Asian Americans, a new five-part PBS series co-produced by Renee Tajima-Peña, Grace Lee, S. Leo Chiang, and Geeta Gandbhir has managed to do a rarity within the genre of Asian American film and video: addressing the need to make Asian Americans visible while simultaneously exploring deeper issues of race, racism, immigration, citizenship, and history that confront and engage the viewer in the ongoing need for social change. This series comes at an especially pertinent time when the seemingly arcane “yellow peril” racism of decades and centuries past has disturbingly resurfaced with the new COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating that history can and does repeat itself. The series argues for the urgency in using media—in this case, television documentary—to condemn the violence that continues to plague not only Asian Americans, but others similarly implicated by virtue of their marginal status, including African Americans, the working poor, and immigrants.
Representation, Recognition, and the Possibility of a Radically Transformed Future: The Asian Americans Series
Jun Okada is associate professor of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College where she is a scholar of media studies focused on the connections among institutions, race, politics and aesthetics in film and video. She published her first book, Making Asian American Film and Video: History, Institutions, Movements (Rutgers University Press) in 2015. Currently she is writing on the commitment to racial identity politics within the emergent, global, indie film economy of the 1990s.
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Jun Okada; Representation, Recognition, and the Possibility of a Radically Transformed Future: The Asian Americans Series. Film Quarterly 1 September 2020; 74 (1): 11–20. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2020.74.1.11
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