Sparking Joy, Serving Mess: Performing the Drag of Asian/American History

11/22 12 pm lecture @ Dwinelle 370
4 pm workshop with graduate students @ Barrows 650
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How is U.S. national identity shored up by Japanese/American heterogender performatives of affective cheer? This talk brings together two sites of performance: tidying expert and bestselling author Marie Kondo’s feminized cuteness in the Netflix original show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (2019) and the short film of Bay Area-based artist-scholar Tina Takemoto, Looking for Jiro (2011), in which the artist and scholar performs homo-erotic mess hall labor as gay World War II internee Jiro Onuma. Huang considers the role of Japanese/American gender performance in managing the affective economies of the United States in times of war and the intervention that “queer mess” offers. How does the figure of the Japanese person function as an economic laborer whose affective work is to walk the line of cold foreign threat and warm queer neoliberalism, and how do ongoing practices of wartime incarceration emerge in popular consciousness?Dr. Vivian Huang is assistant professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Williams College. Her work studies the strategic redeployments of inscrutability in contemporary Asian American performance across media.
Co-sponsored by the Departments of English, Ethnic Studies, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies.