My research focuses on the strategic uses of memory-keeping practices among Asian diasporas. It addresses the interrelated physical and material, emotional and intellectual, and intimate and public processes and performativities of memory work in ethnic communities and social groups. It is especially attuned to the tangible effects of material artifacts and intangible affects of memory work, and the ways in which the engagement of such endeavors produces “affective spaces” of social kinship and political solidarity that evidences the trauma and resilience, rupture and continuity, and the heterogeneities, hybridities, and multiplicities of Asian diasporas—their identities, histories, and experiences. It includes 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 am engaged in five inter-related research projects that examine the transnational circulation of institutional knowledge through scientific technology, master crafting techniques, and visual aesthetics of various diasporic communities of practice. These communities include Asian American women social and civic organizations; the transnational network of women scientists at small liberal arts and religious colleges in the twentieth century; and the circulation of diasporic cuisines through Asian/European fusion restaurants in the U.S. and Japan.
(1) I am expanding my dissertation research about historically Asian American sororities in the twentieth century into a book manuscript that explores how the social support networks of these organizations function as social institution and civic groups in Asian American communities.
(2) I am conducting research about “diasporic cuisine,” through the production of Asian/European fusion cuisine at a group of fine-dining restaurants in Japan and California owned and operated by a Japanese family in the restaurant business for over a hundred years. I have presented conference papers on this topic and am working on a journal article for publication.
(3) I am co-principle investigator on a research project that looks at the circulation of women scientists working around the Pacific Rim since WWII. For my part of the work, I am studying the distribution of women scientist through networks of U.S. and Japanese women’s colleges, small liberal arts colleges (SLAC), and religious institutions in the twentieth century.
(4) I am engaged in research and multi-media project about the transmission and circulation of scientific technologies and master craftsmanship through the design and production of scientist instruments and traditional handicrafts, as well as the symbiotic relationship of those pursuits in science and art communities.
(5) I am engaged in an ethnographic study of the different kinds of archives found in Asian American communities and the cultural practices of preserving diasporic memories in affective archives.