How to be Other

My central preoccupations in this course focused on why young Asian-Americans so often feel like “others,” separated by the sense of abstract citizenship highlighted by Lowe. Yes, Asians born in America are legal citizens, but their right to cultural citizenship is denied through the historical exclusion of Asians through the Immigration Acts. This has persisted to the present day, and many young Asian-Americans can feel this effect in throughout their childhood and into their adult lives. Often, music becomes a defense mechanism either for or against assimilation, and what type of music they listen to becomes a statement. How then, … Continue reading How to be Other

Chocolat: How K-pop Simultaneously Commodifies Asian-American “Otherness” and Rejects It

As a form of transnational media, K-pop has found success with many Asian-Americans identify with and enjoy K-pop because they see a bit of themselves in them. For young Asian-Americans who feel stuck between two worlds, K-pop is a way of reconnecting with a form of pan-Asian culture. K-pop has certainly seen success crossing over into America, as evidenced by multiple concert tours in the US, including sold out tours. However, what happens when Asian-Americans move past their role as consumers and become direct participants of K-pop? This is the case of Chocolat, a recently disbanded K-pop group that debuted … Continue reading Chocolat: How K-pop Simultaneously Commodifies Asian-American “Otherness” and Rejects It

Discussion: The Hegemony of Belonging

Many Asian Americans struggle with identifying with mainstream American media as they feel neither here nor there in either America or the so-called “homeland,” and as a result, they often seek other forms of media entertainment. During discussion, most students did not consider K-pop itself to be Asian American (as most K-pop originates in Korea from Korean-born artists), but still saw value in Asian Americans identifying with artists who looked like themselves. Despite this, it is important to note the Korean government’s role in officially subsidizing the Korean Wave as a form of soft hegemonic power, something we can see … Continue reading Discussion: The Hegemony of Belonging

“My Parents Bought My Violin”: Young Asian Americans Musicians as Self-Imposed Outsiders in Classical

The role of Asian Americans is classical music is one that hasn’t stood out so much for questions of appropriation or co-optation, but more for the idea that this is the only musical field that Asian Americans can excel in. This is inherently linked to the “model minority” myth where Asian Americans are at once admired and looked down upon for their hardworking nature, especially when encouraged by their parents. It is unfortunately easy for young Asian American classical musicians to lose their identities because they are often only considered successful because of their “overbearing” parents. Whether they realize it … Continue reading “My Parents Bought My Violin”: Young Asian Americans Musicians as Self-Imposed Outsiders in Classical