angry reader of the week: vanessa au

Okay, people. It's time to meet another Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is Vanessa Au.

Who are you?
I'm Vanessa Au and I like hamsters, dogs, coffee, beer, and sushi.

What are you?
I'm a second generation Chinese-Canadian living in the US. I'm a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. "Candidate" means I survived a 4-day hazing called "qualifying exams," which enables you to then take part in an ultra marathon also known as "writing a dissertation." Clearly I'm a glutton for punishment! Even with all the diss writing, I still have more to say, thus, I tweet (@vanessaau) and I Yelp (vanessaau.yelp.com). I'm also a job hunter looking for a position as an assistant professor in Communication (focus on race and/or new media) or Ethnic Studies/Asian American studies (please hire me).

Where are you?
Right now I'm in the Fremont neighborhood (self-proclaimed "center of the universe") of Seattle at the offices of Pinch/Zoom, where my partner works. I come here to work on my dissertation for a change of pace and space because working at home usually leads to very long accidental afternoon naps and/or sudden urges to clean or rearrange my apartment.

Where are you from?
I say I'm from Vancouver, BC but really I grew up in a suburb 40 minutes east by car famous for having been the home of two, yes TWO, of Canada's serial killers -- Clifford Olsen and Robert Pickton. Technically before that I was in Hong Kong (in the womb) so I guess you could say I was made in Hong Kong. I also lived in the San Francisco Bay Area (Pacifica, Portero Hill, South San Francisco, Foster City, and San Jose to be exact) for six glorious years. I've been living in Seattle since 2006 when I started my Ph.D. program at the UW.

What do you do?
I do research in which I interrogate the discourses of power, consent, and resistance in popular culture and mainstream media. I am particularly interested in the production of the "Oriental" through camp and ironic humor, the hegemonic maneuvers involved in gaining the "consent" of Asian American consumers, and the public responses to Asian American resistance to racist mainstream representations. I also teach undergraduates. My favorite course to teach is COM 389 Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Media in the Communication Department. I will also TA for the American Ethnic Studies Department this spring with the wonderful Professor Rick Bonus (AES 151 Introduction to the Cultures of American Ethnic Groups). In a previous life, I chased the Silicon Valley dot com dream. I've been a product marketing manager and marketing communication manager at various high tech companies.

What are you all about?
I'm into issues of representation -- how Asian Americans are represented in pop culture, why that matters, and how technology can be both counter-hegemonic and complicit in reproducing dominant ideologies. I never planned to be the subject of my own research but it happened (I was #1 on Digg.com for a day) and I wrote about it on the FLOW website.

I'm also into protesting racist representations. I started the Boycott Spencer Gifts campaign in early 2006 when they launched a line of shirts similar to those sold by Abercrombie & Fitch. I haven't had the time to devote to such actions since I started grad school though so I try to make my contribution to the community by teaching students to consume critically and take action when something pisses them off.

What makes you angry?
The stuff that makes me angry is what makes up my research, essentially. That's why I went back to school. There are other things too: Arizona HB 2281 (banning the teaching of Ethnic Studies), political apathy, Asian Americans who don't get angry, colorblindness, charges of reverse discrimination. I could go on and on, but I'll stop here.

angry archive