Karen Tei Yamashita is the author of seven books, including I Hotel, finalist for the National Book Award, and most recently, Sansei and Sensibility. Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation, the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature and a U.S. Artists’ Ford Foundation Fellowship, she is professor emerita of literature and creative writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
During her stay at UC Berkeley as the Asian American Research Center artist-in-residence from March 13-17, 2023, she will visit several classes and participate in four public events (details below)
Series sponsors: Asian American Research Center, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies Program, Department of English, Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities, Japanese American Studies Advisory Committee, Othering & Belonging Institute
(Additional event co-sponsors listed below.)
Karen Tei Yamashita will sign books at each event, and her books will be for sale, courtesy of Eastwind Books.
Speculative Fiction: Asian Latinx Intersections
Tuesday, March 14, 2-3.30pm, with reception to follow (including book sales/signing)
Latinx Research Center, 2547 Channing Way
Moderated by John Alba Cutler
Event sponsors: Asian American Research Center, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies Program, Center for Japanese Studies, Department of English, Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities, Japanese American Studies Advisory Committee, Latinx Research Center, Othering & Belonging Institute
Embodied Memories: Japanese Americans across Generations
Wednesday, March 15
5-6pm: Reception and informal conversation (in-person only), includes book sales/signing
6-7:30: Program (hybrid)
In-person Location: Latinx Research Center, 2547 Channing Way, Berkeley
Books will be available for sale and signing during the reception.
Event sponsors: Asian American Research Center, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies Program, Center for Japanese Studies, Department of English, Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities, Japanese American Studies Advisory Committee, Othering & Belonging Institute
I Hotel: Feminist Perspectives on a Social Movement
Thursday, March 16
5-6pm: Reception and informal conversation (in-person only), includes book sales/signing
6-7:30: Program (Hybrid)
In-person Location: Multicultural Community Center, First Floor, Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union (Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave)
Estella Habal, Shoshana Arai, and Nancy Hom in conversation with Karen Tei Yamashita
Moderated by Colleen Lye
Sponsors: Asian American Research Center, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies Program, Department of English, Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities, Japanese American Studies Advisory Committee, Multicultural Community Center (as part of the Week of Cultural Resistance), Othering & Belonging Institute
Cartographies of the Anthrobscene
Friday, March 17
12-1:30, with reception to follow (includes book sales/signing)
Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall
Part 1: Manifesto Anthrobscene, a collaboration with artist Ronaldo Lopes de Oliveira
Part 2: Trekking to Delta, a collaboration with filmmaker Tim Yamamura.
Moderated by Lok Siu
Sponsors: Asian American Research Center, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies Program, Center for Japanese Studies, Department of English, Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities, Japanese American Studies Advisory Committee, Othering & Belonging Institute
These events are free and open to the public. For more information or if you require an accommodation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with as much notice as possible and at least 7 days in advance of the event.
Poet, teacher, and community activist Sesshu Foster grew up in East Los Angeles. He earned his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is the author of the poetry collections City Terrace Field Manual (Kaya Press, 1996), American Loneliness: Selected Poems (2006), World Ball Notebook (2009), which won an American Book Award and an Asian American Literary Award for Poetry, and City of the Future. Foster is the author of the novel of speculative fiction Atomik Aztex (2005), which won the Believer Book Award and imagines an America free of European colonizers. Foster’s work has been published in The Oxford Anthology of Modern American Poetry (2000), Language for a New Century: Poetry from the Middle East, Asia and Beyond (2008), and State of the Union: 50 Political Poems (2008). He co-edited the anthology Invocation L.A.: Urban Multicultural Poetry (1989). Foster has taught in East LA for 25 years as well as at the University of Iowa, the California Institute for the Arts, Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Pomona University, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. He lives in Los Angeles.
Playwright Philip Kan Gotanda has been a major influence in the broadening of our definition of theater in America. Over the past three decades his plays and advocacy have helped deliver stories of Asians in the United States to mainstream American theatre as well as to Europe and Asia. His works have been presented at venues including American Conservatory Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, New York Shakespeare Festival, and London’s Gate Theatre. Philip is the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, several National Endowment for the Arts awards, as well as numerous honors and awards.
