AASWG Research Symposium Fall 2021

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Dear reader, Once again, the Asian American Studies Working Group welcomes you to our research symposium in support of Asian American Studies! In the past, we have invited Duke’s students and faculty members to share their research, papers, projects, and other works pertaining to Asian Americans and the Asian American community, both in-person and (for the past 2 research symposiums, due to the COVID-19 pandemic) virtually. We host the research symposium each year in order to celebrate and highlight student work in Asian American Studies across different classes, disciplines, subjects, and interests. After literal decades of advocacy from students and faculty, Duke established what is now the Asian American & Diaspora Studies Program (AADS) in 2018. The hiring of faculty under the AADS program and ability to take official Asian American Studies classes are major milestones for those invested in organizing around Asian American Studies. However, we are still pushing for the establishment of an Asian American Studies major and minor, and greater institutional support for the AADS program. With the variety of work in this abstract booklet, students at Duke continue to demonstrate their sustained interest in Asian American Studies at Duke. Asian American Studies and Ethnic Studies are, at their core, a form of education for our communities, by our communities. Even without an established pathway to do so from Duke, students have taken their time and effort to educate themselves and learn about their own histories, communities, and identities. The student work in this abstract booklet is a testament to this goal, and moving forward, we hope that such our vision is recognized by the creation of formal academic programs. In solidarity, Asian American Studies Working Group (AASWG)

A Foreword from Dr. Calvin Cheung-Miaw Asian American & Diaspora Studies Program, History Department

I am thrilled to write one of the forewords to the Asian American Studies Working Group’s Fourth Annual Research Symposium. The symposium is part of a longer tradition of student-centered intellectual activity that has historically played a crucial role within Asian American Studies. As a field, of course, Asian American Studies grew out of the demands of Asian American student activists who united with Black, Latinx, and Native American students under the banner of the Third World Liberation Front. But even after the programs were set up, students and community members played a central role in governing Asian American Studies programs and producing Asian American Studies scholarship. At San Francisco State University (then SF State College), separate Chinese American, Japanese American, and Filipino American planning groups staffed by student and community volunteers developed the entire Asian American Studies curriculum and governed the program through the mid-1970s. At the University of California at Berkeley, students and community members were given an equal voice as faculty members in program governance until 1977. At the University of California at Davis, students produced some of the earliest works to emerge from Asian American Studies, which were featured in the anthologies I Am Yellow (Curious), Asians in America, and Diwang Pilipino. The student essays in these collections derived from the students’ lived experience and dealt with the issues and concerns that they felt were most urgent: the experiences of cannery workers and farm workers, the history of anti-Chinese violence, the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, and community organizing. At UCLA, undergraduates Eddie Wong, Amy Uyematsu, and Buck Wong worked with professor Franklin Odo to produce the most widely read Asian American Studies course reader of the early 1970s, Roots.

My intention is not to diminish the achievements of Asian American Studies professors (like myself), but to acknowledge that the project of Asian American Studies is one that has been remade and revitalized with each new generation of students, who bring their own experiences and concerns to the table. It’s important to bear this history in mind as we confront the questions posed by the events of the last year: How do we end anti-Asian violence and its imbrication with patriarchy and racial capitalism? What role can Asian Americans play in ending state violence against the Black community and the criminalization of migrants? What kind of social transformation and social movements are necessary to achieve these goals? I wish I could say that Asian American Studies and those of us who are Asian American Studies professors already held the answer to these questions. We can draw lessons from the experiences of activists responding to anti-Asian violence after September 11, 2001, from the legacies of multiracial solidarity that characterize Asian American organizing, from the long history of being “aliens ineligible to citizenship” in the United States, and from much other work being done in Asian American Studies; but we don’t have the full answers, at least not yet. Those will come as young people, in AASWG and elsewhere, push the field in new directions and continue to remake Asian American Studies along with those of us who have been around for a minute. Let’s do it.

A Foreword from Dr. Anna Storti Asian American & Diaspora Studies Program, Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies Department Diaspora is both an absence and a presence. Does this make breath an inheritance? Could pain be a memory? We retain residues of a past deeper than our years. The thing is, we’re rarely taught how to listen. Why can’t the method of remembrance be the method for repair? If we were more collectively aware of US imperialism in the here and now, why wouldn’t we be able to change its course? When I first went looking for answers to these questions, I had to come to terms with the consequences. To study race and sexuality is to become intimate with violence and power. It is also a pathway to becoming undone through radical connection, which is, for me, the promise of Asian American Studies. More than the study of Asians in America, the field ignites an engagement with race, gender, and sexuality in ways both profound and politically necessary. Asian American Studies is life-sustaining and interdisciplinary, transporting us beyond the liberalism of the present and the white nationalism on the right. While these are the urgencies that draw me in, they are also the reasons why the field is unwanted by some. Uprising. A threat. We know how the story goes: In 1968, the Third World Liberation Front—a decolonial project of self-determination— demanded the creation of a Third World studies, one indebted to a history of racial solidarity, abolition, and anti-war movements. This was a field of coalition, action, and political education. Instead, the administration institutionalized Ethnic Studies, a more palatable field for an increasingly neoliberal and multicultural world. Terminated, Third World studies is both an absence and a presence. It finds life through those who remember.

