“Flower Drum Song, Operation Wetback, and Whitewashing: A Message from 1961″ by Heidi Kim appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books in September 2016. Showcasing work from the Hammerstein papers in the Library of Congress, this article details how Hammerstein and his collaborator Joseph Fields slowly introduced the idea of illegal immigration into this otherwise light-hearted musical, which with its all Asian American cast, was a landmark in ethnic theater and film. This work forms part of Prof. Kim’s second book project, which will focus on the public discussion of illegal immigration in the Cold War.
In November 2012, I was part of a panel called Asian Americans in the South at SAMLA. I am presenting on lives of the Bunker twins, Chang and Eng, better known as the Siamese twins, who settled in North Carolina. More to the point, I will be presenting on the work I have done with my students on their archival materials at UNC and our collaboration with playwright Philip Kan Gotanda, who has written a new play about the twins.
In May 2012, I chaired an author reading session organized by the Circle for Asian American Literary Studies at the American Literature Association. This featured playwright Philip Kan Gotanda, a now-frequent guest of mine, and prose fiction writer Lysley Tenorio, whose new collection Monstress has just come out. Lysley read from Monstress, and Philip read from two of his new plays, Love in American Times and I Dream of Chang and Eng.