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One Way or Another: Asian American Art Now

Panel Discussion: Asian Adoption/Asian American Identity

November 11, 2007; 3:00 p.m.

Museum Theater

What are the identity issues facing adoptees from Asia in the United States? How do they experience being Asian American, and how have they expressed this creatively? These and other questions are the subject of this timely and multifaceted program. The panelists represent Korean American, Vietnamese American, and Chinese American perspectives; scholars will be joined by a poet, a musician, and a filmmaker whose work has been influenced by their personal experiences of adoption.

Sara Dorow, assistant professor of sociology, University of Alberta, and author of a book on transnational adoption from China, will discuss how Chinese adoptees in the United States and Canada narrate intersections of race, kinship, and the spaces of “home,” and how they have become “poster children” for adoption. Rebecca Hurdis, a UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Ph.D. candidate, Korean adoptee, and author of essays on identity and Korean adoption, will discuss how ideologies about race are shaped and transmitted through family structures. Derald Wing Sue, professor of psychology, Columbia University Teachers College, and cofounder of the Asian American Psychological Association, will address the multiple dimensions of Asian American identity confronting Asian adoptees.

Lee Herrick, poet and professor of English, Fresno City College, will read from his new collection This Many Miles from Desire, and discuss how notions of identity, time, and ambiguity in his poetry relate to his adoption from Korea. New York–based musician Jared Rehberg will perform “Waking Up American,” written to his Vietnamese birth parents, and “Scrapbook,” composed for a new generation of adoptees, and talk about the relation between his life and his music. Filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem (First Person Plural, 2000) will present an excerpt from her new film-in-progress, which features interviews with Korean adoptees living all over the world, and discuss the political, social, and ethical dimensions of international adoption.

Catherine Ceniza Choy, associate professor of ethnic studies and coordinator of the Asian American studies program at UC Berkeley, will introduce and moderate the program.