You Can't Evict A Movement: Housing Justice and Intergenerational Activism in New York City
The rate in which working-class residents, immigrants, and communities of color are being displaced from their homes is happening on a scale not seen since the federally sponsored urban renewal programs in the 1960s. In New York City, where one out of ten tenants are taken to housing court each year by their landlords, displacement has come to shape the political lives of working-class immigrant communities. You Can’t Evict A Movement examines the democratic implications of displacement by focusing on how residents in Manhattan’s Chinatown are politically responding to evictions, landlord harassment, cultural erasure, and other forms of dispossession in their daily lives. By bringing together disparate literature on American politics, Asian American studies, urban governance, race and ethnic politics, and critical geography, the book offers a nuanced understanding of the conditions under which Asian women, youth, elders, and immigrants are active in the making of urban space and politics, shifting away from a common narrative that portrays them as disengaged from democratic processes. The book makes key epistemological and methodological interventions in how we conceptualize American politics and where it unfolds on the ground, importantly shaping how scholars, organizers, and practitioners understand the relationship between immigrant communities, democratic citizenship, and political possibilities.
Contemporary Asian American Activism: Movement Visions and New Directions for the 21st Century
What are the uses and limits of Asian American identity in the context of an increasingly diverse Asian American community? How do we conceptualize Asian American politics beyond demographics but as political practice that is rooted in personal and societal transformation This book project co-edited with Mark Tseng Putterman explores the political developments and contours of Asian American activism in the twenty first century and probes deeper practical and theoretical questions about the complexities and pluralities of the Asian American political experience. This book attempts to bridge scholarship in political science, Asian American studies, and cultural studies and builds on two strands of existing scholarship on Asian American politics: (1) studies of Asian American social movements that are primarily historical and focus on the “long sixties,” and (2) political science approaches to Asian American communities in the 1980s and beyond which have focused on electoral politics and demographic trends. This book project is meant to be accessible to a large audience including students, academic researchers, community organizers, and practitioners, and will include a multiplicity of Asian American activist voices and locate contemporary expressions of Asian American politics by those who are most directly active on the frontlines.
We Keep Us Safe: Asian American Visions and Encounters For Police Free Futures
Asian Americans are changing the American urban landscape and material issues at stake in the 21st century, this is particularly true when it comes to police, prisons, and abolition. Today refugees of the Vietnam War face detention and deportation under resurgent nativist policies; a conservative Chinese American faction has emerged in vocal opposition to police abolition; a growing number of Southeast Asians are incarcerated as a byproduct of the convergence between immigration policy and the criminal justice system. In the face of cyclical violence, we have also seen Asian Americans build in solidarity with the Movement for Black lives to defund the police, migrant sex workers victimized by police violence speak out in support of one another, formations of new collectives like #Asians4BlackLives to disinvest from carceral violence. It is in this context of urban policing and radical mobilization that this research centers these questions: How do encounters with the police shape Asian American perceptions of local governance and democratic citizenship? How are Asian Americans holding conversations about police within the immediacy of their own communities? When it comes to extant data on policing, Asian Americans are often categorized as “other” which masks a long history of Asian American entanglement and involvement in the police state that demands deeper scholarly interrogation. Drawing from ethnographic research and interviews conducted with activists and organizers from Madison, Wisconsin and Queens, New York City, this project reveal the interstitial and grassroots interventions that Asian Americans are using to mobilize resources, make claims to power, and build cross-generational solidarity with Black communities in the fight for police free schools and streets.
Politics in the Interstices: Detention, Deportation, and Democratic Citizenship
Drawing from her experience as a community organizer in New York City, this project explores grassroots mobilization around deportation in different Asian immigrant communities across the city. Even though displacement through deportation is one of the most critical issues that face American cities, there has not been much attention paid to how different Asian immigrant groups mobilize around the issue as well as the opportunities or challenges that arise in building interethnic, intraethnic, and intergenerational solidarity networks. By working closely with several grassroots groups in the city, she is interested in documenting how Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Cambodian, and South Asian immigrants and refugees might develop a mutual language around the issue of mass deportation and detention that includes exchanging narratives of migration, trauma, cultural memory, belonging, and survival. This research is particularly interested in exploring how street encounters with the detention and deportation system shape the ways in which Asian American youth understand their relationship to the government and broader democratic processes.
Media Misinformation and Chinese American Conservatism
Informed by findings from her dissertation research, this ethnographic study examines how media misinformation politically impacts Chinese Americans in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago. Although Chinese Americans have historically been identified as Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents, within the last five years conservative Chinese Americans have been mobilizing politically on and offline around the issues of policing, immigration detention, affirmative action, and data disaggregation. In partnership with community-based organizations in each of the five cities, this study uses a unique combination of ethnography, qualitative interviews, and focus group discussions to investigate how disinformation spreads in Chinese immigrant communities and fosters ideological polarization. This study focuses on traditional media outlets like the World Journal (世界日報) and Sing Tao Daily (星島日報) in addition to social media platforms like Wechat and WhatsApp. Through this research, Diane is most interested in documenting the role of technology and new media in shaping contemporary immigrant politics and ideologies across generations. This study will also reveal how encounters of misinformation can shape levels of political participation, civic engagement, intragroup trust, and social capital.
A/P/A Voices: Covid-19 Public Memory Project
COVID-19 is a public health pandemic that is truly global in scale and intensity. From the anti-Asian violence and xenophobia that has spiked since the early days of the pandemic (and reemerged in the national consciousness) to the ways that COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted Pacific Islander communities and Asian immigrant workers in the service and healthcare industries, Asian/Pacific Americans are at the center of these conversations too often as objects of anger, sympathy, or curiosity. Recognizing the critical need for documenting this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic and the myriad of ways it has and will impact Asian/Pacific American communities in New York City and beyond, the A/P/A Voices: A COVID-19 Public Memory Project was developed in collaboration with the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University, as well as with Tomie Arai, Lena Sze, and Vivian Truong. This project collects digital artifacts, artwork, and oral histories to document how the pandemic has impacted the lives of Asian Americans in cities across the country with NYU Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives serving as the collection repository. This documentation is essential not just for our communities’ own process of healing and storytelling, but for all of us to learn from this moment now and into the future. To that end, this project aims to cast a wide net but especially endeavor to include the stories from A/P/A communities that often remain untold.
GenForward Reading Room
The GenForward Reading Room is a curated space for early career academics and activists/organizers of color seeking to learn together about, deepen their engagement with, and examine the logics which organize our day-to-day lives. The reading room is not only a space to engage with texts about colonialism, abolitionism, decarcerality, intersectionality, queer theory, and the like, it is also a space to foster community and inclusion for young scholars and thinkers who who might otherwise be excluded from the production of knowledge in their organizations, institutions, or the broader society. The syllabus for this reading group is highly adaptable and interactive and includes full length books, podcasts, films, public-facing articles, and other forms of media that align with the goals of this endeavor. Through this space, we hope to interrogate how our reliance on “canonical” readings within our disciplinary boundaries or “experts” in public facing media foreclose on liberationist modes of knowledge production.