Asian American & Diaspora Studies Advance at Duke

October 3, 2022

Traveling to many corners around the world, lawyer-turned-filmmaker Joseph Juhn was surprised to find familiar faces nearly everywhere. All around the United States as well as in South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Germany, and in Cuba, Juhn encountered members of the Korean diaspora, many of whom are native-born descendants of Korean migrants.

This revelation inspired his first documentary, Jeronimo, which examined the Korean-Cuban community and the fascinating narrative of Jeronimo Lim Kim, a law school classmate of Fidel Castro and colleague of Che Guevara, who became a leader of the Cuban Revolution and helped establish relations between Cuba and North Korea.

Juhn was on campus for a screening of his second feature-length documentary, Chosen, which follows the campaigns and stories of five Korean-American candidates for U.S. Congress during the 2020 election, including Andy Kim (D-NJ 3rd District), Young Kim (R-CA 39th District), Michelle Park Steel (R-CA 48th District), Marilyn Strickland (D-WA 10th District) and David Kim, an electoral underdog who was vying to be the first Korean American representative from Koreatown in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, over at Trinity, Matt Hartmann sat down with Professor Esther Kim Lee, professor of Theater Studies, International Comparative Studies and History, and director of the Asian American Diaspora Studies Program. They talked about her new book, "Made-Up Asians: Yellowface During the Exclusion Era," why Hollywood producers have gone to great lengths to avoid hiring East Asian actors, and how this history of deliberate omission contributed to anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full interview >>