Colleen Kim Daniher

Colleen Kim Daniher, Brown University

On Teaching Kim’s Convenience and Twilight Los Angeles in the Asian American Theatre and Performance Studies Classroom

This paper examines the challenges of teaching transnational genealogies of anti-black racism in the Asian American Theatre and Performance Studies classroom. The paper will focus on the particular pedagogical challenges that arose when anti-black racism was presented to students as an important issue within Asian American Theatre and Performance history. By asking the students to read Ins Choi’s Kim’s Convenience alongside a viewing of Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight Los Angeles, I hoped to introduce students to two different national and historical perspectives on Black-Asian relations, a topic I felt was of some urgency given both national and campus-specific conversations around police violence, protest, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Sharing anecdotal as well as written assignments and assessments from the class, I reflect on the various perils, pitfalls, and potentials of teaching interracial racisms in a class largely perceived as being about “minority performance.”

Colleen Kim Daniher (PhD, Northwestern University) is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies at Brown University. Her teaching and research focus on critical race studies, visual culture, and Asian diasporic performance. Her manuscript, Obdurate Sights: Performing Racial Ambiguity in American Visual Culture, investigates racial ambiguity as an aesthetic strategy and a performative mode of sight in twentieth-century US performance and visual culture. Recent and forthcoming publications include: “The Pose as Interventionist Gesture” (e-misférica) and “Looking at Pauline Johnson: Indigeneity, Race, and Delsartism’s Visual Culture.” Colleen has received fellowships from the American Society for Theatre Research and the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada. As an actor, vocalist, and dramaturge, Colleen has worked on performances including “Whisper Garden” (2014); “The Durian Series, Pts. 1-3” (2013); and “Faking It: A Halfbred Cabaret.”