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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

February 26, 2010

Written by C.N.

Links & Announcements #21

Here are some more announcements and links out that have come my way relating to Asians or Asian Americans. As always, links to other sites are provided for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply an endorsement of their contents.

Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts: Special Issue Call

Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts invites submissions for the first issue of its fourth volume that will focus on “Intersections of Race and Gender.” Race/Ethnicity uses a classic piece as a point of departure for treatments of critical issues within the field of race and ethnic studies. While the classic piece establishes the thematic parameters of each issue, authors are under no obligation to actively engage the arguments posed by that work.

The issue will explore the multiple points where race and gender intersect across the globe, the range of consequences that meets those intersections, and the dynamics that occur at those intersections. Our focus on race and gender recognizes that there are numerous ways in which racialized and gendered identities intersect and that their intersection is often influenced by a variety of other cultural factors. We also welcome the viewpoints of practitioners working in the field. Deadline: February 28, 2010. Contact: Leslie Shortlidge at shortlidge.2@osu.edu; www.raceethnicity.org/coverart.html.

2010 Law & Social Inquiry Graduate Student Paper Competition

The editors of Law & Social Inquiry announce a competition for the best journal-length paper in the field of socio-legal studies written by a graduate or law student. Direct submissions as well as nominations of student work from faculty are invited.

The winning paper will be published in Law & Social Inquiry and the author(s) will receive a total cash prize of $500 (US). Law & Social Inquiry publishes both empirical and theoretical studies of socio-legal processes from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Deadline: March 1, 2010. Contact: (312) 988-6517; lsi-abf@abfn.org; www.blackwellpublishing.com/LSI.

American Institute of Indian Studies 2010 Fellowship

The American Institute of Indian Studies announces its 2010 fellowship competition and invites applications from scholars who wish to conduct their research in India. Junior fellowships are awarded to PhD candidates to conduct research for their dissertations in India for up to 11 months. Senior fellowships for scholars who hold the PhD degree are awarded for up to nine months of research in India. Deadline: July 1, 2010. Applications can be downloaded at www.indiastudies.org. Contact: (773) 702-8638; aiis@uchicago.edu.

Vietnamese American T-Shirts

My name is Ky Truong from San Jose, Ca. I recently started a line of Vietnamese inspired t-shirts called 3 Stripes Clothing. We are in the process of launching the line, but we decided to do something unique and let the people dictate what designs get printed by holding a poll on our Facebook fan page.

The reason why I started this line of t-shirts was because I felt that the Vietnamese community, especially those that are 2nd, 3rd or even 4th generation Vietnamese lack representation on the apparel market. When you look at the Filipino community, there are an abundance of shirts that represent their culture and pride. I would like to achieve that within the Vietnamese community.

February 25, 2010

Written by C.N.

Vancouver Olympic Inclusiveness, Except for Asians

Many of you probably watched the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics taking place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Much has been made of the ethnic and cultural inclusiveness of these Olympics, particularly as the first Olympics to include indigenous groups, as a reflection of Canada’s long and rich history of cultural diversity.

The Olympic Torch at the Opening Ceremonies © Richard Heathcote

But has everyone been included appropriately? As reported by the Associated Press, the Asian Canadian community in Vancouver feels particularly left out, especially considering that they make up 30% of Vancouver’s population:

The Olympic opening ceremony celebrated Canada’s aboriginals and French speakers, but gave little hint of Vancouver’s huge, dynamic Asian population. Dismayed civic leaders are pleading for a different story at the closing show.

“It was a slap in the face,” Indo-Canadian activist Sukhi Sandhu said Thursday, referring to the opening show’s cultural segment. . . . Sandhu and his allies have called on the Vancouver Organizing Committee to ensure that the closing ceremony convey more of the character of greater Vancouver, where Chinese and South Asians comprise 30 percent of the area’s 2 million people. . . .

VANOC’s CEO, John Furlong, addressed the complaints this week, saying it was a “complex challenge” to portray Canada’s ethnic mosaic. He indicated it was too late to modify the closing ceremony, but suggested that by the end of the show there would be no doubt “who we are and who is here.” . . .

