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Corky Lee's Asian America: 50 Years of Photographic Justice, 1970-2020 -- Exhibit Opening


Calvin Cheung-Miaw (History, Duke); Mae Ngai (Asian American Studies and History, Columbia)

Join us to view a selection of Corky Lee's art on display at the John Hope Franklin Center Gallery April–June 2024.

Corky Lee's work invites us to rethink what we thought we knew about Asian American history, and to construct new narratives that reject the framing of anti-Asian violence as limited to exceptional moments of history. It suggests, as well, that a full reckoning with the history of anti-Asian violence must go beyond acts by racist individuals to analyze state violence.

This particular collection also pushes us beyond simple narratives of oppression and resistance. There are more stories that lie behind the images of Bong Jae Jang, Miné Okubo, the Miss Saigon protest, the struggle for bilingual education, and the many other treasures that are part of this exhibit. Thanks to Corky Lee's tireless efforts to document our lives, we have these snapshots that are more than snapshots. They are vistas onto Asian American history, which turns out to be far more interesting, vital, and complex, than we imagined.

introduction written by Calvin Cheung-Miaw, Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of History at Duke University

About the speakers:
Calvin Cheung-Miaw

Calvin Cheung-Miaw is the Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor at Duke University. He is a historian of race who works at the intersection of intellectual history and social movement history. His current book project, Asian Americans and the Color-Line, uses the history of Asian American Studies to explore the rise and fall of Third Worldism within the United States. He is also at work on a project on radical Asian American activism. A piece of this project, on transnational political murders, has been published as an article in Pacific Historical Review.

Mae Ngai

Mae Ngai is the Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and professor of history at Columbia. She is author of the award winning books, Impossible Subjects (2004), The Lucky Ones (2010), and The Chinese Question (2021), and is editor of the new retrospective book of the late Corky Lee's photography (2024). She writes opinion and commentary for the New York Times, The Atlantic, and Dissent.

Information for visitors:

Parking is available in Parking Garage II (vehicles enter the garage at 2223 Elba Street); the rate is $2.00/hour. After 5:00pm, free parking is available in the Duke Family Medicine Pickens Clinic lot (2100 Erwin Rd; entry to the parking lot is on Trent Drive).