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Asian America Otherwise Conference

Event Type
Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory and the Department of Asian American Studies
May 6, 2022 - May 7, 2022   All Day
Originating Calendar
Asian American Studies
Organized by the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory and the Department of Asian American Studies, "Asian America Otherwise" is the culminating conference of the "In Plain Sight" Research Initiative funded by the University of Illinois Chancellor's Call to Action to Address Systemic Racism and Social Injustice Research Program.

This conference is conceived in late pandemic time as a response to the unprecedented convergence of crises we have experienced that suddenly made the unimaginable possible, reframing our relationship to past, present, and future, and forcing a reckoning with our trajectories as individuals, communities, and as a species. The sheer density and simultaneity of events–massive death and sickness, overwhelmed and collapsing healthcare and caregiving infrastructures, economic breakdowns and contraction, ecological catastrophes, escalating racial violence and global racial protests–and the difficulty of processing them under conditions of radical uncertainty and disequilibrium mark off a before and after that we are only now beginning to articulate and think through. In this moment, apocalyptic discourses of ends (of history, racial capitalism) have proliferated alongside subjunctive imaginings of various afters. New directions in the field may have emerged before the pandemic but they have gathered force and momentum in pandemic time in response to new challenges and pressures. This conference takes stock of how Asian America is being imagined otherwise in the face of multi-layered political crises and an acute experience of vulnerability, precarity and exposure exacerbated by the upsurge of anti-Asian violence during the pandemic. 



Aimee Bahng (Pomona College)

Keva X. Bui (UC-San Diego)

Huan He (USC)

Michelle Huang (UIC)

Moon-Ho Jung (U of Washington)

Ronak Kapadia (UIC)

Manu Karuka (Barnard)

Long Le-Khac (Loyola U)

Quynh Nhu Le (U of South Florida)

Bilal Nasir (Pomona College)

erin Khuê Ninh (UC-Santa Barbara) 


Conference Schedule

Friday, May 6

9:00-9:15 am CT

Opening remarks by Susan Koshy (UIUC) and Junaid Rana (UIUC)

9:15-11:00 am CT

Session 1: Other Politics, Against Empire | Chair: Augusto Espiritu (UIUC)
Moon-Ho Jung (UW), “Why Loyalty Will Get Us Nowhere”

Maku Karuka (Barnard), “Imperialist Futures in the Asia-Pacific”

Bilal Nasir (Pomona), “Thinking About Critique from the Muslim Left: Terror, Suspicion, and Islam”

11:00-11:30 am CT

Coffee Break

11:30-1:00 pm CT

Session 2: Field Notes for Dangerous Times | Chair: Soo Ah Kwon (UIUC)

erin Khue Ninh (UCSB), “Feeling Attacked”

Ronak Kapadia (UIC), “Asian American Studies in a Moment of Danger”

1:00-2:30 pm CT


2:30-4:00 pm CT

Session 3: Race, Science, and Ecocide | Chair: Lila Adib Sharif (UIUC)

Long Le-Khac (Loyola), “Hawaiian Sandalwood: A Racial Entanglement Story”

Keva X. Bui (UCSD), “Infrastructures of Race in America’s Napalm”

4:00-4:15 pm CT

Coffee Break

4:15-5:45 pm CT

Session 4: Technoracial Futurities | Chair: Trung Nguyen (UIUC)

Huan He (USC), “Racial Informatics”

Michelle N. Huang (Northwestern), “Racial Disintegration”


Saturday, May 7

9:00-10:30 am CT

Session 5: Unsettling, Decolonizing | Chair: Yoon Kyung Pak (UIUC)

Quynh Nhu Le (USF), “Vietnamese Regugee Embodiments of an Asian America Otherwise”

Aimee Bahng (Pomona), “Unsettling Asian America: Toward a Decolonial Environmentalism”

10:30-11:00 am CT

Coffee Break

11:00-12:30 pm CT

Concluding Roundtable | Moderators: Susan Koshy (UIUC), Soo Ah Kwon (UIUC), and Junaid Rana (UIUC)

(closed session for participants)

12:30-2:00 pm CT


4:00-6:00 pm CT

14th Annual Balgopal Lecture: A Conversation and Performance with the Vijay Iyer Trio

Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum, 600 S Gregory St, Urbana, IL 61801


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