[T]hree French-Canadians were among the final 13 people given prestigious roles in the final stages of the ceremony, either helping carry the Olympic flag or assisting in the lighting of the Olympic cauldron. Sandhu and other critics were outraged that none of the 13 was what Canada classifies as “visible minorities” — Asians, blacks and other nonwhites.

“Why not Donovan Bailey? Why not Daniel Igali?” asked Sandhu, referring to the Jamaican-born Canadian sprinter who once held the world 100-meter record and the Nigerian-born wrestler who won an Olympic gold medal for Canada in 2000.

Alden Habacon, founder of an online magazine called Schema that covers multicultural trends, said he took note during the opening telecast when the Olympic flag emerged “carried by an all-white cast of Canadian heroes.”

“Don’t get me wrong — I love all of them,” he wrote. “The point is, if you were watching the opening ceremonies on television, you wouldn’t even know that it took place in the most Asian city in North America. Have any of the producers been to a high school in Vancouver?”

To give credit where credit is due, I was impressed by the amount and ways in which Canada’s indigenous groups were included in the opening ceremonies. I found their performances to be very majestic and inspiring, although I have to admit that I was a little uneasy that perhaps they were being put “on display” like some kind of museum artifact. Also, I appreciate that it can be difficult to ensure that all racial/ethnic/cultural groups are included appropriate, especially in such an ethnically diverse country as Canada.

Having said that, unfortunately, this apparent oversight on the part of Vancouver’s and Canada’s Olympic organizers seems to be another example of Asians — whether they’re in the U.S., Canada, or any other White-majority country — being treated as invisible minorities, in ironic contrast to their status as “visible minorities.”

Asian Americans certainly know this feeling of exclusion or ridicule too well and it is sad to see that in a country like Canada that, in many cases, prides itself on being more racially/ethnically tolerant than the U.S., these dynamics of marginalization toward our Asian Canadian counterparts apparently operate in much the same way.

February 22, 2010

Written by C.N.

Asian American Stories Needed for HBO Documentary

I received the announcement below seeking Asian American stories to spotlight for an HBO documentary on Asian American Heritage. Part of me finds it a little sad that we have to give kudos to a media outlet like HBO for including Asian Americans — that we still are fighting to be part of the American mainstream. At any rate, here’s your chance to be (a little more) rich and (possibly) famous.

Asian American Heritage Project Seeking Stories

Hello everyone,

I was hired to direct a documentary PSA series for HBO which shoots at the end of this month in NYC. It is my first directorial project for HBO and luckily the subject matter has the potential to be fantastic but needs to be handled with care. You might laugh out loud when you hear what it is, but it’s an HBO Asian American Heritage Doc PSA. I know I am Asian and am not the most seemingly culturally Asian guy out there, but I am told they hired me because I am both inside and outside those circles. Works for me!

Now here is where you come in. I want you and/or your friends to be in it! And you are on this email because I think you might be able to send some good candidates. And if you or they get chosen, they’ll be on HBO in May and get paid, etc.

So do you have a story to tell about your experience as an Asian American? Can you tell the story on camera? Your story could be funny or inspirational or touching. It could be about your grandmother or your education or your favorite food. It could be your immigration story, your family’s unique approach to holidays, your job. As long as it’s real and as long as it’s uniquely you.

As an example, we currently have a story of a Korean kid who was adopted into an Italian family in Pennsylvania. He grew up 100% culturally Italian while looking very Korean to his peers. He won the outstanding Italian American scholarship for college and accepted the award in front of a room full of confused old Italians. Hilarity ensues and lessons are learned.

We also have a story of a grandfather who came to America from China. He couldn’t read the menu at McDonalds but was hungry as hell. All he could read were the words “Happy” and “Meal” so that’s what he ordered. He still cherishes the toy he received on that day.

We want a wide range of stories about how being Asian in America has shaped you in some way. We can also explore issues such as Asian fetishes and why Asians seemingly love break dancing and rap (I’m learning a lot about that one). And it would be great to hear from some folks who left a lot behind to come here and do not regret their decisions one bit. But most of all we want to show strength and color from all ages, demographics and backgrounds.

