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Throughout my career I have been studying Asian diasporas in the United States, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. I examine how these distributed and diverse communities of immigrants and their offspring produce and transmit their collective experiences, material cultures, and cultural practices across time and space through multigenerational relationships, social kinship, and community organizations, locally, globally, and transnationally. My research includes the analysis of gendered narratives about migration in a wide array of activities and sources: family letters, cultural heritage organizations, food practices at home and in restaurants, and arts/craft-making in both Japanese American incarceration camps during WWII and Asian American sororities. I collect oral histories and conduct archival research and ethnographic fieldwork.
In addition to my written scholarship, I am the writer/director/editor of several documentary films, including the award-winning Homecoming about cross-generational memories of migration of my family from Malaysia to America. My films have screened locally, nationally, and internationally at film festivals, academic conferences, art galleries, public libraries, and on television. I have received numerous fellowships, grants, and awards from organizations and institutions such as the American Library Association, UCLA Institute for American Cultures, and American Anthropology Association. I have given invited workshop presentations around the world in the United States, Canada, Korea, and Taiwan. I have contributed to books, journals, and encyclopedias in areas of Asian American studies, gender studies, and archival science.
I originally hails from the East Coast, growing up in Maryland and attending college in Pennsylvania. I have a B.A. in East Asian Studies, graduating cum laude. I received my Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2015. I also have a M.F.A. in Directing from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and TV.