What is Asian
During my first Asian American Studies class, this was the first question my professor posed. And even after weeks of study and a lifetime of firsthand experience, it remains a question that I have too many and too few answers for all at once.
What I can say about being Asian American is that one’s cultural attributes are constantly being redefined. In a sense, being Asian American means to exist in a constant state of being yet at the same time, a constant state of fluidity. For this reason, Asian American produced media and the genre of film in particular possesses so much potential for empowering Asian Americans as a community.
I’m fascinated by how the process of filmmaking is also an ongoing project of unlearning the images and messages Asian Americans are told on a daily basis about our identity. Asian American filmmakers explore the tensions between different aspects of representation, gender, history, and memory.
It is this exploration which allows us to realize that these ideas are in conversation with each other, both competing and complementing, and doing all of these things at once.
This website is my attempt to keep this conversation going. I want this to be a space where anyone concerned with the reconstruction and reifying of fictionalized histories in film can discuss how Asian American media can be subversive in the mainstream. And perhaps, for the prejudices of the past, this can be a space in which to find justice and resolution.-- JL