queer; feminist; han-manchurian; immigrant; made in china; she/her/hers, they/them/theirs
I am a media and cultural studies scholar with a particular interest in sound-centered cultural practices and performances for ways they intersect with social justice and artistic activism. Currently, I am a PhD Candidate in Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where I lectured on media theory, critical and cultural theory, and popular music as an instructor from 2016-2019. After this, I joined the Department of Journalism and Communication Studies at the University of Wyoming from 2019-2020 as a lecturer, where I designed an advanced production course on podcasting and audio storytelling and I also taught multimedia production. Before this, I earned my master's degree in Communication Studies with a concentration on critical intercultural communication from Shanghai International Studies University and a bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature from Hebei University in China.
As a researcher, my scholarship usually pivots around the interdisciplinary, transhistorical, and multisensory capabilities of popular music. My methodology weaves together feminist and queer theory, critical race/ethnicity studies, sound and affect, and performance activism through a comparative and transnational approach. As an immigrant to the U.S., my natural desire of finding people like me in the U.S. music landscape has also made me an expert on Asian American studies with a focus on post-WWII history and contemporary Asian anglophone cultural productions. I am currently on the U of Minnesota's Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship to complete my project tentatively entitled Sounding Orientalism: Radical Sounds and Feelings of Asian American Women Rockers.
My dissertation project unsettles the idea that Orientalized aesthetics and affects are only tools for nefarious agendas by unraveling how Asian American women rockers and indie musicians (ranging from the 1970s to the present) have transformed and reclaimed musical Orientalism as an artistic and political tool to dismantle the cultural myth of Asian American apoliticism. From the resurgence of the Oriental riff since post-60s popular music to post-punk's postmodern experimentations, from the women's music movement to queercore and riot grrrl, from Fanny and Tribe 8 to Japanese Breakfast and Mitski, this project investigates how the sounds, diasporic sensibilities, and imperialist imaginations of Asian America unveil the limitations of hegemonic formulations of musical activism and the relationship between sound, identity, and affect. This will evolve into my first book project, which will produce the first monograph about musical activism that concentrates on Asian American women musicians.
I have developed a lifelong research and teaching interest in the intersectional politics of rock music and musical subcultures from my experience as a musician, listening to and playing rock since I was 11 years old when I first found out about this kind of music. Music and creative activities have always been a key component of my pedagogy. In college, I started teaching members of the guitar club and many young adult women how to play the guitar in Baoding and Shanghai, China. I played as the lead guitarist in a rock band, which dabbles in both Chinese rock and pop-punk, and was an active member of the local music scene during my college years. This band is still active to date, taken up by a new generation of rock players. Currently, I live in Laramie, Wyoming and I enjoy playing on open mic nights.