Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2014-06-15 23:29Z by Steven

Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture

University of Illinois Press
January 2014
264 pages
6 x 9 in.
15 black & white photographs
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-252-03807-5
Paper ISBN: 978-0-252-07956-6

Leilani Nishime, Assistant Professor of Communication
University of Washington, Seattle

Representations of mixed race Asian Americans in popular culture

In this first book-length study of media images of multiracial Asian Americans, Leilani Nishime traces the codes that alternatively enable and prevent audiences from recognizing the multiracial status of Asian Americans. Nishime’s perceptive readings of popular media–movies, television shows, magazine articles, and artwork–indicate how and why the viewing public often fails to identify multiracial Asian Americans. Using actor Keanu Reeves, golfer Tiger Woods, and the television show Battlestar Galactica as examples, Nishime suggests that this failure is tied to gender, sexuality, and post-racial politics. In contrast to these representations, Nishime provides a set of alternative moments when audiences can view multiracial Asians as multiracial. Through a consideration of the Matrix trilogy, reality TV star Kimora Lee Simmons, and the artwork of Kip Fulbeck, these examples highlight both the perils and benefits of racial visibility, uncovering our society’s ways of constructing racial categories. Throughout this incisive study, Nishime offers nuanced interpretations that open the door to a new and productive understanding of race in America.

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Breeding Unity: Battlestar Galactica’s Biracial Reproductive Futurity

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2013-08-02 20:04Z by Steven

Breeding Unity: Battlestar Galactica’s Biracial Reproductive Futurity

Camera Obscura
Volume 27, Number 3 81 (2012)
pages 1-37
DOI: 10.1215/02705346-1727446

Anne Kustritz, Assistant Professor in Television Studies
University of Amsterdam

While Battlestar Galactica reinvigorated the science fiction genre by representing contemporary political problems in a complex, often radical fashion, the series also makes visible a new articulation of eugenic thinking. Postmodern eugenics repurposes turn-of-the-twentieth-century ideas of racial progress and recombines them with different narratives and ideologies so that audiences may receive them as new and cut off from history. By centering its finale on the survival of one genetically idealized child, Battlestar constructs a new narrative context for an old story that rationalizes the sacrifice of the nonheterosexual, nonreproductive, and nonconformist to build a “better” race. The idealization of biraciality in Battlestar puts eugenic means to modern ends: the biological construction of a future wherein difference can be dealt with in reproductive rather than political terms. Two pieces of fan video art, “Unnatural Selection” and “Battlestar Redactica,” clarify Battlestar‘s complicity in eugenic violence and history, while offering alternative solutions to the moral and narrative impasses of the series. By refusing the genetic stasis Battlestar proposes, these fan video projects invite audiences to continue exploring multiple definitions of survival, hybridity, and cultural transformation, reanimating characters sacrificed in the series on its way to genetic utopia (or dystopia) and thereby resuscitating the multiple, queer, contradictory futures they embodied.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Multiracial representations: Nishime examines Battlestar Galactica

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2010-11-17 16:42Z by Steven

Multiracial representations: Nishime examines Battlestar Galactica

University of Washington
Department of Communications

Amanda Weber

LeiLani Nishime, Assistant Professor of Communication, is a self-proclaimed science fiction fan, so it seemed natural to her to set her research sights on the TV series Battlestar Galactica. Although science fiction is generally a genre about the future, it often reflects current social issues. Nishime is a scholar on multiracial and interracial studies, Asian American media representations, and Asian American subcultural production. In her study, “Aliens: Narrating U.S. Global Identity Through Transnational Adoption and Interracial Marriage in Battlestar Galactica,” she identifies visual and narrative representations of multiracial people…

Read the entire article and watch a short video clip here.

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