Email asianheritageproject@gmail.com with your story and a little about your background and we will be in touch. And if you’re camera shy (or if this isn’t relevant to you) but know someone who is amazing, who is a great storyteller (maybe it’s your uncle, maybe it’s your best friend growing up), let them know. Spread the word.

I am looking for all Asian nationalities (East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia). Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Pakistani, Filipino, Vietnamese, Laotian, Hmong, Sri Lankan, Thai, Malaysian, Cambodian, etc. etc. (the list is endless). I am also looking for Bi-Racial folks, Adoptees, Transplants (Asian Americans from non-Asian countries – Brazil, Argentina, UK etc), Gay and Lesbian, 1st Generation, 2nd Generation, 3rd Generation, etc.

Religious or non-religious (Buddhist, Christian, Catholic, Shinto, Muslim, Hindu, Jain, Judaism, and others). Individuals who embrace or question their “Asian Heritage/Identity.” All ages, all incomes and all genders. You can get a PDF flyer of the project too.

Wow, this email is long. Thanks for reading this far and I hope you or someone you know sends their stories along!

Jon Yi // Director + Cinematographer
www.hellacine.com

February 17, 2010

Written by C.N.

Connecting Toyota and Asian Americans

As I’m sure almost everybody has heard about, these past few months have not been good for Toyota. Due to a variety of quality control issues, accident reports, and several fatalities involving many of their models, Toyota has recalled over 8.5 million vehicles worldwide, one of the largest mass automotive recall in history. With each passing day, new media scrutiny, and every piece of bad publicity, Toyota’s reputation continues to plummet.

In looking at the larger sociological context of Toyota’s struggles, there are a couple of questions that come up. First, as many observers have wondered, to what extent are Toyota’s problems due to them basically becoming too arrogant and viewing themselves and their products as invincible? That is, Toyota (along with several other Asian automakers) have weathered the current recession and in fact, the past several years, much better than U.S. automakers such as General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford, mainly by producing many high-quality, fuel-efficient cars. But did Toyota’s success make them complacent? As one example of this criticism, AutoBlog reports:

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has absolutely blasted the Japanese giant, calling it “a little safety deaf” and noting he was upset that NHTSA officials had to fly to Japan “to remind Toyota management about its legal obligations.” That’s just the tip of the spear stuff, too. Check out the shaft:

Since questions were first raised about possible safety defects, we have been pushing Toyota to take measures to protect consumers. While Toyota is taking responsible action now, it unfortunately took an enormous effort to get to this point. We’re not finished with Toyota and are continuing to review possible defects and monitor the implementation of the recalls.

In fact, as MSNBC reports, Toyota’s apparent initial lack of urgency to respond to the growing criticisms may be characteristic of many large Japanese who have also risen to the top of their industries, only to find that when you’re on top, there’s only one way to go — down:

Toyota is the latest Japanese corporate icon making headlines for all the wrong reasons. News of the automaker’s massive vehicle recalls over faulty gas pedals in the U.S. came just days after Japan Airlines, a once proud flag carrier, filed for bankruptcy, saddled with billions in debt.

Sony has lost its lead in consumer gadgets to the likes of Apple Inc. and has suffered its own quality mishaps. Honda, Japan’s No. 2 automaker, is recalling 646,000 cars worldwide because of a faulty window switch. . . . Taken together, Japan Inc.’s stellar reputation for quality has taken a hit — just as China is about to overtake it as the world’s No. 2 economy and rising South Korean companies compete ever more aggressively.

What went wrong with the economic giant that arose from the ashes of World War II? The problems that confront Toyota, Sony and JAL differ, but experts say their struggles have some common themes: the perils of global expansion, a tendency to embrace the status quo, and smugness bred from success or a too-big-to-fail mentality.

“Arrogance and some complacency came into play, driven by the idea that their ranking as No. 1 producer of quality goods wasn’t at risk,” said Kirby Daley [chief strategist at Newedge Group]. . . . The global economic crisis helped to expose weaknesses, he said. “There was nowhere to hide.”

Clearly, Toyota has a lot of work to do in order to regain customers’ trust and to rebuild their image for making safe and reliable cars. But beyond that, does Toyota’s recent problems affect Asian Americans?