The past occupies an intimate presence in us. While we were not always there, the past is still here. Since my undergraduate training in the Cal State Ethnic Studies tradition, my work as a queer and feminist Asian Americanist seeks to remember who and what occupied the past, knowing very well that memory fails. It is in the pursuit, however, that I embrace a resulting lesson, one that illuminates the iterative logic of life and death, theory and praxis, the personal and the political. Regardless of the systemic forces that formed Ethnic Studies, within its practice emerges a way forward. I do not always find answers to my questions. But what I have learned is this: being an Asian Americanist entails condemning anti-Asian violence only insofar as we demand that land and sovereignty be returned to indigenous peoples. It also means supporting Black liberation, climate justice, demilitarizing the Pacific, the Middle East, and South Asia, as well as decriminalizing sex work and abolishing the police and ICE. When it listens to the indigenous nations across the Pacific, Asian American Studies exists as a reparative public good. Through scholarship, art, and practice, Asian American Studies—as evidenced by this annual research symposium— cultivates a space to discuss how we might respond to and heal from the enduring violences that take shape under racial capitalism and settler colonialism. Remember: we are on the historical record. The future is watching, pleading. If we study Asian America as a mode of transformation, it can only take us to unknown horizons. It is there that I want to be. It is here that we press on. Onward, Dr. Anna Storti

Table of Contents Punjabi Immigration to the United States West Coast and the Life of Dalip Singh Saund

Sanjit Beriwal

Honorific Use In Interpretation: A Preliminary Study

Bowen Jiang

comrades: a zine (unexhaustively) tracing Black and Asian (American) solidarities

Shania Khoo

Finding a Homeland: A Mixtape on Inventing a “Fil-Am” Nation and Identity

Elaijah Lapay

You Are What You Eat: Filipinx Food as an Extended Narrative within the Colonizer/Colonized Dichotomy in Apostol’s Insurrecto

David Lee

Anti-Asian Sentiments Across the Centuries

Carina Lei

Mixed Feelings about ‘Mixed Race’

Madi McMichael

The Complex Relationship between Orientalism and International Transracial Adoption in the United States

Jocelyn La Force Regli

Asian Immigrants and the Incentive towards Whiteness: The Cases of Takao Ozawa and Bhagat Singh Thind

Jiahui Shen

Orientalism in the COVID Era

Yujia Shen

The projects are hyperlinked in the table of contents above and in the titles below

Punjabi Immigration to the United States West Coast and the Life of Dalip Singh Saund Sanjit Beriwal, Trinity 2024 AADS Program On January 3, 1957, Judge Dalip Singh Saund of Imperial Valley, California, became the first Asian American to swear in as a voting member of Congress. Congressman Saund’s improbable election to the House of Representatives occurred a decade after the Luce-Celler Act ushered in a new age of Asian immigration to the United States. As an Indian American from the Midwest, my view of South Asian immigration was shaped by the last few decades. This research paper highlights the overshadowed history of the earliest South Asian immigrants, analyzing the legal, political, economic, and cultural history of Punjabi immigration to the United States since its beginning in the 19th Century through the lens of Congressman Saund’s life. Current immigration policy towards South Asians has planted the seed for commonly held stereotypes such as the model minority myth. However, the success of many contemporary South Asian Americans has largely concealed the discrimination, prejudice, and racism faced by the minority group throughout American history and in the status quo. Congressman Saund’s time in Congress exemplifies the growing use of the model minority myth towards South Asian Americans and marks the beginning for the developing identity politics for the community.

Honorific Use In Interpretation: A Preliminary Study Bowen Jiang, Trinity 2022

AMES 390S: Japanese Language & Society with Dr. Yunchuan Chen Of the various areas of sociolinguistic study in the Japanese language, one of the most widespread topics is that of politeness, an unsurprising fact considering how politeness manifests morphologically in the language. However, a fairly underrepresented approach in this field is the analysis multilingual contexts; for example, when a non-Japanese speaker addresses a Japanese audience through the aid of an interpreter. The research presented in this paper seeks to investigate how interpreters vary the use of Japanese honorifics in such multilingual contexts. Data is drawn from recorded videos of interpreters translating English speech into Japanese in a live setting, and the results are analyzed with a focus on the aforementioned honorifics. This research finds that interpreters’ use of referent honorifics is largely a product of the speaker’s volition based on the social context, and as such existing models such as Brown and Levinson’s politeness theory cannot account for it.

