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Mobilizing “Asian American”: rhetoric and ethnography of Asian American media organizations

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Title: Mobilizing “Asian American”: rhetoric and ethnography of Asian American media organizations
Author(s): Pham, Vincent N.
Director of Research: Ono, Kent A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Ono, Kent A.
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Finnegan, Cara A.; Pezzullo, Phaedra C.; Poole, Marshall S.
Department / Program: Communication
Discipline: Communication
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Asian American rhetoric media organizations media representation ethnography
Abstract: Historically, Asian Americans have been seldom represented, or if so negatively, in the mainstream media and not through their own accord. As a result, popular images of emasculated or villainous Asian American males, submissive or sexually threatening Asian American females prevail as the most salient representations. However, Asian American media organizations have been formed to address the dearth of representation by producing their own media or confronting the Hollywood media industries. While the term “Asian American” refers in large part to the people of Asian descent in the United States, what does it mean to be an “Asian American” media organization and who is included as part of the community of people categorized as “Asian American?” Through a multi-sited ethnography, this dissertation examines the rhetoric of three Asian American media organizations: the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), the Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA), and the Foundation of Asian American Independent Media (FAAIM). These three organizations are dedicated to issues of Asian American media organizations. CAAM exhibits independent media through their annual film festival, funds films, and produces and distributes independent media for a national audience through their work with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. MANAA engages the Hollywood television and film studios to challenge the production of questionable media representations in mainstream media. FAAIM holds a grassroots Asian American film festival. By conducting participant observation research, this dissertation analyzes interviews, field notes, speeches, and textual and visual artifacts and reveals the multiple and complex modes by which these organizations mobilize a notion of “Asian American.” This study of Asian American media organizations and its rhetoric offers an interdisciplinary perspective on the efforts to construct a pan-Asian American community within an increasingly diverse and changing Asian Pacific Islander American population.
Issue Date: 2011-08-26
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/26358
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Vincent N. Pham
Date Available in IDEALS: 2013-08-27
Date Deposited: 2011-08
 

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