In my classes, I often use Toyota as an analogy and metaphor for the Asian American community as a whole — both have been in the U.S. for a while but early on, were looked upon with curiosity, derision, and even hostility. Toyota and Asian Americans as a whole were seen as strange foreigners who probably had no future in the U.S. and pesky nuisances to “traditional” Americans.

Nonetheless, both were persistent and determined and after years of mostly quiet hard work, were able to eventually establish themselves as mainstream Americans and in many ways, outperform their “traditional” American counterparts. Nowadays, both Toyota and Asian Americans are poised to make unique contributions to American society and its economy as globalization continues to evolve in the 21st century.

But now that Toyota is in a major consumer and public relations crisis, do its struggles reflect negatively on Asian Americans? With racial/ethnic tensions heightened during the recession, will some Americans use these recent events to launch or intensify some kind of anti-Toyota, anti-Japan, anti-Asian, or anti-foreigner backlash movement?

Inevitably, I suppose there will be some Americans with that kind of mentality and motivation. It’s also likely that Toyota’s sales will take a while to rebound, both as a result of this particular crisis and because of the recession in general. But ultimately, and perhaps in contrast to some of my past pessimistic posts about racial/ethnic relations in the near future, I predict that Toyota will recover and become even stronger, just like the recent history and successes of Asian Americans as a community.

I believe this because Toyota has decades of experience and history behind them — they are not new to this industry, and they have weathered recessions before. Let us remember that Toyota is not the only automaker that has experienced mass recalls or bad publicity before. For example, just in the last decade, Ford has recalled over 14.5 million vehicles for various defects and for those who remember, back in the 1980s, Audi’s U.S. sales and overall corporate image virtually collapsed over high-profile allegations of unintended acceleration involving their 5000 model.

To put Toyota’s situation into further perspective, Toyota is firmly established in the U.S. as an American company — it currently employs around 150,000 American workers in their factories, offices, and dealerships. If Toyota were to fail, so would many American workers, families, and communities. Finally, part of Toyota’s culture is built around a collective mindset that focuses on long-term progress and shared participation that has resulted in sustained growth and prosperity through the years.

In other words, Toyota — like Asian Americans as a whole — has accomplished too much to give up now. As a metaphor for Asian Americans, I expect Toyota to learn from their mistakes, overcome the difficulties they face, be patient and aggressive in pushing forward, and continue their long record of success. They still have much to contribute to American society and we as Americans still have much to gain from them in many ways.

February 15, 2010

Written by C.N.

New Books: Asian Americans and Popular Culture

As part of this blog’s mission of making academic research and data more easily accessible, understandable, and applicable to a wider audience and to practical, everyday social issues, I highlight new sociological books about Asian Americans and other racial/ethnic groups as I hear about them. A book’s inclusion is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily mean a full endorsement of its complete contents.

This time around, I highlight several recently-released books that focus on different elements and examples of Asian American popular culture:

Racial Stigma on the Hollywood Screen from World War II to the Present: The Orientalist Buddy Film, by Brian Locke (Palgrave MacMillan)

Orientalist Buddy, by Brian Locke

Racial Stigma on the Hollywood Screen from World War II to the Present charts how the dominant white and black binary of American racial discourse influences Hollywood’s representation of the Asian. The Orientalist buddy film draws a scenario in which two buddies, one white and one black, transcend an initial hatred for one another by joining forces against a foreign Asian menace. Alongside an analysis of multiple genres of film, Brian Locke argues that this triangulated rendering of race ameliorates the longstanding historical contradiction between U.S. democratic ideals and white America’s persistent domination over blacks.

Bollywood Weddings: Dating, Engagement, and Marriage in Hindu America, by Kavita Ramdya (Lexington Books)

Bollywood Weddings, by Kavita Ramdya

Bollywood Weddings examines how middle to upper class second-generation Indian-American Hindus negotiate wedding rituals, including the dating and engagement processes. Many of these couples are (in Ramdya’s neologism) “occasional Hindus” who display their Hindu religious background only on important occasions such as the rite of passage that is marriage.

These couples (and their extended families) negotiate two vastly different cultures and sets of values inside a community that has itself largely predetermined how to mix American and Indian/Hindu elements into this ritual. As a rule, the first generation organizes the wedding, which is largely Hindu, and their children coordinate the American-style reception. Instead of choosing either India or America, or arriving at a compromise in between the two, this community takes a “both/and” approach, embracing both cultures simultaneously.

