The University Record, April 4, 1994

Asian American conference expected to draw 500

At least 500 participants are expected to attend the 11th national conference of the Association for Asian American Studies Thursday–Saturday (April 7–9) at the Michigan League and Rackham Building.

The program will feature talks by scholars of Asian American studies from New England to Hawaii. Attendance at the conference is free to U-M students and faculty. They must, however, register at the conference site in order to participate.

Art shows, an exhibit of historical photographs at the Rackham Gallery and a multimedia theater performance by Nobuko Miyamoto are open to the public at no charge.

Speakers from the humanities, arts and social sciences will address a variety of topics in the studies of Asian immigrants and their descendants in the Americas.

Sponsors say the theme of the conference, “Border/Crossings,” suggests the crossing of boundaries between regions, ethnicities, genders and disciplines in Asian American studies, and calls for an expansion of ways of thinking about Asian Americans, one of the most rapidly growing demographic groups in the United States.

In addition to papers delivered in nearly 100 sessions, a series of workshops will focus on the teaching of basic courses in fields such as history and literature, and in introductions to interdisciplinary studies.

Of special note is the public performance of “A Grain of Sand” by Miyamoto, who describes her art as “a poetic fusion of monologue, song, dance and video imagery,” through which she delivers stories of a life ranging from “a child of relocation to a single mother” and revisits her awakening as an Asian American woman.” Her free performance will begin at 8 p.m. Friday (April 8) in Rackham Auditorium.

Three exhibits will be open Thursday–Sunday (April 7–10), beginning with a reception at 8 p.m. Thursday.

  • An exhibit in the Rackham Gallery will feature the work of Asian American artists based in Chicago, brought together by DestinAsian, a cultural arts and education association.

  • The first Michigan showing of “Pacific Crossings,” an exhibit of historical photographs curated by the Filipino American National Historical Society, will open at the Rackham East Gallery.

  • An Asian American Students art exhibit will be at the Rackham West Gallery.

    During the conference, authors will be honored for publishing the best books of 1993 in Asian American fiction, poetry, history, cultural studies and social sciences. Also honored will be Dorothy Laigo Cordova and Fred Cordova of Seattle, for their many years of work providing guidance, knowledge and wisdom literally from cradle to grave in the Filipino American community, and for conducting historical studies of this group nationwide. Recipient of the association’s Community Service Award will be the Detroit-based organization American Citizens for Justice. The national civil rights organization was founded in response to the murder of Vincent Chin in Detroit 1982 and the legal aftermath of the killing.

    U-M sponsors include Asian/Pacific American Studies, Program in American Culture, Lesbian-Gay Male Programs Office, LS&A, Office of the Vice President for Research, Office of the Vice Provost for Academic and Multicultural Affairs, Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives and the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies.

    Other sponsors include Cornell University’s Asian American Studies Program; Smithsonian Institution; Asian American Studies, Asian American Committee for Education; Center for Studies of Ethnicity and Race in America, University of Colorado, Boulder; and Shaman Drum Bookshop, Ann Arbor.

    For information on the conference, call Gail Nomura, Stephen Sumida or Cris Paschild at 763-5559 or 763-1460.