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New book explores representations of mixed race Asian Americans in popular culture

 

In this first book-length study of media images of multiracial Asian Americans, Leilani Nishime traces the codes that alternatively enable and prevent audiences from recognizing the multiracial status of Asian Americans.

Nishime’s perceptive readings of popular media–movies, television shows, magazine articles, and artwork–indicate how and why the viewing public often fails to identify multiracial Asian Americans. Using actor Keanu Reeves, golfer Tiger Woods, and the television show Battlestar Galactica as examples, Nishime suggests that this failure is tied to gender, sexuality, and post-racial politics. In contrast to these representations, Nishime provides a set of alternative moments when audiences can view multiracial Asians as multiracial. Through a consideration of the Matrix trilogy, reality TV star Kimora Lee Simmons, and the artwork of Kip Fulbeck, these examples highlight both the perils and benefits of racial visibility, uncovering our society’s ways of constructing racial categories. Throughout this incisive study, Nishime offers nuanced interpretations that open the door to a new and productive understanding of race in America.

Nishime’s persuasive, well-grounded analysis yields genuinely brilliant insights regarding the pitfalls and possibilities of multiracial visibility in contemporary media culture. Lucidly written with appealing attention to popular texts, this is the sort of book that moves multiracial and Asian American studies in interesting and engaging new directions.”–Glen Mimura, author of Ghostlife of Third Cinema: Asian American Film and Video

Leilani Nishime is an assistant professor of communications at the University of Washington and the coeditor of East Main Street: Asian American Popular Culture.

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New book explores representations of mixed race Asian Americans in popular culture

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Seattle exhibition- War Baby / Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art

War Baby

In Seattle? Head to the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience check out the new exhibition, War Baby / Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art.

Running into 2014, War Baby/Love Child investigates constructions of mixed heritage Asian American identity in the United States. As an increasingly ethnically ambiguous Asian American generation is coming of age, this multi-platform project (book, traveling art exhibition, website and blog) examines how, or even if, mixed heritage Asian Americans address hybrid identities in their artwork, as well as how perspectives from critical mixed race studies illuminate intersections of racialization, war and imperialism, gender and sexuality, and citizenship and nationality.

The exhibition features works across diverse mediums by 19 emerging, mid-career and established artists who reflect a breadth of mixed heritage ethno-racial and geographic diversity: Mequitta Ahuja, Albert Chong, Serene Ford, Kip Fulbeck, Stuart Gaffney, Louie Gong, Jane Jin Kaisen, Lori Kay, Li-lan, Richard Lou, Samia Mirza, Chris Naka, Laurel Nakadate, Gina Osterloh, Adrienne Pao, Cristina Lei Rodriguez, Amanda Ross-Ho, Jenifer Wofford, and Debra Yepa-Pappan.

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Seattle exhibition- War Baby / Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art