National Women's Studies Association Conference 2018

I will be presenting at the 2018 National Women's Studies Association (NWSA) Conference. The conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia in November. I will be presenting with  Carolyn Hetrick (doctoral student, University of Michigan) and Paulina Fraser (doctoral student, University of Michigan). Our panel is titled "Artistic counter-storytelling as liberatory praxis: Re-imagining and re-storying political identities to reclaim power." 



Responding to the Subtheme 6 call to investigate the question, “What is the role of art in justice and freedom making?”, this panel explores the ways in which three genres of cultural labor and artistic production—stand-up comedy, spoken word poetry, and hip hop music—can serve to advance visions of a more just and equitable world. Panelists all apply Critical Race Theory in their work, and in particular share a focus on developing understandings of artistic counter-storytelling as a political project. Other theoretical lenses applied include critical cultural studies, intersectional feminism, womanism, and performance studies. Together, the panelists hope to engage with the audience in a rich exploration about how various artistic work can function as tools for personal and collective liberatory praxis for people marginalized along multiple dimensions of identity (including race, ethnicity, religion, gender, language, and nationality) in the United States. The panelists, all scholars of education, will discuss implications these liberatory practices may have for working toward social justice in U.S. schooling. The session will be include the viewing of various artistic performances coupled with discussion of these performances as examples of the authors’ theoretical frames and analyses. The aim of the session is to explore the potential for various forms of arts-based discourses to re-imagine and re-story identities and narratives for the purpose of promoting social change.

Paulina Fraser will be presenting on the topic of hip hop.
Carolyn Hetrick will be presenting on the topic of spoken word poetry.
Laura-Ann Jacobs will be presenting on the topic of stand-up comedy.

Click here to learn more about the National Women's Studies Association.
Click here to learn more about the NWSA Annual Conference.



GSCO/BET Conference 2018

I have been accepted to present my paper "Comedic Counterstories: Performing Marginality" at the GSCO/BET Conference on March 9, 2018 at the University of Michigan School of Education.

This year's theme is "Pushing Back and Lifting Up: Inspiring Change Through Educational Research, Policy, and Practice."

What does it mean to push back, lift up, and inspire change? At the School of Education, we are a community of engaged scholars who do work through research, policy, and practice that resists contemporary inequities in education; offers innovative responses to entrenched social problems; and employs methodological approaches that critically question status quo interpretations of the past, present, and future. We are dedicated to lifting one another up and providing inclusive opportunities for members of our community to advance their scholarship.

Thank you to University of Michigan doctoral students Crystal Wise and Ashley Jackson for organizing this event.

Click here to learn more about this year's conference.

Presentation: Talking Lei

Thank you to everyone who supported Talking Lei.

This installation was my final capstone project for the Rackham Graduate Certificate Program in World Performance Studies at the University of Michigan. This event took place at the School of Education on November 28, 2017.

Talking Lei Slide
This installation is a representation of my summer research in Hawaii in which I explored local Hawaiian identity through the teaching and learning of local knowledge. The project emerged as an autoethnography with multimedia components. 

I want to thank the women who are here to make lei: Patricia Garcia, Maggie Hanna, Ashley Jackson, Debi Khasnabis, Enid Rosario-Ramos, Jenny Sawada, and Amber Sizemore. 

This project is an exploration of storytelling. These women are a part of my story, my journey. My story is not complete without them. This project would not be possible without them. They have shown up for me tonight, a symbol for the support and love that they have given to me throughout my time here at the University of Michigan. I would not be who I am without them. And I want to take a moment to thank them for being a part of my life.

I also want to take a moment to thank my hanai sister, Katie Wong, who created the watercolor title cards for each of the pieces. While she is not present in body, it does make me smile to see her presence scattered throughout this room.

I wrote that this project explores the process of lei making as a metaphor for the embodiment of the connectedness of storytelling in physical space. I recognize that we are at the School of Education and that this type of presentation is not conventional for this space. So I am going to do a bit more of an introduction than I would if this piece existed as an installation somewhere else. 

The women today are making hakulei by bundling flowers and wrapping them together. This project extends this practice into metaphor. Today to create this project, I have gathered women who are important and beautiful to me, I have bundled them together to make lei, and I am wrapping them together through the context of this performance.

My writing is displayed in a circle, a lei, around the room. I encourage you all to move freely throughout the space and to interact with these pieces in whichever order you choose. The vignettes are not meant to be read in sequence. The individual pieces of this project are as important as the work as a whole. As you move through the space to read these stories, you add another layer of connectedness: your own. You become a part of this story as well.

CWPS Capstone Presentations

Upcoming Event:  Center for World Performance Studies Graduate Student Capstone Presentations

My presentation is part of a larger event featuring the work of this year's CWPS Graduate Fellows. Session I: Laura-Ann Jacobs (Education), Alyssa Wells (Musicology), Ellen Myers (Southeast Asian Studies), and Fabiola Torralba (Dance). Session II: Kiran Bhumber (Performing Arts Technology), AJ Covey (Percussion), Sydney Schiff (Dance), Adam Shead (Improvisation).

CWPS Capstone 2017

Session I scheduled for Tuesday, November 28th at 6:00pm in Prechter Lab at the School of Education.

Talking Lei is a performance-based storytelling installation centered around flowers. The installation features a community of women talking story while creating lei kūpeʻe (wrist lei) in the wili (wrapping) style and includes a gallery of autoethnographic work by LA Jacobs. This project explores the process of lei making as a metaphor for the embodiment of the connectedness of storytelling in physical space.

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.