Asian Americans in Sport and Society, by C. Richard King (Routledge)

Kristi Yamaguchi © Sports Illustrated

For more than a century, sporting spectacles, media coverage, and popular audiences have staged athletics in black and white. Commercial, media, and academic accounts have routinely erased, excluded, ignored, and otherwise made absent the Asian American presence in sport. Asian Americans in Sport and Society seeks to redress this pattern of neglect. This volume presents a comprehensive perspective on the history and significance of Asian American athletes, coaches, and teams in North America.

The contributors interrogate the sociocultural contexts in which Asian Americans lived and played, detailing the articulations of power and possibility, difference and identity, representation and remembrance that have shaped the means and meanings of Asian Americans playing sport in North America. This volume will be of interest to students and scholars of the Asian American experience, ethnic relations, and the history of sport.

Culinary Fictions: Food in South Asian Diasporic Culture, by Anita Mannur (Temple University Press)

Culinary Fictions, by Anita Mannur

For South Asians, food regularly plays a role in how issues of race, class, gender, ethnicity, and national identity are imagined as well as how notions of belonging are affirmed or resisted. “Culinary Fictions” provides food for thought as it considers the metaphors literature, film, and TV shows use to describe Indians abroad. When an immigrant mother in Jhumpa Lahiri’s “The Namesake”, combines Rice Krispies, Planters peanuts, onions, salt, lemon juice, and green chili peppers to create a dish similar to one found on Calcutta sidewalks, it not only evokes the character’s Americanization, but also her nostalgia for India.

Food, Anita Mannur writes, is a central part of the cultural imagination of diasporic populations, and “Culinary Fictions” maps how it figures in various expressive forms. Mannur examines the cultural production from the Anglo-American reaches of the South Asian diaspora. Using texts from novels – Chitra Divakaruni’s “Mistress of Spices”, and Shani Mootoo’s “Cereus Blooms at Night” – to cookbooks such as Madhur Jaffrey’s “Invitation to Indian Cooking” and Padma Lakshmi’s “Easy Exotic”, she illustrates how national identities are consolidated in culinary terms.

February 11, 2010

Written by C.N.

Individual and Collective Success in India

The other day, I was flipping around the network evening news broadcasts and landed on CBS News. Apparently, they have a regular segment titled “Everybody Has a Story” in which they randomly pick a location in the U.S., travel there, and then the reporter takes out a phonebook and randomly flips to a page and puts his finger on a name on that page, and then they profile that randomly-chosen person and tell his/her story.

Also apparently, CBS News expanded this segment to “Everybody in the World Has a Story” and enlisted the help of an American astronaut to randomly point to a location on a globe where they would go and repeat the same procedure to profile the randomly-chosen person. In the segment I watched the other day, they ended up in Rewari, India (just outside Delhi). The video of their segment and the person they profiled is below:

As seen in the video clip, the person they profiled is Khushi Ram Goyal, a 78 year-old patriarch of a four-generation family who all live in the same house. Mr. Khushi also happens to be blind. But instead of being debilitated and resentful (although I am not suggesting that all blind people feel that way), Mr. Khushi actually leads a very fulfilling life. This is possible because his children and extended family members share everything — one house, one bank account, and one set of eyes as family members take turns watching over Mr. Khushi, not to do everything for him, but to give him a hand in case he needs it.

In watching this segment, I was very touched by Mr. Khushi, his family, and how they work together to share in their collective success as a family. Although it’s a different matter to generalize one example to an entire society, I suppose Mr. Khushi’s life does reinforce the notion that traditional Asian cultures such as India do indeed place a higher priority on familial duties and the importance of the family unit over the individual.

I’ve written about how this collective focus can sometimes be dysfunctional and actually lead to tragic consequences. Many Asian Americans can also attest to how difficult it is for parents and their children (even once they become adults) to express their love for each other.

Nonetheless, in this case, Mr. Khushi’s story is a nice example that sometimes, there are more important things in life than maximizing an individual’s economic success. Instead, his story shows us that the sharing of success and responsibilities throughout an extended family can be just as rewarding and nurturing for a person’s soul.

