We are delighted to welcome our new faculty member, Lok Siu, who will join us in the fall. Professor Siu was educated at Berkeley and Stanford before teaching first at New York University and most recently at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of Memories of a Future Home: Diasporic Citizenship of Chinese in Panama (2005), co-editor, with Ethnic Studies alumna Rhacel Parrenas, of Asian Diasporas: New Formations, New Conceptions (2007) and co-editor, with the gender and cultural citizenship working group, of Gendered Citizenships: Transnational Perspectives on Knowledge Production, Political Activism, and Culture (2009).
Professor Siu’s work examines notions of belonging and citizenship, alongside concepts of diaspora and transnationalism, to understand the different experiences of and the linkages among Asians dispersed throughout the Americas. She says, “Questions of belonging have always been central to Asian Americans. In many ways, they thematize our collective desire, concern, and anxiety. Diaspora, as an analytical framework, facilitates analysis of roots/routes, sameness/difference, and interactions/transformations. It also inspires several modalities of comparison, be it between “homeland” (real or imagined) and adopted place of settlement, an ethnic group dispersed in various locations, or different ethnic/racial groups situated in one location.” Currently, Siu is working on two book projects. Asian Latino is an ethnographic project that explores the aesthetics of encounter and sustained contact between Asians and Latinos in the Americas. She is interested in exploring the everyday interactions and intersections between Asians and Latinos as a way of understanding how racializing processes are interpreted, challenged, and reworked on the ground and amidst constant social intermingling and cultural exchange. One part of the book, for example, will examine the socio-cultural formation of “Chino Latino” restaurants in New York City and will discuss the migration practices of Chinese Latinos (Chinese who migrate from Latin America to the United States), the labor and social relations among the multi-racial labor force, and the unexpected cultural affinities that emerge among workers and patrons (largely Latinos and Afro-Caribbeans) in this context. This project questions and disrupts fixed and bounded notions of racial communities and categories by recovering the extensive interactions and relations between Asians and Latinos. Her second project, Transnational Asian America: New Theories and Methodologies in Asian American Studies, is a book of essays. Pivoting around the theme of transnational studies, the book will examine U.S. neoliberalism, cosmopolitanism, and inter-racialism in the context of Asian American communities.