A roundtable of scholars, concurrent with a roundtable of archivists, convened by public history nonprofit Densho in Seattle in October 2016. This provided a new forum for scholars of the Japanese American incarceration to converse intensely on their individual new work but also the direction of the field. Read Densho’s blog for photos and descriptions of the weekend’s events, including Heidi Kim’s workshop.
Heidi Kim’s essay “Incarceration, Cafeteria Style,” about the politics of proper eating during the Japanese American incarceration, appears in the first ever Asian American food studies reader, Eating Asian America, released in fall 2013 from NYU Press. See the book’s Amazon page here.
The A/P/A Institute at NYU hosted a wonderful book launch for us which was attended by well over 100 people. Chaired by Krishnendu Ray (NYU), the book’s three editors and three of the authors, including me, presented snippets of the essays and discussed the book’s overall motivation and contribution.
Below are some pictures from the event. Thanks to the A/P/A Institute at NYU for the photos.
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.
I chaired a panel called Archives of Memory and Erasure at the American Studies Association meeting in November 2012. We had a lively conversation about papers from Catherine Fung (Bentley, English) and Natasha Bissonauth (Cornell, Art History) and Chris Earle in absentia. I offered some remarks about various theories of memory and archives (but not erasure).
I was happy to chair the Walt Whitman society panel at the American Literature Association in 2012, which featured three different but fascinating papers on Whitman’s careful print layout and typography choices, his reading of Dante and how that influenced his depiction of war as hell, and his influence on two modern ethnic writers and the discourse of gays in the military.
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.
In April 2012, I joined Greg Robinson, Setsuko Nishi, Gene Oishi, and Cherstin Lyon for a roundtable on New Approaches to the Japanese American Incarceration. Greg and Cherstin are historians, Setsuko is a sociologist, and Gene is a novelist and retired journalist. We had a lively discussion of our new works in progress and the enduring importance of researching and reaching out to talk about one of the biggest civil rights violations in modern U.S. history.