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Asian American Studies

Below are recent Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) projects completed by students studying Asian American Studies at Pomona College.

2019

Crip Resistance and Interdependence in Asian America

Brady Huang ’21; Advisor: Aimee Bahng

This project seeks to investigate the intersection of race and disability and document the lived experiences of disabled Asian Americans as a group marked as deviant and multiply impacted by processes of subjugation. My research considers (1) how race and disability are mutually constitutive as projects of subject formation, (2) the material conditions and structural barriers that affect disabled Asian Americans, and (3) the ways in which disabled Asian Americans form community, participate in cultural production, and develop movements for social-political resistance against the state, both physically and digitally. Through a critical analysis of race and disability, I intend to interrogate how the bodymind functions as a contested site. The use of critical ethnography in this project centers the voices of this community and highlights struggles against ongoing attempts by the state to assert biopolitical authority over disabled and racialized subjects. This research will be conducted with the goal of bridging discursive divergences in Asian American Studies and Disability Studies, scholarly traditions rooted in propelling struggles for justice, such that we can better recognize the multiplicity of disabled people of color and imagine alternative futures free of domination.

2017

Activism & Struggle in Radical Community Spaces: Caring Resistance in the Bay Area Discipline: Asian American Studies

Teofanny Saragi ’18; Advisor: Gilda Ochoa

Bell Hooks writes about the need to create spaces where one is able to redeem and reclaim the past, legacies of pain, suffering, and triumph in ways that transform present reality. This lies at the heart of my research: communities building collective resistance movements through radical spaces in the Bay Area. I address gaps in popular discourse that overlook community power and knowledge through 10 weeks of participant observations, in-depth interviews, and focus groups. I posit a university ethnic studies summer class and community bookstore as sites where people build infrastructures that embrace the full humanity of displaced communities, such as indigenous peoples, low-income communities of color, immigrants and refugees, and queer and trans individuals. Communities ground themselves in one another to sustain social change work, yet are undermined by technological innovation, systems of global capital, and the political economy. To address this delegitimization and honor the work of activists in radical community spaces, I offer the term “caring resistance.” Caring resistance builds interdependence and centers abundance. I define abundance as an assets-based approach to organizing that celebrates love in the movement toward liberation. I define radical community spaces as those which destabilize cultural hegemony. Caring resistance creates the necessary conditions for building authentic interpersonal relationships, grassroots organizing, and large-scale policy reform.
Funding Provided By: General SURP Fund

2012

Korean Youth Culture and Globalization

Matthew Sloane (2015); Mentor(s): Joseph Jeon

Abstract: The primary goal of this research project was to compose an ethnography of contemporary Korean youth culture to support Professor Jeon’s upcoming work. I carried out observations in Seoul, South Korea for seven weeks, from June 12 to August 27. Methods of data collection included visual observation, interviews, videos and photographs. As a Korean adoptee, I was allowed to stay at the Koroot hostel for international adoptees, which served as a valuable place to meet and converse with other adoptees, Korean youth volunteers, and even government employees. My adoptee status eased the process of assimilation and allowed for an insider’s perspective on the Korean lifestyle and the extent of Western influence. It also helped me discern the oft-complex relationships between the locals, Korean-Americans, adoptees, and foreigners. Adoption itself is a noteworthy byproduct of Korean globalization and highlights some of the stigmas that pervade Korea. Other areas of interest such as the music scene further define Korean youth culture. Korean pop music, commonly known as K-pop, symbolizes the rapid growth and Westernization of Korea through its very lyrics. Punk rock, a more obscure genre, represents an underground aspect of the youth culture personality and its timeline coincides with Korea’s modernization. This poster will cover a variety of elements of Korean youth culture and adoption and analyze their significance in the wider context of recent Korean history. 
Funding Provided by: Pomona College SURP