USCET Holds Asian American Authors Series at Universities across China with Speakers Shirley Lim and Karen Yamashita

November 5, 2018

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Award-winning authors Shirley Lim and Karen Yamashita held a series of lectures and discussion sessions in Shanghai and Beijing last month as part of USCET’s continuing Asian American Author Series.

The two authors highlighted American diversity and gave Chinese audiences a glimpse of America through the eyes of Asian Americans.

Both authors were hosted at a number of prominent universities and institutes including Renmin University, the Beijing American Center, Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), Literary Shanghai, East China Normal University (ECNU), Duke Kunshan University, and the Shanghai American Center during their one-week, two-city tour. 

During their one-week, two-city tour, both authors were hosted at a number of prominent universities and institutes including Renmin University, the Beijing American Center, Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), Literary Shanghai, East China Normal University (ECNU), Duke Kunshan University, and the Shanghai American Center. 

Lim, (Pictured, right, at Beijing Foreign Studies University) a Malaysian-American writer and professor at the University of California – Santa Barbara, immigrated to the United States in her early 20s. Much of her lectures and discussions focused on the trauma and determination she felt during her immigration process. On that topic, she also discussed her award-winning novel, Among the White Moon Faces

Later, Lim spoke on the diasporic writing coming out of Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. She compared the popular film Crazy Rich Asians to modern Singaporean literature, critiquing the former for its shallow portrayal of common Asian stereotypes. In this way, she both educated Chinese students and instructors about the image of Asians in Western media and provided examples of more sophisticated Chinese diasporic literature for them to read.

Yamashita, (Pictured, right, at Beijing American Center) a Japanese-American writer and professor at the University of California –Santa Cruz, shared her personal experiences and academic expertise. Yamashita gave presentations about the writers who have influenced her throughout her career, her personal journey through her engagement with Asian American literature, and the origins and role of the academic field of Asian American studies.

In her talk at Duke Kunshan, Yamashita recounted how injustice experienced by her family, who was interned in California during WWII, inspired her to rediscover her Japanese heritage. She discussed the difficulties she experienced returning to Japan, as well as the cultural “rules” that exist in Japan, Brazil (where her husband is from), and the United States. Ultimately, she strove to demonstrate that race is a social construct, and that in spite of our cultural differences, we are all part of a common humanity.

Together, Lim and Yamashita, despite their different linguistic backgrounds and life experiences, succeeded in connecting with their audiences. The two authors join Cheryl Tan, Helen Zia, Gish Jen, and Shawn Wong as past participants of the Asian American Author Series

The Asian American Author Series, which launched in November 2012 with award-winning Chinese American author Gish Jen, introduces Asian American authors and literature to Chinese audiences.

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获奖作家Shirley Lim和Karen Yamashita上个月在上海和北京举办了一系列讲座和讨论会,作为中美教育基金会亚裔美籍作家系列的一部分。

两位作者强调了美国的多样性,并通过他们的诉说让中国观众更加了解美国。

两位作者在中国多所知名大学和机构举行了为期一周,两座城市的一系列讲座,其中包括:人民大学、北京美国中心、北京外国语大学、上海文学、华东师范大学、昆山杜克大学和上海美国中心。

2012年11月与屡获殊荣的美国华裔作家Gish Jen合作,向中国观众介绍了亚裔美籍作家系列和相关的文学作品。

Lim(右图,在北京外国语大学)是马来西亚裔美国人。她是一名作家,同时也是加州大学圣芭芭拉分校的教授。Lim在她20岁左右的时候移民美国。她的很多演讲都在讲述她在移民过程中感受到的创伤和决心。她还讨论了她获奖的一本小说《月白的脸》,以及东南亚地区例如新加坡、马来西亚,和香港的文学写作。Lim还将之前最近特别火的一部电影《摘金奇缘》与新加坡文学进行对比,批评前者是在描绘一个非常浅显的典型亚洲人的形象。

Yamashita,(右图,在北京美国中心)是日裔美籍作家,还是加州大学圣克鲁茨大学的教授。她在讲座上跟观众们分享了她自己的经历以及学术知识。Yamashita介绍了在她的整个职业生涯中影响她的作家,以及亚裔美国人研究学术领域的起源和作用。 在她的谈话“根与路线”中,Yamashita还描述了二战期间家人被送到了拘留营的痛苦经历。

这两位作家加入Cheryl Tan, Helen Zia, Gish Jen, and Shawn Wong,成为了亚裔美籍作家系列的一员。