Academic Work

As a linguistic anthropologist largely interested in diasporic identities in the United States, I’m fascinated by the linguistic negotiation of “Asian” and “American” identities by those who self-identify as Asian American. Of particular interest to me are the practices of individuals with “contested” Asian American identities because they are monolingual English speakers and/or they self-identify (and are identified by others) as multiethnic or multiracial. Other interests include the role of food and cuisine in identity; linguistic ideologies; and gender and sexuality, especially the intersection of gender and sexuality with video gaming communities.

My master's thesis examined the ways in which Eddie Huang spoke about different foods in various situations and how such food discourse was a means for performing an ethno-racial identity interactionally.

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Gulping Brews From Pints & Sipping Ales From Tulips: Crafting Masculinities Through Beer

Project: Anthropology Conference Presentation on Beer and Gender 

Problem/Goal: A 15 minute presentation for an academic conference

Stakeholders: Members of the conference panel (other presenters and the discussant); audience (academics, students, independent scholars)

Details: The presentation (and an accompanying paper) was for a panel at the American Anthropological Association’s Annual Meeting in 2015. The panel, "Materiality in and Through the Lens of Food," focused on how social and cultural meanings are associated with food and drink. My paper used a Budweiser advertisement that first aired during the 2015 Super Bowl, and internet comments in response to it, to discuss how the categories of "macro" and "craft" beer were linked to ideas of masculinity. The presentation needed to provide enough information to help me share what I found with an audience that had varying degrees of knowledge and experience with food studies and/or the anthropological subfield of linguistic anthropology.

Download this presentation here.

Unamerican Tongues: Food Discourse & Ethnic Identity

The Project: MAPACA Presentation (Preliminary MA Thesis Work)

Problem/Goal: A 15 minute presentation for an academic conference

Stakeholders:  Members of the conference panel; audience (academics, students, independent scholars)

Details: The presentation was for a panel at an interdisciplinary academic conference focused on popular and American cultural studies, held by the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association (MAPACA). The presentation focused on a case study I conducted using early episodes of a food travelogue series hosted by Eddie Huang (currently Huang’s World, formerly named Fresh Off the Boat). The presentation needed to provide enough information to help me share what I found with an audience that had varying degrees of knowledge and experience with food studies and/or linguistic anthropology.

This presentation later became the foundation of my master’s thesis, “Rice, Rap, and Based FOBs: Food Discourse and Asian American Identity.”

Download this presentation here.

Rice, Rap, and Based FOBs: Food Discourse and Asian American Identity

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Anthropology, Hunter College The City University of New York, September 2014

Abstract:
Research, while limited, has shown that some Asian Americans may employ features of African American English or racist or stereotypical attitudes in the performance of their “Asianness,” and the indexical link between consumables, speech, and social position has also been established. However, while talk about food can be used as a interactional resource in the day-to-day performance of an ethnically- or racially-linked identity, work that links language and food has been limited. Using a media-based example (Eddie Huang on Vice's 'Fresh Off the Boat' [renamed 'Huang's World' in August 2014]) I show how talk about different foods—including pronunciation and accent, use of foreign language words, and speaking as an “expert”—can be used as a resource by a speaker to present themselves as a member in an ethnic group or to show identification with broader racial categories. Through this case study, I will demonstrate how this practice takes place through the use of a variety of registers and styles that index food knowledge and ethnic identity, and how there can be clear differences in the ways of speaking employed depending on the ethno-racial links that a particular food is understood to have.

Download my thesis here.