For fans of Gene Yang

He has a two-book set coming out in September! Boxers and Saints, about the Boxer Rebellion in China. Looks stunning!


From the publisher:

The Boxer Rebellion is a war that took place on Chinese soil over 100 years ago.  Back then, the Chinese government was incredibly weak. Western powers were able to establish concessions – pieces of land that functioned as colonies – all across China. The poor, hungry, illiterate teenagers living in the Chinese countryside felt embarrassed by their nation’s weakness, so they came up with this ritual that they believed would give them mystical powers. Armed with these powers, they marched across their homeland into the major cities, killing European missionaries, merchants, soldiers, and Chinese Christians. Because their martial arts reminded the Europeans of boxing, they became known as the Boxers.

More info on Yang’s site


Faces and Races

Hi guys!

I know that the class is now officially over (sad!), but I thought I would share this with you anyway. When I visited the “alllooksame” website, I decided to take the identification test out of curiosity, and got a terrible score. I then remembered another website I had found a couple of years ago, called “The Postnational Monitor”, and the series I recalled is called “World of Averages”. Among other things (lame political stuff), it contains series of images from all over the world which are composite photographs- basically, they will take the average dimensions of 10-30 faces and combine them into a single image. In addition to containing male and female averages for many different countries, there are additional minor series that look at Hollywood as well as Bollywood actor composites.

The site is intriguing and troubling at the same time. On one hand, the pictures and the process of editing them is really cool. One well-documented side effect of averaged faces in general is that they tend to be more beautiful than individual faces, and this series is no exception. Another thing that I personally noticed is that, like the alllooksame test, I could not reliably tell each country of origin based on the mere appearance of peoples’ faces.

On the other hand, the site produces the same sense of discomfort when viewing the images, because it places the viewer in the position of categorizing people into subgroups based on some notion of “race” -notions that don’t even turn out to be correct (again, personal experience, although alllooksame reports an average of 7/18 correct answers, which is still quite low).

I encourage you all to investigate the website and form your own conclusions!

Thank you!

Just one final post to thank you guys for a great summer session! I really enjoyed having all of you in my class. You each contributed in very valuable ways. I wish you all the best for the future and hope to see you all again. I also encourage you all to keep in touch!

And if anyone is interested in pursuing interests in the Asian Am pop culture scenes, here are a few opportunities that I came across today: 

AT&T and ISAtv short film pitch contest with Wong Fu Prod., John Chu, and Freddie Wong

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Hyphen Magazine Erotic Fiction Contest (entries due Sept. 9): 

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