37. student zines on asian/american activism (+ book club news)
thinking about my amazing students this past quarter!
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Hello, and happy Monday. I'm very excited to get right into this week's newsletter, as it features the amazing work of my students from this past quarter.
📚 ✨ Also be sure to scroll down for news on the tiny driver book club! ✨ 📚
What I teach.
Last quarter, I taught some amazing students in my "Transnational Asian American Activism" course. This was the course's description:
Both Asian American and Asian immigrant activism in the United States has been critical to resistance against systems of racial oppression in this country and its transnational, imperial connections abroad. This course is meant to provide students with a greater understanding of Asian diasporas in the United States and strategies of activist resistance from the beginning of the twentieth century into the present. Special attention will be paid to the role of student activism—both Asian American and Asian migrant—as well as the role of historical and ethnographic methodologies in studying such paths for change. As a final project, students will create their own digital zines that discuss some aspect of Asian American activism that is rooted in scholarship but still accessible to the larger community.
Throughout the quarter, we explored different spaces and themes of Asian/American activism: early resistance to anti-imperialism, student activism, digital activism, etc etc. I was absolutely blown away by my students' passion for this subject and in their own interest around these themes and issues. It therefore goes without saying that the final projects that they submitted—a zine on a subject matter of their own choice—astounded me in their specificity, detail and contents.
Zines are something I've mentioned before in tiny driver. More free-flowing and personal than most printed material, they have always intrigued me and I have always connected to them. I have always loved that creating community is at the heart of all zines—that they are means of building connection. I have always loved that there is something a little rough about them. The DIY ethos of zines reminds me of the paintings that am drawn to in art museums—ones where I can see the brushstrokes of the artist. The hand that painted those strokes visible through the markings. Zines, it seems, are a sort of stand-in for the larger lessons that I hope to communicate in the classroom: (1) we are all creating imperfectly, and (2) we are all in community with one another.
I feel like the zines that my students produced embody these ideas. They are beautiful and informative. You can see their personality in the way they write and think through their subjects. But it's also a conversation—one that asks the reader to think and grow alongside them.
I am immensely grateful to my students for teaching me so much this quarter. And I am also grateful to those that allowed me to feature their final zine projects here.
So, without further ado, here are some of my students' zines. I hope that you read through them and learn alongside me about the many ways that we can understand Asian/Americana activism.
Legacies of Activism in Hawai'i by Haku Blaisdell
Haku's zine captures the varied forms of activism that have taken place in Hawai'i and juxtaposes it alongside her own personal family history ("From the Scrapbook of a Native Daughter"). Not only does the zine provide a focused history of activism on the islands, but it also brings activism to the present day, showing how these communities are working to support Black Lives Matter and COVID-19 mutual aid.
Miranda and Sophia take on the intersection of food justice and Asian/American activism in their zine, providing readers with history, recipes, comics, op-eds, and an interview with Rogers Park Food Not Bombs. Most saliently, they show how food justice & food activism is a global movement that provides a way of connecting with other communities in solidarity.
Pop Off: Our Hot Takes on Asian American Popular Culture by Grace Deng, Angie Li, and Mandy Zhu
In their zine, Grace, Angie, and Mandy explore Asian American representation in popular culture, particularly in new media like TikTok & YouTube. I absolutely love their writing style—personable & knowledgable at the same time. It's infused with their personality, and does a remarkable job covering so much in only one zine.
Citizenship for All by Alvaro
Alvaro's zine talks about the work of Chicago's Hana Center, an organization with Korean American roots that works to secure rights and resources for the many diverse community members that come through its doors. Through his own experiences working with the Hana Center, Alvaro takes us through his story of organizing and introduces readers to the Citizenship for All campaign, which advocates for the citizenship of all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US.
I am in awe of my students, and I want to thank them all for such a wonderful quarter full of community growth and learning.
What I (we?!) consume.
I am so excited to announce that I will be starting the tiny driver book club next month!
For our inaugural book club, we will be reading & discussing John McPhee's Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process.
Date & Time: Tuesday, April 27 at 5PM PST/8PM EST
Suggested donation (for those able to donate): $3-20 through Paypal or Venmo (@idyalz)
Here are some of the logistics for the book club:
Dates & times: Book clubs will take place at the end of each month, either on a Monday or Tuesday evening.
Duration: Book clubs will last for about an hour.
Digital Logistics: Book clubs will take place over zoom. A registration link will be distributed once the date & time are announced. Registration is required just so I can get a sense of how many folks are going to be joining & plan accordingly.
Types of books we'll read: Currently, I'm thinking that we will read books about writing & good models of nonfiction books. Examples of books on writing include, but are not limited to: Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, Eric Hayot's The Elements of Academic Style.Examples of nonfiction books include, but are not limited to: Lauren Michele Jackson's White Negroes: When Cornrows were in Vogue & Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation, Mustafa Bayoumi's How Does it Feel to be a Problem?, Albert Laguna's Diversión: Play and Popular Culture in Cuban America. If you want to suggest a book, feel free to reply to this or any other newsletter issue with the title, author, and a link!
Book Selection Process: The selection process for monthly books will be based on you input. At the end of each month, I'll announce a selection of books for the next month, and folks can vote on which you'd prefer. I'll announce the final book choice the week after.
Suggested donation: I do not want money to be a barrier for anyone who wants to participate. If, however, you have the funds and want to support my work on tiny driver and the book club, feel free to donate anywhere between $3-20 through my Paypal link or Venmo me @idyalz.
Let me know if you have any questions, and I look forward to being in community with you all on April 27th! Reminders will be sent out sooner to the date as well for those of you who register!
Item(s) of note.
A "needs-based approach" to news consumption: a checklist, from friend of tiny driver, Jihii Jolly.
I can't write this fucking thing I'm trying to write: A Flowchart, from the prolific & thought-provoking writer, Haley Nahman.
A fake academic job posting from McSweeney's that made me belly laugh.
Big Girl is all smiles on this sunny day:
As always, thanks so much for reading through, and I'll see you in the next one!