Asian American Studies

Teresa Williams León

Dr. Teresa Williams-Leon
Office location:
Jerome Richfield 340


Dr. Teresa Williams León

"Asian American Studies is important because it was born out of the passion, dedication, and struggle of Asian Americans and people of all ethnic groups who knew that the critical examination of Asian Americans has a legitimate place in higher education."

Teresa receiving the Prism AwardDr. Williams León is currently serving as the acting director of the American Indian Studies Program.  Her research and teaching interest focus on transnational, transborder, multiethnic/multiracial identity, communities and institutions, race and ethnic relations, and the multiracial/multiethnic Asian diaspora in Japan, the United States and Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Williams León has published numerous articles and book chapters. She has also been featured in documentary films and media presentations on multiracial and transnational identities. She co-edited, with Professor Velina Hasu Houston of USC., the special issues of Amerasia Journal (1997, Vol. 23, No. 1) titled, "No Passing Zone: The Artistic and Discursive Voices of Asian-Descent Multiracials," which has now become part of Amerasia's classic series. She co-edited an anthology with Cynthia L. Nakashima of UC Berkeley titled, "The Sum of Our Parts: Mixed Heritage Asian Americans" (Temple University Press, 2001).

She has taught some of the first classes on multiracial/biracial identity at UC-Santa Barbara, UCLA, and CSUN. She has been a faculty member at CSUN since Fall of 1996. She is a board member of Hapa Issues Forum, Southern California Chapter and an advisory board member of the national organization of Hapa Issues Forum.

Dr. Teresa Williams-Leon speaks at the AAS 25th Anniversary CelebrationDr. Williams León, with her colleague, Dr. Masequesmay, was awarded a $45,000 grant from the Ford Foundation in 2001-2002 to organize and develop a national educational conference titled " CrossTalk II: Embodiments of Asian Pacific Islander Sexuality" to promote dialogue and research among community-based organizers, biomedical researchers, scholars, educators, artists, social scientists, health care providers, and humanists, as well as to affect social policy issues around Asian American sexuality and sensuality issues. Dr. Williams León is a CSUN Ally with the Positive Space Program (PSP).

In 2002, Teresa Williams Leon was awarded the Prism Award from the National Hapa Issues Forum for her contributions to multiracial identity scholarship. In 2004 & 2005, she was awarded the Polished Apple Teaching Awards from the University Ambassadors. In 2007, she won CSUN's Outstanding Faculty Award & in 2009, she was recognized for her commitment to international education with the "Outstanding Service Award" by the Omega chapter of Phi Beta Delta (the international scholar's society).


  • Ph.D. Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles, 1997
  • M.A. Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles, 1991
  • M.A. Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, 1989
  • B.A. Japanese Language and Literature with a certificate in Ethnic Studies, University of Hawaii, Manoa, 1986
  • A.A. Asian Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, 1983

Scholarship Highlights

  • Dr.  León is currently collaborating on publication projects with Dr. Velina Hasu Houston (USC), Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks (LMU) and Dr. H. Rika Houston (CSULA) on multiraciality & intersectionality.
  • Co-editor (with Eunai Shrake and Edith Wen-Chu Chen) Asian Pacific American Experiences:  Past, Present and Future (Kendall-Hunt Publishers, 2020).
  • Co-editor (with Cynthia L. Nakashima), The Sum of Our Parts: Mixed Heritage Asian Americans (Temple University Press, 2001).
  • Co-editor, (with Velina Hasu Houston), special issues of Amerasia Journal (1997, Vol. 23, No. 1) titled, "No Passing Zone: The Artistic and Discursive Voices of Asian-Descent Multiracials."

Asian Pacific American ExperiencesThe Sum of Our Parts book