professor Tchen is the founding director of the Asian/Pacific/American (A/P/A) Studies Program and Institute at New York University and part of the original founding faculty of the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, NYU. He co-founded the Museum of Chinese in America in 1979-80 where he continues to serve as senior historian.


He is author of the award-winning books New York before Chinatown: Orientalism and the Shaping of American Culture, 1776-1882 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001) and Genthe's Photographs of San Francisco's Old Chinatown, 1895-1905 (Dover Publications, 1984). He is the co-author, along with Dylan Yeats, of Yellow Peril! An Archive of Anti-Asian Fear, which was published by Verso in 2014. Professor Tchen is now working on a book about New York City that focuses on the unrecognized tradition of intermingling people, creativity, and improvisation among everyday residents. He regularly collaborates with filmmakers and media producers, artists and collectors, and, through the A/P/A Institute, sponsors and produces hundreds of programs and performances.


Professor Tchen has been building research collections of Asians in the Americas for over three decades. In doing so, he has critically examined practices of collecting and archiving to make sense of how we come to know what we know and don't know. He was awarded the Charles S. Frankel Prize from the National Endowment for the Humanities and in 2012 received the NYU MLK Jr Humanitarian Award. He is co-principle investigator of the report “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: Facts, Not Fiction - Setting the Record Straight,” produced with The College Board. He is currently co-chairing the effort at the Smithsonian Institution to form an Asian Pacific American Center. Most recently, he co-curated the Museum of Chinese in America’s core exhibition, With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America, in a space designed by Maya Lin, and served on New York City’s Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers.



Salamishah Tillet

Associate Director, Clement A. Price Institute
Professor, African American and African Studies

Salamishah Tillet



Salamishah Tillet is currently the Robert S. Blank Presidential Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies and a faculty member of the Alice Paul Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a much sought-after commenter on the politics of artistic expression and a leading thinker on the relationship between art and social justice. In 2003, she co-founded A Long Walk Home, a Chicago-based national non-profit that uses art to educate, inspire, and mobilize young people to end violence against girls and women.


Professor Tillet received her Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization and A.M. in English from Harvard University and her M.A.T. from Brown University. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania where she received her B.A. in English and Afro-American Studies. In 2010-11, she was the recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Fellowship for Career Enhancement and served as a visiting fellow at the Center of African American Studies at Princeton University.  In 2010, she was awarded the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Award for Distinguished Teaching by an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.  In 2013-14, she was a Scholar-in-Residence at Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.


Her book Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in the Post-Civil Rights Imagination (Duke University Press, 2012) examines how contemporary African American artists, writers, and intellectuals remember antebellum slavery within post-Civil Rights America in order to challenge the ongoing exclusion of African Americans from America’s civic myths and to model a racially democratic future. In 2010, she co-edited the Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters Special Issue on Ethiopia and her work has appeared in American Literary History, American Quarterly, Callaloo, Novel, Research in African Literatures, Savoring the Salt: The Legacy of Toni Cade Bambara, Violence in the Lives of Black Women: Battered, Black, and Blue, and Women's Review of Books.  She is currently working on a book on the civil rights icon Nina Simone.    


Salamishah has appeared on the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, TedxWomen, and written blogs and editorials for The Atlantic, the Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, The Nation, the New York Times, The Root, and Time.  In 2010, she wrote the liner notes for John Legend and The Roots’ three-time Grammy award-winning album, Wake Up!.  In 2013, she published Gloria Steinem: The Kindle Singles Interview for Amazon.


Her research interests include American Studies, twentieth and twenty-first century African American literature, film, popular music, cultural studies, and feminist theory.