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Panel Discussion: Asian Adoption/Asian American Identity

November 11, 2007; 116 Minutes; Video

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.