Peter Kwong (1941-2017)
Peter Kwong was Distinguished Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning at Hunter College, as well as Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He was a pioneer in Asian American studies, a leading scholar of immigration, and an award-winning journalist and filmmaker, widely recognized for his passionate commitment to human rights and social justice. As a scholar, he was best known for his work on Chinese Americans and on modern Chinese politics. His books include Chinese America: The Untold Story of America's Oldest New Community and Chinese Americans: An Immigrant Experience, co-authored with his wife, Chinese historian Dusanka Miscevic. His other books include Forbidden Workers: Chinese Illegal Immigrants and American Labor (selected by Barnes and Noble as one of the Ten Best Nonfiction Books of 1998), The New Chinatown, and Chinatown, New York: Labor and Politics 1930-1950. He was a frequent contributor to The Nation, The International Herald Tribune, The Globe and Mail, Village Voice and other major English language publications. His exposés of Chinese drug syndicates and Los Angeles racial riots have been nominated for Pulitzer Prize. Kwong was also a documentary filmmaker, a recipient of a CINE Golden Eagle Award, and most recently a co-producer of Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province for HBO, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2010. As an activist, he spoke regularly to the media on immigrant and labor issues. His scholarship was informed by vigorous public activism and the belief in advancing social causes through a combination of media and academia, both in the classroom and in the society at large. Named "one of the 100 Most Influential Asian Americans of the Decade" by A Magazine, Kwong was also a recipient of the President's Award for Excellence in Scholarship from Hunter College.