March 25, 2004

April is Asian Awareness month at SIUC

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- "A Journey Through Asia" is the theme for April's Asian Awareness Month celebration at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Events include the India Fest, an evening of colorful classical and semi-classical dances, the "Hungry Ghost Festival," and an "Iron Chef" competition. Throughout the month, Morris Library's Hall of Presidents and the Student Center display case near the bowling and billiards center will feature cultural exhibits.

Enhancing students' understanding of the value of diversity is among the goals of Southern@150, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

All events are free unless otherwise noted. Here's the schedule:

Thursday, April 1

  • Kickoff Celebration Dinner, 6:30 p.m., Newman Center. Tickets cost $7 per person. Keynote speaker is Manjunath Pendakur, dean of SIUC's College of Mass Communication and Media Arts. The evening also will feature performances by the Carbondale Community High School multicultural groups and the Lion Dancers of St. Louis.

Friday, April 2

  • Chinese cuisine at the Student Center's Old Main buffet, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Cost is $6.25 per person.

Saturday, April 3

  • India Fest, 7:30 p.m., Carbondale Community High School. Tickets are $10 per person, $5 for children under age 5. This evening of colorful classical and semi-classical dances features the Kalapadma Bharatnatyam Dance Academy of Chicago, as well as melodious Hindi pop, and concludes with a DJ dance party.

Tuesday, April 6

  • Brown Bag discussion, "The Model Minority," noon-1 p.m., Student Center Kaskaskia/Missouri rooms. Nima Patel, a doctoral student in psychology, will discuss common representations and misrepresentations of Asian Americans and the implications of these images for Asian-American identity.

Wednesday, April 7

  • "Growing up Other and Woman in the South," 7 p.m., Student Center Auditorium. Kiran Ahuja, national director of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, will discuss how Asian women fit into the white-black dichotomy of the South. Ahuja immigrated to the U.S. with her parents when she was 2 years old and grew up in Georgia. Her involvement with the Women's Forum dates to 1999. Her background includes serving as a civil rights lawyer with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, where she worked on desegregation, bilingual, race and national origin discrimination cases in education-related civil rights cases.

Friday, April 9

  • Iron Chef competition, 6:30 p.m., Quigley Hall rooms 212 and 214. Teams of SIUC students will compete in a campus version of the popular television program. Celebrity judges will critique the process, sample the dishes and crown the best SIUC Iron Chef Asian team. The public is welcome to sample the culture, the food, drama and excitement of this special celebration.

Tuesday, April 13

  • Brown Bag discussion, "Asians vs. Asian Americans," noon-1 p.m., Student Center Mississippi Room. Argus Tong, a graduate assistant with the Student Center's Special Programs and Center Events, will discuss the myriad implications of the socially constructed term "Asian American," which brings a diversity of cultures, languages, religions and ethnicities together under one tenuous umbrella.

Thursday, April 15

  • Hungry Ghost Festival, 2-5 p.m., rear of Neckers Hall near the Student Center. This tradition is celebrated throughout China and Southeast Asia, where offerings are made to spirits to keep them from invading the home, causing natural disasters and creating havoc on Earth. Prayers, food and the burning of incense and replica money notes are among the offerings to the ghosts. The United Asian American Council is hosting the festival.

Friday, April 16

  • Literary Creations, 7 p.m., Student Center Big Muddy Room. There is a growing desire within the Asian community to consume as well as produce work that is political, engaging and personal. Who are some of the Asian performers at SIUC and beyond, and how are they using their creations to communicate themes of resistance, activism and feminism?

Tuesday, April 20

  • "Looking Like the Enemy: Post 9-11 Panel Discussion," 7 p.m., Student Center Mississippi Room. Nilanjana Bardhan, an assistant professor of speech communication, will lead this discussion of the predicaments faced by Asian American soldiers who fought in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and the current climate of fear and suspicion and concerns over civil liberties resulting from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Wednesday, April 21

  • "Vanilla, Chocolate and Maybe Butterscotch," 7 p.m., Student Center Ohio Room. The United Asian American Council will lead a discussion about what it means to be American and the realities of a national identity that is more than black and white.

Thursday, April 22

  • Asian Movie Night, 7 p.m., Parkinson Building, Browne Auditorium.

Friday, April 23

  • Asian Outdoor Movie Night, 7 p.m., Student Recreation Center patio (rain location: Parkinson Building, Browne Auditorium). The evening's feature is "Bend it Like Beckham," the story of an Indian family in London that tries to raise their soccer-playing daughter in a traditional way.

Tuesday, April 27

  • Martial Arts Festival, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Free Forum Area.

Wednesday, April 28

  • Asian Movie Night, 7 p.m., Parkinson Building, Browne Auditorium.