Asian American Being in/as the Year of the Ox

Part 1 of 2

In memory of Dr. Rebecca Munson (1984–2021), whose contagious passion for poetry and thought endures

For the first time in the history of popular culture in the United States, it is both possible and pleasurable to fill the entirety of your discretionary hours with the products of Asian American culture. While most of us, including my fellow Asian Americans, would never limit our cultural engagement in this way, according to the logic of racial identity, it is surely a watershed moment in and for Asian American life when on your commute you can listen to a…


Asian Maleness and the Right to Opacity

Remarks for my three-day seminar, “The Glissant Variations,” at ACLA 2021.

Here is the Korean American actor Steven Yeun, during his recent media tour to promote the film Minari, describing a specifically Asian American phenomenology:

Sometimes I wonder if the Asian American experience is what it’s like when you’re thinking about everyone else, but nobody else is thinking about you.

One paradox of an anti-Black world in 2021 is that racial positions and white supremacist hierarchy remain immutable in the racial imaginary while cultural and political visibility and representation have reached an all-time…


We must fight to survive anti-Asian violence in an anti-Black world

Rest in power, Mr. Vicha Ratanapakdee. Your name has not been said enough. Certainly not by my specific cadre of Asian American — an identity you and I forever share — whose job it is, in part, to make sense of race, violence, history, inequity, injustice, and abolition to the larger public. You do not need us to defend you now, tragically, but I remain committed to the flight of fancy that we can, all of us, create a world in which your murder was impossible. …


“How you look, how you sound”: feeling our prospects for AfroAsian solidarity

October 1, 2020

In the opening pages of her celebrated Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, Cathy Park Hong engages the age-old topic of racial self-hatred, making the astonishing claim that this subject has been underemphasized in discussing Asian American cultural production:

There’s a ton of literature on the self-hating Jew and the self-hating African American, but not enough has been said about the self-hating Asian. Racial self-hatred is seeing yourself the way the whites see you, which turns you into your own worst enemy. Your own defense…


What Andrew Yang means to me, an Asian American professor of Black Studies

I live in Columbia, SC, the state capital, and I moved here three years ago as a scholar and teacher working in the fields of African American literature, Black feminist theory, AfroAsian studies, and critical theory. For the past year, I have been increasingly wrapped up in the Andrew Yang phenomenon and have been committed to understanding it as best I can, which then entailed my becoming, once the weather cooled off, an every-weekend canvasser and now an official volunteer ambassador for the campaign. Of course, I…

Seulghee Lee

Assistant Professor of African American Studies & English Literature, University of South Carolina

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