Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Study of Asian American Women Work/Family Balance

I am an assistant professor of Women's Studies at the University of
Massachusetts, Amherst, and am conducting a study on how Asian
American women balance work and family responsibilities. If you or someone
you know
would be available to participate in survey for this study, it would
greatly contribute to understanding the challenges and concerns of
this understudied group of women and their mothering and work

The study is supported by an American Association of University Women
Postdoctoral American Fellowship, a grant from the Institute of Asian
American Studies at UMASS Boston and a research leave from UMASS
The survey will be completely confidential.

Unfortunately, I cannot offer any remuneration, other than the
satisfaction of knowing that your participation will potentially help
to raise awareness and facilitate workplace practices and policy
initiatives to better serve
Asian American working families. In addition, you may find the
itself enjoyable and useful for gaining a deeper understanding of your
own experiences and how they compare to other Asian American women.

At the end of the survey, you can enter your name into a raffle for a
$100 book gift certificate as well as provide your contact information
if you are willing to participate in a follow-up interview. Thanks
and best wishes!

Miliann Kang
Assistant Professor of Women's Studies University of Massachusetts,

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Here is an excerpt from a reader, Ashleigh. I thought she had a very interesting story, as well as very thoughtful engagement with the issues!



I had read More Than Serving Tea during exam week
(for the record/curiousity's sake, I'm not AA but white).

At the end of my first year of college I started asking a lot of questions about race, and though other people looked at me funny and told me to chill, I realized it would be completely hypocritical for me to want men to care about me and for me to not try to understand the minority experience and what it might mean for me as a white person. In the middle of the beginnings of this journey I found InterVarsity and realized that was a good place for me to explore these things further/step out in leadership. Nearly two years later, I'm my chapter's M-E Team Leader, out of all things!

Then this past semester it's been interesting to see things swing back the other way-- as I've learned so much about ethnic reconcilation and justice, I've seen a lot of places I need to forgive/heal as a woman and a lot of what I see as gaps in the leadership/scholarship on gender issues. (Everyone focuses on the theological debate, when I see a need for egals to move forward by also discussing more practically what gender rec and justice from a biblical perspective might look like in various areas and how what we've already learned about ethnic rec/justice might help inform that conversation.)

I'm still in the middle of this part of my journey, and I'm not exactly sure where's it's going to go. I've struggled a lot trying to understand how we should stand for truth, when that would make us a source of major disunity. In fact, I think Eph will be part of my journey in some way, though I'm not entirely sure how. But many days I struggle to understand how the church should stand against evil principalities and powers when so much of the church isn't at a pt of understanding/wanting to. Part of what I saw in Eph last week was that somehow unity and being above these powers aren't antithetical (just as, for ex, community vs. outreach isn't supposed to be a real conflict). But I'm still grappling with what all of this looks like for me as an indiv, for the parachurch, for the church, etc.


A collection of questions

At book discussions, readings and other Q&A, these questions stick out.

Why did you choose these struggles for Asian American women? Do Asian women in Asian countries have the same struggles?
Women in the Asian diaspora have an interesting dilemna. When their families immigrated, gender roles froze in time. If they immigrated in 1950, their expectations of what a Asian woman froze in 1950. In Asia, these gender roles continue to redefine and evolve in response to changes in the society. Gender roles are dynamic. But, for immigrants watching their young women deviate from these roles (1950s, 1970s, 1920s), changes usually equates "becoming Americanized". It goes both ways. I watch Christian churches in Japan that are frozen singing the hymns that were popular when their pastor came to the US to go to seminary. You can't blame the parents for wanting their young daughters to retain their culture. Our book tries to address and redefine Asian Pacific Islander is more dynamic and fluid terms.

What creates the "friends/enemies" dynamic for Asian Pacific Islander (API) women?

Asifa does a great job in a chapter talking about friendships for API women. She talked about the friendship (and enemy) dynamic. It's weird what a "communal" mindset will do. Suzy might be a close friend--but parents use that same friend to set up the "impossible" standard that you will never achieve. Perhaps you are the impossible standard that alienates your friends. Its a weird dynamic when friendships are personal but also communal.

My favorite quote on this: "Can't you be like _________?" (Fill in the name of your nerd cousin, valedictorian friend, or other mother appointed rival.) Phoebe Eng, author of Warrior Lessons

You do a good job of breaking down images and stereotypes. But images are so powerful and important. What image would you hold up for Asian American women to grow into, strive for?

