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Deenesh Sohoni

Director of Asian & Pacific Islander American Studies, Professor of Sociology

As director of Asian & Pacific Islander American (APIA) studies and professor of sociology, Deenesh Sohoni’s research projects examine issues such as racial and economic segregation in American public schools, the social incorporation of Asian Americans, the development of anti-immigrant attitudes in the United States, and military naturalization and U.S. citizenship. Sohoni researched veteran deportation with Yosselin Turcios ’20 beginning in her freshman year as part of the W&M Scholars Undergraduate Research Experience (WMSURE) program. WMSURE provides support for all undergraduates who want to conduct research. Yosselin called her experience with Professor Sohoni “one of the most rewarding experiences” of her undergraduate career.

Along with Professor Francis Tanglao Aguas, Professor Sohoni helped build the APIA studies program he now leads, with the university offering both a major and minor in APIA studies. As co-chairs of the William & Mary Asian Centennial commemoration, Sohoni and Aguas together also led the university's celebration of 100 years of Asian-American students at W&M. The commemoration began in 2021 and featured a year and a half packed with academic collaborations, research, performances and other programs. It also brought to campus three Asian Centennial Arts Fellows, the inaugural William & Mary Asian Centennial Awards and launched the Asian Pacific Middle Eastern (APM) Research Project. As part of the APM research project, two undergraduate students, Sumie Yotsukura '22 and Brian Zhao '23 enrolled in an independent study course with Sohoni to find out more about the first students of Asian descent — leading to the installation of the public exhibit “Pu Kao Chen: Thoughts of 1923 U.S. & W&M” at Swem Library.

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