February 8, 2010

Written by C.N.

Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints, Their Fans, & Their City

I just wanted to add my congratulations to the New Orleans Saints for decisively winning Super Bowl 44 over the Indianapolis Colts. As a football fan, and like most people, I expected the Colts would prevail. But after being down 10-0 early in the game, the Saints stayed patient, made some gutsy calls, took control of the game, and ultimately came out on top.

As a sociologist, and again like many people have been saying, this victory is more than just a single game — it is a celebration for the entire city of New Orleans, a city that was devastated a few years ago by Hurricane Katrina and in many ways, is still trying to recover. This win by their home team brings much joy and inspiration to the residents of the city from all racial/ethnic backgrounds and should go a long way in restoring New Orleans’ spirits and economic prospects.

Much of the attention on New Orleans since the Katrina episode has been focused on its African American residents and rightfully so — despite making up a majority of the city’s population, they suffered much inequality and neglect before Katrina and its aftermath only made matters worse. Like the rest of the city, African American residents of New Orleans are on their road to recovery and this win by the Saints is a fitting symbol of their community’s resurgence.

At the same time, I would also like to remind everyone that there is a large Vietnamese American population in New Orleans and that they have not received much attention at all since Katrina. In fact, shortly after Katrina, the Vietnamese community had to fight their own city over a proposed toxic landfill that was going to be located adjacent to their neighborhood.

Vietnamese Americans in New Orleans celebrate the Saints' Super Bowl victory © Skip Bolen/Getty Images

In the years since, the Vietnamese American community in New Orleans has rebuilt their lives, their neighborhood, and have continued to contribute to the economic and cultural rebuilding of the city. Let us now forget them as we as Americans from all racial, ethnic, cultural, and ideological celebrate the Saints’ Super Bowl win and its sociological significance for the city and all of its residents.

February 5, 2010

Written by C.N.

Posts from Years Past: February

You might be interested to read the following posts from Februarys of years past:

  • 2009: New University of California Admissions Rules
    Changes to University of California’s admissions rules are predicted to lead to declines in the number of Asian Americans admitted.
  • 2008: The Good and Bad at College Campuses
    Two incidents involving Asian Americans on college campuses highlight the “two steps forward, one step back” process of achieving racial equality.
  • 2007: Ten Things to Know About Asian American Youth
    A group of Asian American performers list 10 interesting things to understand young Asian Americans better.
  • 2006: The Rise of India
    A Newsweek article describes some of the opportunities and challenges facing India as it strives to become a global superpower in the 21st century.
  • 2005: Report on Asian American LGBT
    A new comprehensive report on Asian American LGBT highlights how many face multiple challenges based on their race/ethnicity, gender, and sexual identity.

February 3, 2010

Written by C.N.

Orientalism in Mainstream Book Covers

For those who are unfamiliar, “Orientalism” is a term used by academics and cultural critics that generally refers to a set of biases, stereotypes, cultural images, and popular portrayals of Asians and/or Asian Americans — individually, nationally, or institutionally — as exotic, hypersexual, submissive, effeminate, dangerous, and/or inferior. Orientalism is frequently manifested in the overrepresentations of Asians and Asian Americans in mainstream TV shows and movies as one-dimensional geisha, ninja, prostitute, or martial arts characters.

As another examples, my fellow sociologist bloggers at Sociological Images alerted me to an interesting post by Caustic Cover Critic (CCC) that examines stereotypical elements in mainstream books and novels about China or Japan:

If you’re designing a cover for a book by a Chinese or Japanese writer, or with a Chinese or Japanese setting, it seems that there are some compulsory elements which must be included. For variety’s sake, there are four elements, but you MUST use at least one of them. Advanced designers, of course, may use two or more.

