A Special Issue on Asian American Mental Health
Open in Emergency: A Special Issue on Asian American Mental Health is AALR’s most ambitious project yet, and we’re so grateful for the support from the community: so many supported our Kickstarter campaign last summer to raise funds for the issue. This project wouldn’t be possible without their generosity and investment in our collective wellness.
Rather than trying to recalibrate our existing mental health resources to better engage race and Asian American experience, we decided to start on the opposite end, with what wellness, unwellness, and care actually look like in Asian American life. With the help of an amazing group of writers and artists, scholars and teachers, practitioners and survivors (see below for a full listing of contributors), we’ve created a work of book art that decolonizes mental health and opens up a wealth of new approaches. Our existing approaches not only aren’t enough–they’re part of the problem, sometimes unwittingly, sometimes openly conducting white supremicist, heteronormative, misogynist, and ableist violence against the very people for whom they claim to provide care.
Guest-edited by Mimi Khuc, with guest curation by Eliza Noh, erin Khue Ninh, Tamara Ho, and Long Bui, this special issue works to reimagine what counts as unwellness and wellness in our communities through a dynamic mix of writing, visual art, and interactive mini-projects. It includes:
- a deck of tarot cards— featuring original art and text that work to reveal the hidden contours of our Asian American emotional,
psychic, and spiritual lives;
- a foldout testimonial tapestry— a collectively woven tapestry of written and visual testimonials, a process-oriented art piece that reimagines community care & healing.
- a “hacked” mock DSM: Asian American Edition— a new catalog of “definitions”/reflections, with alternate understandings of un/wellness and critiques of Psychology as field, discourse, and industry,
featuring fiction and essays on neuro-diversity and race; a queer mixed race WOC self-care package; a play excerpt examining conceptions of mental illness as demonic possession in Lao communities; and poetry on the lasting psychic rupture of Partition, among many other pieces.
- a “treated” pamphlet on postpartum depression— a redaction/erasure/annotation of existing postpartum depression info-literature that centers lived mother of color experience;
- a stack of daughter-to-mother letters— handwritten letters that rethink intergenerational intimacies
and violences, Asian American daughterhood and motherhood.
Buy the full issue or just the deck of tarot cards (the issue includes a deck) above. For bulk orders and course adoption, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are very happy to be able to donate a limited number of copies of the issue to places of need. If your organization would like to request copies, please fill out this form.
Open in Emergency forms the core of a teaching program that will virtually connect university classrooms across the country to teach and learn together about Asian American mental health. You teach the special issue, and we’ll provide dynamic resources and opportunities for interaction with other classrooms. The program’s primary platform will be a closed Facebook group featuring:
- a series of “digital extras,” videos by editors, curators, and contributors;
- a shared curriculum of activities and projects building from the issue;
- a resource mini-bank with student-to-student workshop plans and additional readings; and
- interactive virtual spaces designed to put students in conversation with one another.
We’ll also help seed one-on-one video conferencing between classes for those interested. The goal is a national conversation that builds academic community, a dialogue among students and teachers across the country that challenges and grows our understandings of mental health.
HOW IT CAN WORK FOR MY CLASSROOM
Because of its cross-disciplinary approaches, the issue is a fit for a range of courses: Intro to Asian American studies, Asian American literature, Asian American psychology, Asian American art and visual cultures, Asian American sexualities, Women and Gender studies, Queer studies, disabilities studies, race and health.
To accommodate a wide variety of schedules and class needs, we’re making the commitment open-ended: we’ll have the program live throughout the spring of 2017, from January through May, with curricular materials and exchange possibilities available throughout—but your class can participate for anywhere from a week to the entire academic term.
10 professors at 9 universities have already pledged to participate, and we expect many more as the program develops: Eliza Noh, California State University Fullerton • erin Khuê Ninh, University of California Santa Barbara • Tamara Ho, University of California Riverside • Long Bui, Wesleyan University • Mimi Khúc, University of Maryland • Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, University of Maryland • Lynn Itagaki, the Ohio State University • Christine Kitano, Ithaca College • Karen Kuo, Arizona State University • Cynthia Wu, University of Buffalo SUNY
SPECIAL ISSUE/TEACHING PROGRAM SPONSORS
If you believe as we do in the importance of reimagining Asian American mental health, please consider supporting this project’s development by serving as an official sponsor. Your contribution can fund general issue production, featured work by particular artists and writers, or distribution of copies to underresourced spaces of need—libraries, community centers, counseling centers.
