2 Comments

CONFERENCE ABSTRACT: The Cultural Politics of Asian/Americans in Kpop @ Association of Asian American Studies

A Far East Movement: The Cultural Politics of Asian/Americans in Kpop

Dr. Crystal S. Anderson

Association of Asian American Studies Conference, Washington, DC

April 11-14, 2012

ABSTRACT

With the global spread of Hallyu (global Korean cultural movement expressed through music, television dramas and film), many have focused on the reception of Korean culture by other countries.  However, there is also a reciprocal movement, one where Asian/Americans migrate to the Korean popular music scene, bringing a sensibility reflecting experiences as people of color in the United States AND members of an Asian diaspora.  This paper explores the complicated results of such movement.   On one hand, Korean American artists like Jay Park have encountered obstacles in navigating the Kpop scene. Initially a member of the all-male group 2PM, Park created controversy over his abrupt departure and subsequent negative comments about Koreans.  His experience suggests challenges in acculturating to what seems to be a foreign culture to him as an Asian American.  On the other hand, Korean artists born or raised in the United States (i.e. Hyesung, and Andy of  Shinhwa) or Canada (i.e. Henry of Super Junior) seem to avoid the kinds of troubles that Park encounters.  In addition, Asian American groups such as Aziatix have gained a measure of success in Kpop. My paper will explore factors that may account for this difference.  In addition, American producers such as Steven Lee regularly work behind the scenes making music that draws on American R&B and soul, while Korean producers such as Yoo Young Jin work with African Americans to create what can only be described as Korean soul.  What are the implications of this transnational movement of culture? Is the reception of these subjects in Kpop impacted by transnational cultural politics?

About these ads

About DrCeeFu

K-pop Prof. Wuxia Woman. Queen of Afro-Asia. Post Soul Princess. CeeFu is Crystal S. Anderson (PhD), a public intellectual who writes on Asian popular culture. When she is not at her day job, she writes about Asian popular culture. On her blog, High Yellow, she publishes pieces on K-pop, K-drama, wuxia series and Asian film. You can view her portfolio at Digital Writing by CeeFu. She also makes some of her scholarly work on Korean popular culture available to the public though projects like iFans: Mapping K-pop's International Fandom (a series of surveys on global fandom and a digital project that curates material produced by global fans), Hallyu Harmony: A Cultural History of Kpop (a digital project that traces connections among artists and groups across genres, generations and geographies through visuals, music and choreography), House of Hallyu (a site that features fan activity) and kpop chronicles (a project that archives fan narratives). She is also director of KPK: Kpop Kollective, where scholars and select members of the public publish musings about K-pop and digital humanities and collaboratively collect and organize digital material. She also manages KPOPIANA, a collaborative and interactive database about groups and artists of Hallyu-era K-pop. As an associate professor at Elon University, she conducts research in comparative ethnic studies. In addition to her recently published the book, Beyond the Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production (University of Mississippi Press, 2013), she has several book articles forthcoming on masculinity in K-pop and the impact of rhythm and blues on K-pop. She teaches courses in Asian literature, American literature, American Studies and African American literature.

2 comments on “CONFERENCE ABSTRACT: The Cultural Politics of Asian/Americans in Kpop @ Association of Asian American Studies

  1. I have noticed many Asian Americans around where I live abandoning the culture. I am both
    Caucasian and Chinese yet I myself preserve my heritages. The Asian Americans at my school could be considered as “white-washed,” and refuse to date any girl with an Asian heritage. They only seem to be interested in the full Caucasian females, and the Asian girl for the Caucasian male. I think it is a matter of how the child is raised and what kind of culture they grow up around, but one should not abandon their culture and insult it or try to change it, instead embrace it.

    • That is certainly a common feeling that I have heard expressed. However, I think one way that Asian Americans are doing what you suggest, that is embrace their culture, is through music, especially a musical tradition identified with an Asian culture. That is, in part, what my paper will explore. Thanks for your comment!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: