Over the past 250 years, the United States has developed rules on who gets to call themselves an American and who doesn’t through laws, legislation and walls. Writer and Thai-American Jaed Coffin is calling on U.S. citizens to spend less time asking who is an American and more time asking how people have become an American. Jaed Coffin is the author of A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants, a memoir about the summer he spent as a Buddhist monk in his mother’s village in Thailand and Roughhouse Friday, which chronicles the year he won the middleweight title of a barroom boxing show in Alaska. Jaed teaches creative writing at UNH. He’s currently working on a television series about the experiences of Mexican carnival workers in Maine during the 2016 election year.