Our sponsorship levels as are follows:
- $250 Friend
- $500 Patron
- $1,000 Benefactor
All sponsors will be prominently recognized in the issue and on the teaching program website. Please inquire at email@example.com for more details about sponsor recognition, advertising opportunities, the teaching program, or other possible avenues of support.
Open in Emergency Contributors
Melba Abela aka ma • Anida Yoeu Ali • Raven Anand • Ryka Aoki • Vimi Bajaj • Lydia X.Z. Brown (Autistic Hoya) • Long Bui • Anne Canute • Wo Chan • Yoonmee Chang • Camille Chew • Sharline Chiang • Learkana Chong • Lia Chaudhary • Seo-Young Chu • Audrey Wu Clark • Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis • Jigna Desai • Mai C. Doan • Jennifer Kwon Dobbs • Aileen Alfonso Duldulao, MSW, PhD • Tarfia Faizullah • Michi Fu • Aiko Fukuchi • Rajani Gudlavalleti • Chenxing Han • Johanna Hedva • Jennifer Ho • Linh Huỳnh • Tanwi Nandini Islam • Deepa Iyer • Shana Bulhan Haydock • Sine Hwang Jensen • Priya Jha • Simi Kang • Bhanu Kapil • Imneet Kaur • Nina Kaur • Judy Kawamoto • Mary Keovisai • Mehtab Kaur Khalsa • Mimi Khúc • Susan Kikuchi • David Kyuman Kim • Joy Kogawa • Deidre Kogawa-Canute • lê thị diễm thúy • Amy Grace Lam • Esther Lee • James Kyung-Jin Lee • Peggy Lee • Sueyeun Juliette Lee • Molly Liu • Patty Liu • Gerald Maa • Pooja Makhijani • Rajiv Mohabir • Mai Neng Moua • David Mura • Karen Nagano • Aimee Nezhukumatathil • Konrad Ng • Mimi Thi Nguyen • erin Khuê Ninh • Eliza Noh • Sophanarith Nok • Genevieve Erin O’Brien • Monica Ramos • Monica Ong Reed • Paisley Rekdal • Margaret Rhee • Shawna Yang Ryan • Koji Steven Sakai • Matthew Salesses • Shizue Seigel • Sejal Shah • Chad Shomura • Maya Soetoro-Ng • Brandon Som • Sharon Suh • Raymond Tan • Ryann Tanap • Kai Cheng Thom • Tiffany • Emily Wu Truong • Laura Uba • Julie Thi Underhill • Tara Villalba • Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay • Kristina Wong • Cynthia Wu • Karen Tei Yamashita • Kit Yan • Kathleen S. Yep • Claire Zhuang
Open in Emergency Sponsors
University of Maryland Asian American Studies Program • Institute for Asia and Asian Diasporas at Binghamton University of the State University of New York • The Ohio State University Asian American Studies • Arizona State University Asian Pacific American Studies Program • Asian American Student Union (AASU), University of Maryland • Celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Womxn (CAAPIW) • University of California, Irvine Department of Asian American Studies • University of California, Berkeley Program in Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies • Shift MN, a program of Rainbow Health Initiative • University of Connecticut Asian and Asian American Studies Institute • Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU • UMass Lowell Center for Asian American Studies • Kundiman • Department of English, Clark University • Betsy Huang • National Asian Pacific Americans Families Against Substance Abuse (NAPAFASA) • English Department, Mt. Holyoke • CSU Fullerton Asian American Studies Program • University of Pennsylvania Asian American Studies Program • Vietnamese American NGO Network • University of Minnesota Asian American Studies • Ethnics Studies, University of the Pacific • Friends DO Make a Difference • Roxane Gay • Kimchee Mamas • Department of English at Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY) • Asian Arts Initiative • University of Michigan Critical Ethnic & APIA Studies Graduate Student Group • Amherst College American Studies Department • QTPoC Mental Health • Pan-Asian American Community House (PAACH) Cultural Resource Center at UPenn • Asian American Studies Program, Hunter College, CUNY