Research

My research centers on Asian American and multiethnic cultural studies and is informed by my training in American studies and English. Yet, I always hesitate to describe my work in such terms because research for me is a process of encounter that defies disciplinary (and even interdisciplinary) boundaries. Taking the advice of my mentors,

I read as far and as widely as a I can.

I go, in short, wherever my research questions and interests take me in the service of proliferating minoritized subjects and knowledges. I look for those texts that have the potential to excite, unsettle, provoke, disorientate, and detach me from “common sense” understandings of the world. Perhaps that’s why I find myself, time and time again, drawn to speculative aesthetics because of how they introduce readers to new modes of seeing, sensing, thinking, and being in the world, and how they attune us to the possibility of other worlds.

My research has also taken me elsewhere. It has brought me into contact with queer theories of temporality and scholarship in African American and African diasporic studies, the digital humanities, and women’s studies. It has compelled me to engage in archival work (and simultaneously to question the archive), and to examine popular visual cultures and animation technologies. More recently, my research has led me to think through indigenous cosmologies, transpacific solidarities, sinking islands, and the concepts of quantum entanglement and the anthropocene.

And still, I’m excited for where it will lead me in time.

For now,

Frances


Works-in-Progress

Aleatory Entanglements: On Minoritized Knowledges, Speculative Aesthetics, and Other Humanities.” [Book Manuscript]

This project posits entanglement as a means of re-visioning our understanding of the relationship among minoritized fields of knowledge within the humanities. It calls attention to how interdisciplines like Asian American and Ethnic studies are trapped or ensnared within the academy’s value hierarchies, its systems of avowal and disavowal, while also underscoring how these fields are deeply involved, bound up, and entangled with each other in ways that challenge efforts to regulate and compartmentalize minority difference. Drawing on Asian American and multiethnic science and speculative fictions across a range of cultural media, this project explores how these texts enable the recognition of messy, unpredictable, aleatory entanglements among multiple times, spaces, and bodies in order to illuminate the possibility of “other” humanities attuned to the continuing materiality of racial difference and social inequality.

Read my book precis here.

Minor Waves: Re-visioning Race, Space, and Aesthetics in the Anthropocene.” [2nd Book Project]

This project explores how minoritized fields of knowledge that have been historically organized around struggles for underrepresented and dispossessed human populations need to rethink their objects and objectives in light of pervasive ecological concerns to attend to other kinds of minor bodies and lifeways, from plant and animal life to sinking islands and material waste. It investigates how tracing the minor–the small, negligible, and purportedly insignificant–not only highlights the imbrication of human and nonhuman subjects, but also rearranges the scales, populations, and stakes that inform contemporary discourses on ecological crisis and the anthropocene. Further, it probes the role of the aesthetic–narrative and visual depictions of disaster, precarity, and ruin–in efforts to illuminate how relationality, solidarity, justice, and resistance take on new meanings in uneven geographies and increasingly uncertain presents.

Read my working project description here.


Photo by kaboompics on Pixabay.

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