The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang — Review by Aida Guo

“The Poppy War” is a heavy, dark, and unprecedented debut by R.F. Kuang. The first fantasy war novel out of a trilogy covers topics of classism, colonization, and genocide through the experiences of its young female protagonist who survives in a world familiar of Chinese history. Shamans clash with plot points drawn from events like the Opium War, second Sino-Japanese war and an atmosphere of the Song dynasty.  The main character of the novel is Rin, a dark-skinned and poor war orphan. To avoid her…

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Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jee Lee — Review by Audrey Sun

What does it mean to be successful? Can you be happy and successful? Min Jin Lee takes a stab at answering these questions, with the backdrop of her home in mind. Lee sets Free Food for Millionaires in Elmhurst, her hometown in Queens, and into the family of Casey Han, the daughter of Korean immigrants who run the local laundromat. The questions of success and happiness thus take on a different spin: how can one find success and happiness while making their parents’ sacrifices worthwhile?…

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“Next Chapter”: AZN Zine’s Second Issue

AZN Zine released its second issue, “Next Chapter,” in December. This new publication strives to connect and empower global Asian communities by serving as a space for Asian creators to share their work. The issue contains poetry, short stories, photography, music, and artwork that “[center] on how growth is necessary to move on to the next chapter.”  Click here to read AZN Zine’s second issue, “Next Chapter.”Click here to read AZN Zine’s first issue, “Outsider.”

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1882 At: “Asian Americans on Celluloid” Launch

On November 14, the Music of Asian America Research Center (MAARC) launched “Asian Americans on Celluloid” at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. This film timeline gives students a fun way to learn how Asian American representation and experiences have changed over time.  The initial release contains 20 viewing guides and four introductory essays on Asian American filmmaking eras. MAARC intends to expand it to 45 films over the next year. Eric Hung, MAARC Executive Director and Co-Founder, and Irene Chien, Assistant Professor at Muhlenberg…

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“Ethnic” Food and the Cultural Legacies of Orientalism

Links to this week's readings can be found at: https://linktr.ee/1882WeeklyReadings This week, we're looking at the messy intersections of food and culture with hopes of untangling the ways in which Orientalist tropes often reappear in disguise as multiculturalism. Can food truly act as a space for unproblematic cultural exchange? How can we create a vision of multiculturalism that centers not only the food itself but the people who make it?  Readings: Anthony Bourdain (articles linked above) — In an era in which the hunger for “culturally authentic”…

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07.30: Orientalism, Part II — “Scientific Orientalism”

Notes and questions for Part I of Said's Orientalism can be found here. You can register for our upcoming Book Chats at: https://linktr.ee/1882foundation In Part II of Orientalism, Said continues with his description of the historical underpinnings of Orientalist thinking, shifting his attention to the modern foundations of Orientalism in 18th-century Europe. As Europe / the West progressed technologically, Said explains that Orientalists began viewing Asia as a place which could regenerate Europe spiritually. Orientalism in the 1800s thus introduced a new philosophical development: the Orient as…

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