To summarize CCC’s post, the four elements (with some example covers) are:

#1: Blossoms

Element 1: BlossomsElement 1: BlossomsElement 1: Blossoms

#2: Fans

Element 2: FansElement 2: FansElement 2: Fans

#3: Dragons

Element 3: DragonsElement 3: DragonsElement 3: Dragons

#4: A Woman’s Neck

Element 4: Woman's NeckElement 4: Woman's Neck

As you can see, these elements are present in books that are written by both Asians/Asian Americans and non-Asians. In other words, even Asian and Asian American writers are not immune to Orientalist tendencies. In those cases, my guess is that such Asian/Asian American authors are “encouraged” (or perhaps even “compelled”) by their publishers (who are almost always American) to create these kinds of Orientalist covers to appeal to American perceptions and stereotypes of China, Japan, and other Asian countries and societies.

Either way, it is indeed sad to see that at least judging by these book covers, mainstream American society sees Asian and Asian American culture in such a one-dimensional and stereotypical way. As one of my colleagues once said to me, “It’s exhausting to be exotic.”

February 1, 2010

Written by C.N.

Links & Announcements #20

Here are some more announcements and links out that have come my way relating to Asians or Asian Americans. As always, links to other sites are provided for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply an endorsement of their contents.

Adjunct Positions in Asian Americans Studies at CUNY

The Asian American Studies Program at Hunter College, The City University of New York, currently seeks candidates to teach Asian American Studies courses in History, Political Science, Economics, Community Studies, and Psychology. Applicants must have an M.A. or ABD in a relevant field, as well as a record of successful undergraduate teaching.

The Asian American Studies Program (AASP) at Hunter College was founded in 1993 on the initiative of students and faculty. Today, we are a small but dynamic program with a growing number of minors, and we offer approximately 12 courses per semester, ranging from our interdisciplinary survey courses to more advanced courses in Literature, Cultural Studies, and Diasporic community formations — West Asian American, Chinese American, and Korean American in particular.

Located in the heart of New York City, the AASP works closely with Asian American organizations to build and sustain ties to local communities and concerns. Affiliated full-time faculty in the College are located in areas as diverse as Urban Studies, Film and Media, Sociology, English, and Dance.

Applicants should ideally be prepared to teach the interdisciplinary survey course as well as relevant courses within the scope of their fields of research. The majority of our courses are taught by adjunct faculty, and as a result, the work you will do in our program is crucial to the process of introducing undergraduates to concepts concerning Asian American history and experience; we hope to work with dedicated, effective, and intelligent educators, and we seek to provide a welcoming and supportive work environment for our faculty.

Please visit the department website for more information concerning our course offerings, faculty, or student activities. Please send CV, letter of intent, and contact information for at least 3 references to:

Jennifer Hayashida, Acting Director
Asian American Studies Program
Hunter College, CUNY
695 Park Avenue, Room 1037HE
New York, NY 10065

Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship at UNC

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill offers the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (MURAP) for rising junior and seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in academia. I have served as a MURAP faculty mentor last summer — they have traditionally not received many applications from Asian American students and/or students hoping to pursue Asian American research topics; hence, I am trying to solicit all of you for your best and brightest undergraduate students interested in one day getting into the PhD pipeline.

Best,
Jennifer Ho
UNC Chapel Hill

Short-Term Research Positions on Census 2010

The U.S. Census Bureau is seeking up to 18 ethnographers to do short-term research in nine race/ethnic research sites during Census 2010 field data collection operations as contractors for 4-6 months. Past research has shown that race/ethnic minority subpopulations are differentially miscounted, with implications for possible imbalances in congressional representation and allocation of federal funds.

Examples of miscounts include persons not included on the census form who should be counted in the household, persons counted in more than one place or in the wrong place, and missed housing units. The study aims to document how and why miscounts happen, who is affected, and what can be improved to reduce miscounting in future censuses.

This comparative qualitative study of enumeration methods and coverage in nine race/ethnic sites will be conducted in 2010 in three census operations. The objectives are to identify 1) types of coverage error; 2) sources of coverage error (e.g., questionnaire issues, interviewer error, residence rules, socio-cultural and/or language factors, complex households, etc.); and 3) characteristics of households and persons with coverage error; and to 4) assess the extent to which these are similar or different across the race/ethnic groups, and to 5) recommend how to improve coverage of race/ethnic groups.

Current Summary of Scope of Work: Each researcher will receive training at Census Bureau headquarters in Suitland, Maryland. Each researcher will go to his/her designated race/ethnic site for 7-9 continuous days during one of three specific census data collection time periods to accompany census interviewers as they conduct 35 interviews. The researcher will tape and unobtrusively observe and listen to the census interview for cues of possible coverage errors and/or household relationships not identified with the census relationship question.

