***POSTPONED*** “Racist Love: Asian Abstraction and the Pleasures of Fantasy”

We write to inform you that the hybrid event scheduled with Leslie Bow, “Racist Love,” at 5 PST has been postponed (both in person and online), with a new date to be determined.

We hope this finds you all safe. Some of you have registered from other locations and you may not have been informed of the distressing situation now happening at the UC Berkeley campus. Campus was under a shelter-in-place order from 9:30 this morning until just before 2 PM, with a distressed student potentially in a violent situation. We wanted to consult with Professor Bow about how/whether to go ahead with the event tonight. Certainly, the intensity of the situation on campus and the shut down of buildings obviated any in-person form of the event. But we were trying to decide whether to still go ahead with the online (Zoom) portion of the event with Professor Bow, given the great interest in her talk. We ended up having a deeply meaningful conversation about the relevance of her talk (which is, she shared, partly about what it means to insist on intellectual production under distress) to what was happening on campus and to the structures and presents fueling forms of distress, both of those locked in their buildings and of the student. As Professor Bow said, “there is a tragedy unfolding, we just don’t know whose yet.” 

We do not make this decision lightly, and in mind of all those affected (some of whom were planning to come), we are trying our best to make it with care.

Please note that we are keeping this registrant list for the Zoom event, and you may note that we have temporarily moved the formal date/time of today’s Zoom meeting to 12 midnight on January 1, 2023 as a placeholder. This enables us to update you all of the new details once we have them.

Best wishes from us at CSSC and from Professor Bow, and do please stay tuned for a rescheduled date for a hybrid event in early fall 2022.

The Center for the Study of Sexual Culture is excited to welcome Prof. Leslie Bow (UW-Madison, English) to UC Berkeley on Thursday, April 21st at 5pm PST for a hybrid (in-person and on Zoom) event about her new book, Racist Love. Please join us with masks in 602 Social Sciences or register online at bit.ly/racistlove

Leslie Bow is Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of English and Asian American Studies and Dorothy Draheim Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of the award-winning, ‘Partly Colored’: Asian Americans and Racial Anomaly in the Segregated South (New York University Press, 2010); Betrayal and Other Acts of Subversion: Feminism, Sexual Politics, Asian American Women’s Literature (Princeton University Press, 2001). Her co-edited volume, The Oxford Handbook of Twentieth-Century American Literature, is forthcoming with Oxford. Her new book, Racist Love: Asian Abstraction and the Pleasures of Fantasy, is just out with Duke University Press.

In Racist Love Leslie Bow traces the ways in which Asian Americans become objects of anxiety and desire. Conceptualizing these feelings as “racist love,” she explores how race is projected onto Asianized things through race fetishism and the stereotype as a desiring structure. Bow shows how anthropomorphic objects and images–whether cartoon animals, home décor and cute tchotchkes, contemporary visual art, or AI–function as repositories of seemingly positive feelings and attachment to Asianness. At the same time, Bow demonstrates that these Asianized proxies reveal how fetishistic attraction and pleasure serve as a source of anti-Asian bias and violence. By outlining how attraction to popular representations of Asianness cloaks racial resentment and fears of globalization, Bow provides a new means of understanding the ambivalence surrounding Asians in the United States while offering a theory of the psychological, affective, and symbolic dynamics of racist love in contemporary America.

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Race and Gender, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, and the Asian American Research Center at the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues. 

This event is wheelchair accessible. Please avoid wearing fragrances, but please do wear masks. For additional access requests, contact cssc@berkeley.edu.