American Anthropology Association 2018

I will be presenting at the 2018 American Anthropological Association (AAA) Conference. The conference will take place in San Jose, California in November. I will be presenting my installation "Talking Lei" on Saturday, November 17 from 2:00pm-4:00pm.

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Talking Lei is a multimedia storytelling installation that explores the process of lei making as a metaphor for the embodiment of the connectedness of storytelling in physical space. This installation includes a gallery of autoethnographic written vignettes and visual arts elements. The written vignettes address issues of race, culture, and kinship. The visual arts elements include light boxes, photographs, and watercolor paintings. This installation includes a performance element in the form of interactive lei making that is ongoing throughout the installation.

Talking lei is an autoethnographic study that explores local Hawaiian identity, local Hawaiian knowledge, and the everyday practices of teaching and learning in contemporary Hawai’i. This project centers the importance of researcher identity, positionality, and reflexivity. In particular, the researcher considers how her positionality as a hānai (adopted) daughter in the context of Hawai'i intersects with her identity as a Korean Adoptee raised in the American South to create the unique experience of a twice-adopted daughter. The written vignettes of this installation examine the researcher’s identity and positionality in the context of this ethnographic study of local Hawaiian knowledge.

This installation includes an interactive lei making performance. The researcher will make hakulei, a style of lei created by bundling flowers and wrapping them together. This installation extends this metaphor of bundling and wrapping into physical space: the multimedia elements are displayed in a lei around the room, and visitors are encouraged to move freely throughout the space and interact with these pieces in whichever order they choose, creating a narrative lei of their own.

As an autoethnographic multimedia storytelling installation, Talking Lei considers emerging and unconventional understandings of methods and representation that can contribute to the ways researchers enact qualitative methodologies and envision future research. 

This installation was supported by the Rackham Graduate School and the Center for World Performance Studies at the University of Michigan. The written vignettes and photographs are produced by Laura-Ann Jacobs (University of Michigan). The watercolor art is produced by Katie Wong (University of Hawai’i, Manoa).

Click here to learn more about the American Anthropology Association

Tricontinental Solidarity Network: Migrant Stories

I have been invited to perform a story at Tricontinental Solidarity Network's Migrant Stories event. Tricontinental Solidarity Network is a graduate student organization at the University of Michigan. This event will feature storytelling, poetry, song, and other performances.

TriCon 2018 Poster

I am honored and excited to share my work alongside the other beautiful and accomplished women of color here at the University of Michigan.

This event will feature a keynote performance by Dr. Ather Zia, an ethnographic poet and professor of anthropology and women's studies at the University of North Colorado.

The event will be Saturday, March 31 from 5-8pm in the Institute for Humanities Lobby of the South Thayer Building.

School of Education 2017 Spring/Summer Award

Proposal funded! "Comedic Counterstories: Performing Marginality" has been funded by the University of Michigan School of Education.


Research Questions

I have two questions that I would like to explore this summer:
1. What are some defining characteristics of a stand-up comedy set?
2. How do stand up comedians use performance to empower themselves and others?

In the first question I hope to learn more about the disciplinary practices of performance in general, and stand-up comedy in particular. Beyond identifying regularities within the performance community and the genre of stand-up comedy, I would like to explore how comedians of marginalized identities use performance as a subversive space. This second question is intimately entwined with the goals of diversity, inclusion, justice, and equity.

I hope that my findings from these two questions will contribute to a larger question than I would like to explore in later work:
3. How does creating a comedic counterstory help teens explore and express their marginalized identities and experiences?
Eventually, I would like to develop a program curriculum which works with teens to write and perform their own comedic counterstories in the form of stand-up comedy sets. Keeping this larger question in mind as I pursue the questions for my summer project will help to guide my work this summer.

2017 Association for Asian Performance Conference

Proposal accepted! I will be presenting with Tyler Nichols (MFA University of Hawaii at Manoa) at the 2017 Association for Asian Performance Conference in Las Vegas, NV! The conference will be at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino August 2-3.


Tyler Nichols and I will be part of a panel on Critical Practices & Pedagogies presenting our paper "‘Love in Contention’: An Exploration of 3:10 to Yuma, a Cowboy Western Performed in Kabuki Style."