comrades: a zine (unexhaustively) tracing Black and Asian (American) solidarities Shania Khoo, Trinity 2022 AAAS 503: Black Radical Tradition with Dr. Anne-Maria B. Makhulu With “comrades,” I want to explore and invite conversations on what solidarity and co- conspiring means in and and looks like across racialized communities, particularly Black and Asian individuals and communities. How are Asian people across Turtle Island questioning, challenging, and resisting the violence of anti-Blackness, white supremacy, capitalism, and imperialism? How are we complicit in perpetuating these systems of oppression? What has solidarity looked like in the past, what does it look like in this moment, and what can we imagine for our future? What is the role of the Black Radical Tradition in our ability to care for, learn from, and be with one another? What do we, as individuals and communities, have to learn from each other? How can transform one another, ourselves, and our world? In this zine, I seek to collect a history of internationalist and cross-cultural movements and work, consider and contemplate the Asian American political identity and consciousness, and celebrate contemporary efforts of solidarity. I trace how the Black Radical Tradition was influenced by internationalist solidarities with Asia, and how the Asian American movement wouldn’t have happened without the Black Power movement. While recognizing that there are deep and historic wounds between Black and Asian people, I hope to highlight the intimacy of community building and future making between Black and Asian communities to call Asian Americans to realize our deeply revolutionary and to resist capitalism, imperialism, and white supremacy.

Finding a Homeland: A Mixtape on Inventing a “FilAm” Nation and Identity Elaijah Lapay, Trinity 2024 ICS 220FS: Global Histories of Empire, Migration, and Citizenship with Dr. Jessica Namakkal The purpose of this project was to grapple with aspects of citizenship, nationhood, and identity through the creation of a multimedia “mixtape.” I chose to use this assignment to grapple with my own perceptions in the formation of a “Filipino-American” identity. Through an exploration of songs and dances of the past and present, some of which are personal to me in my own life, and weaving in and out sourcing of academics and experiences of writers on the idea of the creation and “invention” of the nation, this mixtape seeks to grapple with the “imperial intimacies” between the United States and the Philippines. I analyze how intrinsically linked past and present perceptions and narratives of the “Filipino” and “FilipinoAmerican” identity are intersectional ones linked to language, gender, and assimilation. This mixtape project allowed for a greater personal exploration into the influence of the “American” empire and modern day (im)balances of power into perceptions of the “Filipino-American” experience, and how the unique circumstances of history and the present constitute the creation of a unique “Fil-Am nation.”

You Are What You Eat: Filipinx Food as an Extended Narrative within the Colonizer/Colonized Dichotomy in Apostol’s Insurrecto David Lee, Trinity 2023 LIT 390S: US Empire Narratives (Special Topics in Literature) with Dr. Ryan Ku In her novel Insurrecto, Gina Apostol interweaves three time periods of Filipinx history through the experiences and scripts of Magsalin, a Filipinx translator, and Chiara, a white filmmaker, in order to analyze the relationship between the United States and the Philippines through narratives of the past and present. These time periods—the 1901 Balangiga massacre explored through Chiara’s script, the 1970s through Magsalin’s script, and the (present) 2018 time frame through the interactions of the two—represent the repetitive yet interconnected nature of these histories and their respective traumas. As the foreground for these three time frames, the 1901 Balangiga incident functions as contextualization for the latter two. However, Insurrecto raises the question: how do we come to understand this baseline history, and by whose perspective(s)? Through the use of Filipinx food as a symbol for the colonized Filipinx subject, Apostol complicates the typical colonizer/colonized consumption dichotomy and their respective power/ powerless narratives, illustrating the intertwined, duplicitous nature of their histories, where to understand these histories from multiple perspectives—both of the colonized and colonizer—allows the disruption of the colonial hegemony over how history is presented and interpreted.

Anti-Asian Sentiments Across the Centuries Carina Lei, Trinity 2025

WRITING 101: Asian American Narratives with Dr. Susan Thananopavarn This paper explores the anti-Asian sentiments of the late 1800s that stemmed from anti-Chinese legislation and popular media during the first wave of majority-Chinese immigration, as well as the recent rise in antiAsian sentiment since the COVID-19 pandemic began. It draws connections between the two, pointing to a dirty, caricatured Asian American of popular imagination as the common root cause for both: one that has held constant over nearly 150 years. Explored in relation to Orientalist ideologies and the positing of the Asian American as a perpetual foreigner, the manifestation of these sentiments can be found in the anti-Asian legislation, riots, and popular media of the late 1800s. They can then be traced again to the recent incidents including harassment, vandalization, and assaults since the pandemic began. The parallels between the two point to a timeless quality regarding anti-Asian sentiments in the US: one grounded in Orientalism, media dissemination, and a long history of racism and ostracization.

