Thoughts

On Beginnings

This is a post that I was planning to write in January at the start of the new year, but I am glad that life and work got in the way because beginnings have taken on a sharper, more intense meaning for me these last few weeks. And, for once, the timing feels just right that I’m getting this writing in on the eve of Lunar New Year.

It would be wrong, of course, to say that beginnings are a new preoccupation of mine. Much of my scholarly work has been a meditation on and an effort to articulate other beginnings for Asian American studies and Asian Americanist critique. Thinking through the historic establishment of the field, the constraints of identitarian epistemologies, and other geographies for Asian America are some ways I’ve confronted questions around the objects and objectives, the scope, scales, and stakes of Asian American studies.

At the same time, beginning the dissertation that would become my current book project was a struggle. I have written elsewhere about the anxiety of embarking on an Asian American cultural studies project, about fears that it would delimit the possibilities and audiences for my research and confine me to  what is natural, expected, and known–an Asian American woman who would, of course, study Asian American literatures and cultures. And yet, recognizing that these concerns, which I’ve come to describe as the feeling of being minor, are not personal or individual, but rather structural and systemic–evidence of institutional racism and the effects of compartmentalizing minoritized knowledges–was a pivotal moment in my academic career and intellectual life.

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Conferences

Some Reflections on HASTAC 2017: The Possible Worlds of Digital Humanities

This is a long long overdue post… Having the HASTAC and ASA conferences back-to-back weekends this year was more than a little chaotic, but it also meant that I had a chance to be part of a series of thoughtful, engaged conversations with people working on amazing and varied projects- on technology, critical university studies, feminist pedagogy, race and the digital humanities, and more. Even now, over a month after both conferences, I find myself returning to the threads of those conversations to think through how I might integrate the ideas and practices I learned from attending panels and speaking to other faculty and students into my scholarly work.

For the time being, this post will be about HASTAC 2017, not least because it was my first time attending and also the first time I’ve ever been to a conference that welcomed such a range of experimental panels. You would think because I’d been in bi-weekly virtual meetings with the local organizers in Orlando, Bruce Janz and Amy Giroux, for months in advance that I would have a better sense of what to anticipate, but I really didn’t… This just goes to show that for all of the things the digital enables, it cannot capture the feeling of what it means to be together in a shared space, in real-time.

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Conferences

Let’s Talk about “Pedagogies of (Resistance to) Neoliberalism” and “Unruly Animations” at ASA!

I am feeling invigorated after HASTAC 2017: The Possible Worlds of Digital Humanities– my very first HASTAC conference (hopefully of many more to come). Everyone was so welcoming, even to someone who feels like an interloper in the DH world, and it was comforting to realize that a good number of people there also see themselves on the peripheries of this field. We had great conversations, both in person and on Twitter, about using technology to do social justice work,  disciplinary anxieties, feminist pedagogy, and cultivating new communities on and offline. There is so much to reflect on, so stay tuned for a fuller (and more coherent) reflection.

But for now, I am hoping to take the energy from this conference to the upcoming American Studies Association conference, “Pedagogies of Dissent.” I am presenting on the panel, “Pedagogies of (Resistance to) Neoliberalism” (Thursday, Nov. 9, 12-1:45 PM, Hyatt Regency Chicago, McCormick, Third Floor West Tower), along with Derek DiMatteo, Funie Hsu, and Emily Raymundo. Krista Benson, Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies at Grand Valley State University, will be chairing and offering comments on our work. I am looking forward to this exciting conversation and hope to see you there!

If you’re interested, here is the abstract for my paper:

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Conferences

Join Us for “Building a Feminist Future” at HASTAC 2017

HASTAC 2017: The Possible Worlds of Digital Humanities is right around the corner and I am so excited to be chairing the panel, “Building a Feminist Future: On (Digital) Pedagogical Praxis” (Friday, November 3, 1:45 PM – 3:15 PM in CB1-105; Session Number: FSA01).

Organized and facilitated by Emily EstenMelissa MeadeDanica SavonickWhitney Sperrazza, and Heather Suzanne Woods this session will be interactive–not your regular conference panel–and depend heavily on audience engagement. We will work together to explore what a feminist classroom looks and feels like and discuss strategies that you can integrate into your everyday teaching practices. The goal is to crowd-source a range of methods and resources that will be made available to all educators committed to feminist and antiracist pedagogy. Needless to say, this panel speaks to the Futures Initiative and HASTAC‘s emphasis on higher education as a public good.

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Teaching

Making Time for Listening Dyads in the Classroom

One of the challenges of teaching is struggling to find time–the time you need to lesson plan and prepare for your classes, to cover material you’ve included on your course syllabi, to support students, create and grade assignments, and so on and on.

Teachers are pressed for time. This is hardly a new revelation. And yet, because the minutes we have in the classroom with our students are precious, I am writing here to argue for making time–for listening dyads (as the title of this post suggests), but also for what motivates them, a commitment to building an inclusive community in your classrooms that ensures everyone’s voices are heard.

In the Futures Initiative we discuss the importance of practices like this through the concept of structuring equality. It is an idea that recognizes the value hierarchies and conditions of social inequity that underwrite higher education and the broader material worlds in which we live. To enact meaningful transformation therefore requires more than good intentions; it entails actively building structures for equality and inclusion in our classrooms, the sites where we–as teachers–have the most immediate impact.

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