"Love in Contention": An Exploration of 3:10 to Yuma, a Cowboy Western Performed in Kabuki Style: This presentation explores the effectiveness and appropriateness of kabuki performance to re-tell a distinctly cowboy western story. We begin by examining the intertwining history of samurai epics and cowboy westerns as presented in film for the purpose of exploring how similar settings, characterizations, relationships, story arcs, and themes can be represented on the stage in a fusion piece. This presentation includes the working script of “Love in Contention,” an adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s 3:10 to Yuma in kabuki style. We both suggest and question the need for fusion performances. We challenge ourselves to consider how fusion can maintain respect for the kabuki tradition while providing access to the kabuki tradition for performers immersed in solely Western traditions in American theatre. We consider the potential of fusion pieces to privilege global performance traditions by exploring one cowboy western as a samurai epic. This presentation proposes performance as a space of empowerment for an increasingly diverse nation and addresses concerns related to appropriation for the sake of aesthetic.


SOE Community (Still) Outspoken 2017

This past weekend I performed a personal story and a song at the School of Education's (Still) Outspoken Event. Thank you to everyone who offered support, encouragement, and validation for my experience and my story.

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Outspoken is an exciting event held each year that showcases the perspectives and talents of SOE’s diverse community. It occurs during SOE’s Campus Visit Day in March. The event is sponsored by SOE’s student organization Becoming Educators of Tomorrow (BET). Outspoken originated four years ago when former BET co-chairs Alaina Neal and Natalie Davis were concerned that the typical panel discussion about diversity was not enough to capture the fullness of what it meant to be a part of the SOE community. They hoped a showcase event would help move SOE community members from talking about diversity to “doing diversity.” Outspoken is now a much anticipated and enjoyed event that helps build community and enrich dije-related awareness.

During Outspoken, students, staff, faculty members, and audience members convey their talents, critical reflections, and social commentary through performing short skits, singing, poetry, spoken word, storytelling, etc. Naomi Wilson, who co-organized the 2017 (Still)Outspoken showcase with fellow doctoral student Paulina Fraser, reflected on the event. She explained, “It allows space to speak your truth on whatever you feel, openly, about diversity, gender, sexuality, anything. It is meant to make you feel comfortable and confident.” Additionally, Outspoken provides a meaningful opportunity for SOE community members to gather in both an academic and social environment and see themselves reflected. Wilson elucidated that by saying, “This one event is a catalyst to make people feel comfortable and connect professors, advisors, and students as they speak their truth. It creates a network and community.” Indeed, Outspoken is a phenomenal event and we would like to recognize the 2017 performers, including students Kimberly Ransom, Asya Harrison, Christina Morton, Channing Matthews, Anna Shapiro, Jennifer Pollard, Charles Wilkes, Gabriel DellaVecchia, Paulina Fraser, Naomi Wilson and Nicolas Boileau; faculty members Pat King, Pat Herbst, Vilma Mesa, and Debi Khasnabis; and staff member Simona Goldin.

Click here to read the SOE dije publication Expansions.

The Frozen King

Congratulations on a successful performance of The Frozen King! This murder mystery was a collaborative creation with Tyler Nichols (MFA, University of Hawaii at Manoa). The first ever production of this murder mystery took place on January 14 in Ann Arbor, MI. Special thanks to assistant director Darrell Allen (PhD student, University of Michigan).

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McWhiteney Park. What started as a traditional theme park honoring his cartoon creations became more elaborate and more imaginative each year. The park has expanded to include parades and live performances, an exotic animal zoo, a sealife park, a casino, and even a gym.

Mr. McWhiteney. Mr. McWhiteney was one of history’s greatest thinkers. He was a man who valued imagination beyond any other quality. He dedicated his entire life to honoring imagination. So it seems only appropriate that he would dedicate his death to imagination as well.

The beloved creator announced his plans to prematurely end his life at the beginning of this week. He explained that advancements in technology and engineering had made a plan from his imagination possible.

Mr. McWhiteney plans to preserve his brain in a unique cryogenic head freezing device created on site at McWhiteney Park. His preserved head deep in the underbelly of the park symbolizes how the entire place is rooted in his imagination.

The Reception. Please see the attached note. You have been invited to attend the unveiling of Mr. McWhiteney’s cryogenic head freezing device. The guest list is short--Mr. McWhiteney left instructions that only “the best from each department” was to be invited.

You understand that the reception will include a reading of Mr. McWhiteney’s will. You hope that learning about inheritance won’t make a celebratory gathering turn sour.