UMass Boston

Shirley Suet Ling Tang

Asian American Studies Program
Distinguished Univ Professor
Wheatley Hall Floor 02

Areas of Expertise

War, gender, and migration | race and development | Southeast Asian American cultural and community studies | Chinese / Asian diasporic pop culture | collaborative / participatory research methodologies | storytelling via media production | AANAPISI / MSI research and practice 


PhD, University at Buffalo, American Studies
BA, Chinese University of Hong Kong, English

Professional Publications & Contributions

Additional Information

Dr. Shirley Suet-ling Tang (鄧雪齡) is a national leader in developing a model of curricular innovation for digital storytelling, pedagogies of wholeness, and AANAPISI-centered knowledge production. She has more than two dozen publications in print and received the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at UMass Boston in 2016.

Her research, teaching, and creative activities involve: (1) developing collaborative and participatory knowledge-building models, research methodologies, and ethnic studies pedagogies; (2) modeling and agenda-setting for AANAPISI/Minority-Serving Institutions research and development; and (3) community-based research and documentation, particularly in local Khmer, Vietnamese, and Chinese diasporic communities.

Dr. Tang is a co-principal investigator for UMass Boston’s five-year U.S. Department of Education AANAPISI Part F grant from 2016 to 2021, and has nearly 20 years of experience with digital storytelling in higher education institutions and community organizations. Her current priority projects focus on researching and developing methodologies for critical reflection, narrative construction, and knowledge co-production in collaboration with minority-serving institutional partners including the Institute for New England Native American Studies, Bunker Hill Community College (an AANAPISI and Minority-Serving Institution), Langston University (a historically Black university in Tulsa, Oklahoma), and others.

As co-principal investigator, co-investigator, or collaborator with partners at UMass Boston and other higher education institutions, Dr. Tang has garnered substantial funding to support research, curriculum development, community engagement, and other projects from the U.S. Department of Education, National Endowment for Humanities, National Institutes for Health, Corporation for National and Community Service, Association of American Colleges and Universities, and the Rockefeller Foundation, among other organizations. 

In 2015–2016, Dr. Tang was a research fellow at the Penn Center for Minority-Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a humanities scholar of the Boston Asian American Film Festival. In 2014, she received the Innovation in Community Engaged Teaching Award from UMass Boston, and in 2004, Honorable Mention of the Ernest A. Lynton Award for Faculty Professional Service and Academic Outreach from the New England Resource Center for Higher Education and American Association of Higher Education.

Dr. Tang's digital story videos co-produced with students have won first prize in the Boston Asian American Film Festival Short Waves: Short Film Competition (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018).

Prior to joining UMass Boston, Dr. Tang held appointments at ROCA Inc. and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She led many projects related to public health research, young women organizing, and public art in immigrant and refugee communities in Massachusetts. She also worked as a contributing editor for the Hong Kong Film Biweekly.

She is an affiliated faculty member of the Critical Ethnic and Community Studies graduate program in the College of Liberal Arts at UMass Boston and a visiting artist and scholar at Bunker Hill Community College in 2020–2021.

Digital Storytelling in Asian American Studies Lab

Led by Dr. Tang, the Digital Storytelling in Asian American Studies Lab is a 16+-year commitment to student- and community-centered knowledge coproduction, research and documentation, and archival development. Digital storytelling productions from the lab contribute to training, community capacity building, and public policy advocacy.


Facebook: The Bee Channel:

Instagram: The Bee Channel

COVID-19 Outbreak Racism Stories© Project: Sampling Video 1.0:

Thiem, L., & Tang, S. S. (2018). Digital storytelling in Asian American Studies facilitator's guide 1.0.  University of Massachusetts Boston, Asian American Student Success Program.

More about Dr. Tang’s Work

Dr. Tang's ScholarWorks page.

Dr. Shirley Tang: Wielding the Power of Digital Storytelling. Color Magazine, May 2019.

Using Digital Storytelling for Empowering Students to be Producers of Knowledge. In UMass Boston Office of Community Partnerships Newsletter, May 2019.

Courses Taught

  • AsAmSt 100G Asian American Visual Culture and Cool
  • AmSt G100 U.S. Culture and Society
  • AmSt 100 American Identities
  • AsAmSt Z220 Special Topics: Chinese Diasporic Pop Culture
  • AsAmSt 225L Southeast Asians in the US
  • AsAmSt 228L Asian Women in the US
  • AsAmSt 270 Cambodian American Culture & Community
  • AsAmSt 333 Asian American Politics and Social Movements
  • AfrSty/AmSt 350 Race, Class, Gender
  • AsAmSt 370 Asian American Media Literacy
  • WoSt/AmSt 376 Women of Color
  • AsAmSt 390 Asian American Community Internship
  • AsAmSt 397/398 Applied Research in Asian American Studies
  • AmSt 405 The Immigrant Experience
  • AsAmSt 420 Advanced Topics: AANAPISI Digital Media
  • AsAmSt 497/498 Teaching & Learning in Asian American Studies
  • AmSt 605 Ethnicity, Race, Nationality
  • TCCS 622 Transdisciplinary Research in Practice
  • GISD 697 Special Topics: Digital Storytelling Praxis