Activist and scholar Dr. Estella Habal, Professor Emerita, San Jose State University, taught courses in Asian American history and Women Studies from 1999-2014. She was a member of the KDP (Katiupunan ng mga Demokratikong Pilipino), a Filipino revolutionary organization which fought against the Philippine President Marcos dictatorship and for democratic rights in the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s. She also fought to stop the eviction of the International Hotel tenants and told the story in a book, San Francisco’s International Hotel: Mobilizing the Filipino American Community in the Anti-Eviction Movement (Temple 2007). In the 1990s, she helped to resurrect low income housing at the new International Hotel and open up the International Hotel Manilatown Center in 2005. She has four children and nine grandchildren.
Nancy Hom was born in Toisan, China, and came to the United States when she was five years old. She grew up in New York City and graduated from Pratt Institute in 1971. She moved to San Francisco in 1974. She is an artist, writer, organizer, curator, and arts consultant with over 35 years of experience in the non-profit arts field. Her art has been exhibited in numerous galleries, locally and internationally, including the de Young Museum, Euphrat Museum of Art, Stanford University, Oakland Museum, Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz, De Saisset Museum, Intersection for the Arts, C.N. Gorman Museum, California Historical Society, SF International Airport, Asian American Arts Centre, New York City, Exhibits USA, C.A.L. Valeyre, Paris, France, and Somart San Angel, Villa Obregón, Mexico City.
Alex Rivera is an award-winning filmmaker whose work explores themes of globalization, migration, and technology. His first feature, a cyberpunk thriller set in Mexico, ‘Sleep Dealer,’ won multiple awards at Sundance and Berlin. Rivera’s second feature, a documentary/scripted hybrid set in an immigrant detention center, ‘The Infiltrators,’ won the NEXT: Audience Award and the Innovator Award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, was released theatrically in the U.S., and is currently being developed as a scripted series by Blumhouse. Rivera is a 2021 MacArthur Fellow, a Sundance Fellow, and was The Rothschild Lecturer at Harvard University. He studied at Hampshire College and lives in Los Angeles.
Karen Tei Yamashita
Karen Tei Yamashita was born in Oakland, California; her parents were both survivors of incarceration at the Topaz internment camp during World War II. Yamashita is the author of eight books traversing short story, memoir, and novel – all published by Coffee House Press – including: Through the Arc of the Rain Forest, Brazil-Maru, Tropic of Orange, Circle K Cycles, Anime Wong, and I Hotel, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, the American Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Award, and the Association for Asian American Studies Book Award. Her most recent publication, Sansei and Sensibility (2020), is a collection of buoyant and inventive stories where Yamashita transfers classic tales across boundaries and questions what an inheritance – familial, cultural, emotional, artistic – really means.
In 2021, Yamashita was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation. In the judges citation, David Steinberger, Chair of the Board of Directors, observed, “In her various roles as a public intellectual—author, lecturer, teacher, mentor—Yamashita models a deep desire to understand and to embrace life as she finds it. Her body of work has been credited with transforming the approach toward Asian American literary and cultural studies from one that is U.S.-centric to one that is hemispheric and transnational. In prose brimming with electric narrative energy, she employs humor, politics, sardonic wit, and lush polyvocality to invite readers into her nuanced but accessible literary worlds; her writing evinces a breathtaking capacity to transform conventions in genre, voice, intertextuality, and characterization.”
Yamashita is the recipient of the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, and a U.S. Artists’ Ford Foundation Fellowship. Her awards include the California Book Award, Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Award, and multiple Association for Asian American Studies Book Awards.
Yamashita was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to travel to São Paulo for research on the extensive history of Japanese immigration to Brazil where she remained for a decade. While there, Yamashita formed a study of Japanese Brazilian agricultural life, conducting interviews with Japanese immigrants, their descendants, and members of a commune. On her return to Los Angeles in 1984, Yamashita worked on translations and screenplays, and produced dramatic works such as Hannah Kusoh: An American Butoh, Tokyo Carmen vs. L.A. Carmen, and Noh Bozos, which she has linked to the content and style of her novel Tropic of Orange.
She is currently professor emerita of literature and creative writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Photo of Karen Tei Yamashita by Chris Hardy