Good question. Christie did a great job of describing the image--challenging in a respectful way, strong and cognizant of others, etc. But I continue to mull over this...what image would capture the strength and resilence that comes from surviving struggles.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Asian American Writers Congress to Set Groundwork for the 2007 Asian Pacific American Book Festival

Writers and Emerging Writers Are Encouraged to Attend Free Event at UCLA on May 13, 2006

Noted Asian and Pacific American (APA) authors, publishers and community leaders will gather to commence the first ever Asian American Writers Congress. The purpose of the Congress is to promote networks among APA writers, both emerging and published, and to set the groundwork for the 2007 Asian Pacific American Book Festival in Los Angeles.

The dialogue is open to the public and will take place at UCLA's James West Alumni Center on Saturday, May 13, 2006 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is a project of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) and is co-sponsored by UCLA's Asian American Studies Center.

The Asian American Writers Congress will serve to gather these creative artists and also emerging writers who may not know how to effectively reach their readers. This free event will include speakers, a publishing panel, and a discussion with all attendees about their writing journeys. Input will also be solicited on how the 2007 festival can best promote literature either written by or about Asian Pacific Americans. Door prizes include books produced by the festival's advisory council members. Various writing organizations, publishers, and booksellers will have resource materials on display.

"APALC is committed to help Asian Pacific Americans participate in the democratic process, and that often begins with literacy," said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director, Asian Pacific American Legal Center. "Writers chronicle our experiences. We must encourage the telling of our stories-and that may take the form of memoir, poetry, literary fiction, genres like mystery and science fiction, and even cookbooks. APALC is excited to partner with the creative artists in our communities to reach our audience in new and fresh ways."

Pacific, Asian, and North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry


22nd Annual Conference

March 22-24, 2007

Union Theological Seminary, New York

3041 Broadway, New York, NY 10027

Religion and Politics in Difficult Times

The conference is for Asian, Pacific, and North American Asian women. The evening panel on March 22 (Thursday) is open to the public.

Become acquainted with the work of our leading religion scholars.

Think about and discuss your own ideas and work.

Participate in the Doctoral Seminar: for those in a doctoral program.

Network with other women.

Share your hopes and concerns.

Meet new sisters from all over North America.

Worship together in various traditions.

Learn new dimensions of religious work and leadership.

Speakers and workshop leaders include the following and others:

Anne Dondapati Allen

Rita Nakashima Brock

Namsoon Kang

Kwok Pui Lan

Boyung Lee

Unzu Lee

Regina Shin

Elizabeth Tapia

Seung Ai Yang

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Other places to get information about the book:

Upcoming Events

We recently finalized an offer from the Asian Pacific American Book Festival in Southern California. Please look for Tracey Gee on the panel of authors at the event on May 13th at the Japanese American Historical Museum in J-town.

This weekend, I'll be speaking at The River Community Church in San Jose. The River is a great, missional church that is trying to reach out to people in the city. Afterwards, the church is hosting a lunchtime discussion on "More than Serving Tea". The discussion will be geared towards women and men in the church community around what it means be or lead a group of Asian American women.

On Feb. 13th, some of the authors will be appearing at Azusa Pacific University. Co-sponsored by the office of student life, the women's center, and the Asian American students groups on campus, it will be a great discussion on issues raised by the book.

We hope to be on the Northwestern campus (Evanston, IL) in January or February as part of a discussion sponsored by the Asian American Student Affairs office.

Early on in the writing process, one of my friends asked if writing a book was a good vehicle for the material. In this age of media, internet, and visual arts, perhaps a play, a movie or music would be a better vehicle. But publishing a book has set the material in the language of the campus--books. And it's been generating good conversations about the topics of Asian women and faith on campus and beyond. One of the most encouraging "unexpected" items is that the book and these different events are drawing more and more people into the conversation surrounding gender/race/faith. If for no other reason, I'm glad more people are thinking and talking about it.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

More than Serving Tea

This spot will be a place to foster discussion on the unique gifts of Asian American Christian women. It will also look at the intersection between faith, gender, and race.

Everyone is invited into the conversation. We'll share stories, and highlight upcoming and past events around the issues of gender, race, and spirituality.