2011 Accomplishments

Here’s a short list of what you’ve helped make possible in 2011:

AALR Spring 2011 Issue: “Counting Citizens.” Featuring a forum on multiracialism and art-making with poets Jeffrey Yang, C. Dale Young, and Srikanth Reddy; a groundbreaking folio of translations of work by Japanese Peruvian poet José Watanabe; new writing by Joy Kogawa; Chang-rae Lee interviewed by Maud Casey; and the first installment of a collaborative project with the Library of Congress to recover “lost” Asian American works in the form of a regular bibliography.

2011 AALR Literary Symposium. A day-long celebration of Asian American literature and community at the Japanese American National Museum in LA. Some highlights included Joy Kogawa reflecting on the earthquake in Japan and Japanese Canadian relief responses; Hiromi Itō and translator Jeffrey Angles giving a stirring bilingual performance; Ray Hsu dressed like robot and telephoning Oprah’s Book Club from onstage; R.Z. Linmark reading from his new book Leche; and exciting young author Reese Okyong Kwon reading from a new short story.

AALR Special Issue Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of Sept. 11. A critical consideration of the moment and its aftermath–the political, legal, and civil rights repercussions for communities directly affected but oft-silenced, South Asian, Arab, Middle Eastern, and Muslim American. Guest edited by Rajini Srikanth and Parag Khandhar, featuring testimonies and essays by writers, artists, scholars, lawyers, activists, students, and more. Taught in classrooms nationwide, and sure to be a perennially important resouce. Said Erika Lee, Director, Asian American Studies Program, University of Minnesota:

AALR’s “Commemorating the Tenth Anniversary of Sept. 11” was one of the most effective teaching tools I have ever used in the classroom. My Introduction to Asian American Studies class used the special issue in the weeks before and after 9/11/11, and it helped us analyze the mainstream 9/11 commemorations, bear witness to post-9/11 racial profiling, understand the ongoing work of Asian American activism and Asian American Studies, and explore the complexity of contemporary Asian American identities. I am so pleased that I could share this amazing collection with my students.

Our 2011 issues were purchased by subscribers in ten countries on four continents. Eight new universities adopted our issues for the classroom. Our issues and events were sponsored by over twenty Asian American studies programs. And we worked with dozens of great organizations, including the Japanese American National Museum, Kundiman, Asian Arts Initiative, Philippine Expressions Bookshop, Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network, Hyphen Magazine, Coffee House Press, Kaya Press, Asian American Journalists Association, and Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association.

2012 promises to be even better, and we look forward to building with you. Here’s what your generosity would go to support:

2012 AALR Literary Symposium. To be held in April 2012 in our hometown of Washington, DC, in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, and the Library of Congress–Asian Division. The event will engage NPG’s seminal “Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter” exhibition, with each invited writer commissioned to create an original response to a portrait by one of the exhibition’s visual artists. Featured writers include Ha Jin, Garrett Hongo, Kazim Ali, Bao Phi, Anna Kazumi Stahl, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, and Marianne Villanueva.

A great slate of 2012 publications (in both print and e-versions, readable on all tablet devices). Featuring:

-a forum on “generations” in Asian American literature, with responses by writers, publishers, arts organizers, and more, including legendary playwrights Velina Hasu Houston and Genny Lim; Sunyoung Lee, editor of Kaya Press; Allan Kornblum, founder and editor of Coffee House Press; Marie Hara, editor at Bamboo Ridge Press; Richard Oyama of the Basement Workshop; David Mura, writer and co-founder of the Asian American Renaissance; Mai Neng Moua, founder of the Hmong American literary organization Paj Ntaub Voice; Ravi Shankar of Drunken Boat; Fred Wah, legendary Chinese Canadian poet; Nancy Bulalacao of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop; and many more.

  • interviews with literary giants and exciting newcomers, including Maxine Hong Kingston, Garrett Hongo, Bharati Mukherjee, Afaa Michael Weaver, and Miguel Syjuco.
  • the visual portrait-literary portrait pairings from the 2012 AALR Symposium, accompanied by a dialogue between leading Asian American studies scholars about the pairings’ historical, political, and aesthetic contexts.
  • a prison writing project, organized by poet Ray Hsu.
  • a forum on the recent labor and Occupy movements and the intersections of arts and activism.

A new podcast/livechat project. Produced in collaboration with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program as part of Smithsonian 2.0, this project will produce live webcasts of literary, arts, and cultural events using UStream technology, enabling viewers to pose live questions to featured writers, artists, scholars, and activists.

Testimonials about AALR:

“The editors and writers involved are very serious about this new venue. While other such journals have had short lives and attempted to fill the absence of a legitimate literary review and outlet for critical discussion and creative work focused on Asian Pacific America, I believe that finally we’ve got the real thing going, and this is really exciting.”

-Karen Tei Yamashita, author of National Book Award Finalist I-Hotel, AALR Advisory Editor


On AALR Issue 1: “Man, that thing is a weapon!”

-Eric Nakamura, Founder and Editor, Giant Robot


“An important source for exploring Asian American life and its contemporary inflections.”

-Konrad Ng, Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, AALR Advisory Council Member


“Without the [UCLA Asian American Studies] Center’s support since [the 1970s], as well as Russell Leong’s long and distinguished tenure as editor, I doubt if Amerasia would have lasted this long. There have been many journals, magazines, and newspapers that have come and gone during the past 40 years. I really hope the Asian American Literary Review makes it to 2050.”

-Don T. Nakanishi, Scholar, Co-founder of Amerasia, AALR Advisory Council Member


“If you’re a literary scholar, get your university library onto subscribing to [AALR].”

-Tseen Khoo, author of Banana Bending: Asian-Australian and Asian-Canadian Literatures (2003)


“From its conception, the Asian American Literary Review strikes me as being committed to taking every word of its own name with the utmost seri-ousness. Here is a journal edited by thinkers who scrutinize the broad geographical rubric of ‘Asian,’ the question of what it means to be ‘American,’ how to foreground the ‘literary’ within such a complex cultural/political context, and the possibility of keeping these shifting topoi under critical ‘review.’”

-Srikanth Reddy, author of Facts for Visitors (2004) and Voyager (2011), AALR Advisory Editor

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