March 28, 2017

SIU to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage month

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale will celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage month in April.

The observance begins with a kick-off event at 5 p.m. on April 3 at the Center for International Education, located in Woody Hall, 425 Clocktower Drive. It’s a chance to get acquainted and learn more about the upcoming events.

One of those events will be a discussion of director Hayao Miyazaki’s impact on Japanese cinema and animation. During a career spanning more than 50 years, Miyazaki’s films have addressed war, feminism, environmentalism, pacifism and other issues. Satoshi Toyosaki, associate professor of communication studies, will lead “Miyazaki Fans Get-together,” a discussion of the famed director’s work set for 5 p.m. on April 5 at the Student Center’s Delta Room.  

“One way to think about the underlying theme for this year’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month would be ‘identity and belonging,’” Rene Francisco Poitevin, coordinator of the Hispanic/Latino Resource Center, said. “What does it mean to ‘belong’ in American society today if you are Asian? What if your identity includes more than one category? Where do you belong then?”

Those thoughts and questions will be explored through various Asian Pacific American Heritage Month activities, including “Identity, Belonging and Citizenship – Asian Bodies in the U.S.” Nilanjana Bardhan, communication studies professor, will facilitate the panel discussion from 5 to 7 p.m. on April 12 in the University Museum Auditorium at Faner Hall. The focus will be on an examination from national and international perspectives of the multitudes of ways that political and cultural processes socially construct the Asian identidy. Participants will also explore how our perception of Asian identity in turn shapes our understanding and opinion of who “belongs” in society and who is an outsider.

You can learn to make sushi during a workshop at the Old Main Lounge of the Student Center from 4 to 6 p.m. on April 14. The cost of the sushi workshop is $17 for students or $22 for non-students.

Another highlight of the month is the screening of the short documentary film, “In God’s House: Asian American Lesbian and Gay Families in the Church.” Sponsored by the Queer People of Color, it will take place at 6 p.m. on April 20 in the lower level of Grinnell Hall. The movie examines the intersection between Asian and gay identities in terms of “belonging” and suggests different strategies to use in negotiating power and community, organizers said.

Find the complete schedule of events for Asian Pacific American Heritage month online at The Student Multicultural Resource Center organizes the activities and all are open to the public. Everything is also free, with the exception of the sushi workshop.