Mixed Feelings about ‘Mixed Race’ Madi McMichael, Trinity 2024 CULANTH 220: Global ‘Mixed Race’ Studies with Dr. Jayne O. Ifekwunigwe The purpose of this paper for my cultural anthropology class was to explore a family story and its connection to the class, in which we intensively studied the ‘mixed race’ identity throughout history, and how it specifically pertained to Asian-Americans. As a mixed race Asian-American, I wanted to use my own experiences to comment on the discrepancies of research on mixed Asians in the field and harmful stereotypes that many Asian-Americans experience. I sought to expand upon the complexity of the mixed Asian-American identity and how important representation is to bring light to these experiences. Although this is not research, I think that this piece helps to tell the story of the ‘mixed race’ identity for AsianAmericans and I referenced papers from other authors and researchers that focus specifically on Asian Mixed Race Studies.

The Complex Relationship between Orientalism and International Transracial Adoption in the United States Jocelyn La Force Regli, Trinity 2025 Writing 101: Asian American Narratives with Dr. Susan Thananopavarn International and transracial adoption has had long-standing ties to Orientalism and the White Savior mentality. Orientalism, for context, often refers to the fetishization of Asian cultures and bodies as well as the fantastical narrative of an exotic and erotic Orient vis-à-vis the Occident. Edward Said, through his groundbreaking book Orientalism, further explores Western cultural hegemony over the Eastern hemisphere throughout history and into the present. In regards to international transracial adoption, Orientalism along with the White Savior Complex dominated United States imperialism and colonialism which has led to the current lucrative adoption industry. In addition, present-day adoption narratives continue to cite Orientalist ideology and White saviorism by focusing on the miracles and blessings of adoption with the underlying motive of saving the “world’s orphans”. Whilst this narrative is not inherently problematic, this one-sided and idealistic framework has very real consequences on adopted families and children. This paper explores the role of the media in perpetuating narratives that promote the White Savior Complex along with Orientalism as well as cites an incredibly tragic example of the consequences of the continuous promotion of this framework.

Asian Immigrants and the Incentive towards Whiteness: The Cases of Takao Ozawa and Bhagat Singh Thind Jiahui Shen, Trinity 2022 HISTORY 352: Immigrant Dreams, American Realities with Dr. Gunther Peck Asian/Americans have long been subject to exclusion from American society, from decades of legal restriction of Asian immigrants to stereotypes that characterize Asian/Americans as perpetual foreigners who are never “truly American.” In this paper, I seek to critically analyze the dominant narratives of Asian/ American racialization in the United States. Through the history of Asian immigration to the United States and theories of Asian/American racialization, I argue that the racialization of Asian/Americans is defined by two simultaneous and conflicting impulses: exclusion from white American society and a responding impulse towards assimilation into whiteness rooted in anti-Blackness and settler-colonial logic. While recognizing that the history of Asian/American immigration has been one characterized by exclusion and Otherization, I also critique the lack of (de)colonial analysis in such narratives. In exploring Asian/American exclusion my analysis of the Supreme Court cases Ozawa v. United States and United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind exemplifies the ways that Asian immigrants have both been excluded from and reinforced whiteness in settler-colonial America.

Orientalism in the COVID Era Yujia Shen, Trinity 2025

WRITING 101: Asian American Narratives with Dr. Susan Thananopavarn From the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States in early 2020, we have seen racialized narratives of the pandemic that draw from Orientalist (based in Edward Said’s conception of Orientalism in his titular book), fear-mongering imagery. The association of Asians and Asian Americans with disease, backwardness, and the image of the foreign enemy are nothing new. They are only the latest in the history of how racism and Orientalism otherizes the “Oriental.” In this essay, I explore the narratives, themes, and functions of Orientalism in historical events and documents and tie them into the rise of anti-Asian violence and racism that we have seen today due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keep up with AASWG! Thank you for reading this edition of AASWG’s Asian American Studies Research Symposium! We hope you enjoyed and learned from this selection of student work. Thank you to our new AADS hires, Dr. Calvin Cheung-Miaw and Dr. Anna Storti for writing the forewords to this year’s research symposium booklet! We look forward to learning with you! And finally, thank you to all the students who submitted their work and the members of AASWG who collected and put together this research! As always, we will continue to push for Asian American Studies at Duke, both in supporting the Asian American & Diaspora Studies program and the establishment of major and minor programs and in learning with and building community among the student body. To keep up with what we’re doing, you can follow us or contact us at: Facebook: @AASDuke Instagram: @aaswg.duke Twitter: @DukeAASWG Email: aasduke@gmail.com