If there is such a cue, the researcher will conduct an immediate targeted semi-structured debriefing with the respondent to resolve questions as to where each person should be counted, according to the census residence rules, and to clearly delineate household composition. The researcher will transcribe interviews (perhaps at a Census secure location), analyze data, write case studies, write a site report addressing the objectives and other factors identified in the research, and give a Census Bureau talk. The methodology may change somewhat before it is finalized.

Race/ethnic subpopulations: We seek 2 ethnographers to do studies in each group: American Indian (reservation), Alaska Native, African American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, White (non-Hispanic), and Generalized site. Research sites will be designated by the Census Bureau.

Specific Time Periods for Field Research: Census operations are on a strict timetable and just one researcher will be in each site in each operation. To ensure each site and operation is covered, all selected researchers must commit in writing to full-time work for 7-9 continuous days in their designated sites during one of the following time periods: March 29 – April 9: American Indian reservation; May 5 – May 22: Sites other than the Indian reservation; August 30 – Sept. 30: All sites.

Compensation will be determined soon. If you are interested and would like to learn more, compile the following:

Cover letter, including information directly relevant to this study and its methodology:

  • Any experience with past censuses and/or surveys
  • Experience with unobtrusive observation and debriefings
  • Identification of the race/ethnic subpopulation with which you have done past research, and the specific US research locations (preference will be given to those with past or present race/ethnic research sites in the US)
  • Any foreign language fluency, with level of fluency in conversation
  • State your US citizenship status (you must be a US citizen)

Attachments:

  • Current resume or CV
  • Brief summary of your past research with the race/ethnic group you have chosen, including research design and methods employed. Identify the specific US location(s) where you conducted your past research
  • Please specify if you are/are not of the same race/ethnicity as the group you wish to study
  • Representative paper or report showing methodology and/or results relevant to this proposed study (less than 25 pages)
  • Dates of observation in this study: State which of the three observation time period(s) listed above when you will be available to spend 7-9 continuous days of observation at the site (you will need to commit to one of these time periods in writing in order to be selected for this study).

Send these materials: 1) if by e-mail, send to all contact people below, OR 2) if by regular mail, send to just one: Laurel Schwede, Matt Clifton, or Rodney Terry:

By regular mail:
U.S. Census Bureau
Statistical Research Division
4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, D.C. 20233

By FEDEX or UPS:
U.S. Census Bureau
Statistical Research Division
4600 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, MD 20746

Deadlines: American Indian site: February 1, 2010. Other sites: February 10, 2010.

Contact: Laurel.K.Schwede@census.gov 301-763-2611
Rodney.Terry@census.gov 301-763-5475
Matthew.Clifton@census.gov 301-763-3086

Hmong Studies Post-Doc at Univ. of Minnesota

The Program in Asian American Studies and the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota invite applications for the 2010-2011 Postdoctoral Fellowship in Hmong Studies.The fellowship is for work in any field of Hmong Studies and is generously funded by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Applicants should conduct research germane to Hmong Studies. Proposed research projects should have the potential to make a significant contribution to the field. During their stay at the University of Minnesota, postdoctoral fellows will be expected to participate in research, teaching, and service. While research is the primary responsibility, fellows will be expected to teach one course related to their research interests and consonant with the curricular needs of the Asian American Studies program. In addition, fellows are expected to give one talk on campus on their research project.

The stipend for 2010-2011 year will be $45,000, with full fringe benefits. The Institute for Advanced Study will provide the fellow with office space and routine office support for photocopying, faxing, mailing, etc. A doctoral degree in hand is required by August 30, 2010. Preference will be given to applicants who have completed their degrees in the past five years. The postdoctoral fellowship will begin on August 30, 2010, is for one year, and is non-renewable.

Applications should be completed on-line through the University of Minnesota Job Site. Search for requisition #164296 and follow instructions. Review of applications will begin on February 8, 2010. If you have any questions, please contact Ann Waltner (waltn001@umn.edu) or Erika Lee (erikalee@umn.edu.