Friday, April 9, 2010

With family

As the title of my post says, I am with family. My Asian American academic family. As I write this, it is day 2 of the annual Association for Asian American Studies conference, held this year in Austin, TX. I'm staying at the Omni hotel (very swank) and spent a full day, from 8am to midnight going to meetings, listening to paper presentations, taking part in discussion, both formal and informal, and seeing old friend that I only get to see once a year at this conference.

I say I am with family, because that's what this feels like. A return to a safe zone, a comfort zone, with people I have a long history with, who care about me (and I care about them) and who engage me in an intellectual manner as well. And quite frankly a few of these folks literally look like members of my family! At one dinner I was sitting across from a woman who looks just like the mother of a close friend. And a few seats down another woman is the spitting image of my cousin!

You walk around the hotel and you are awash in a sea of Asian faces, Asian American people. And it's really and truly wonderful, for me, as someone who is used to seeing lots of Asian American folk (remember I grew up in CA) and who now lives in "the South" in an area that doesn't have a large Asian population.

So for those of you looking for new blog content or posting comments that take 12+ hours for me to moderate, please forgive me. I'm with family and am trying to milk the time here for all its worth, catching up with people, listening to some brilliant papers, getting into all sorts of conversations and discussions with folks about things I'm passionate about--and we share a short hand! The people who come to AAAS are for the most part scholar-activists--we came to this field because of our shared passion for social justice and anti-racist work and a desire to make Asian American a visible and legible presence in U.S. society.

And on a different note, for those of you who have never been to Austin and who may be wondering what the city is like, from an eating point of view I am having a GREAT time--well, I'm an omnivore, so that helps, but seriously I had some beef brisket and pork ribs last night that just made my mouth so, so happy! I love yummy food!

2 comments:

saraspeaking said...

Hope you're having a great time! *waves*

skim666 said...

"I say I am with family, because that's what this feels like. A return to a safe zone, a comfort zone, with people I have a long history with, who care about me (and I care about them) and who engage me in an intellectual manner as well. And quite frankly a few of these folks literally look like members of my family...it's really and truly wonderful, for me, as someone who is used to seeing lots of Asian American folk (remember I grew up in CA) and who now lives in "the South" in an area that doesn't have a large Asian population."

I totally agree! I grew up in Maryland (suburbs of D.C.) surrounded by people of all ethnicities (LOTS of Asians) and went to grad school with a large cohort of like-minded people in ethnic and poco studies. While I love Birmingham, Alabama, and there are a surprising number of Asians here (mostly linked to UAB's gigantic medical complex; I have relatives who've been here since 1972!), there aren't very many people who work in my field(s). AAAS 2010 was TOTALLY like "coming home," as corny as that sounds (and I HATE sentiment--but it's true!). :)