In the United States alone, more than 139,000 children have been adopted internationally in the last ten years–many of whom were born in China and Korea. Transnational adoption is rewriting how we understand Asian American identity–by implicating parents of non-Asian American descent who are eager to connect their children with their heritage, and adoptees who are Asian by heredity but often do not know what it means to be Asian American. This innovative evening presents writers from diverse backgrounds: Musician and adoptee Jared Rehrberg; author and adoptee Mi Soon Burzlaff; Professor David Eng, the author of a recent academic book on adoption; Wendy Lee, the author of a recent novel featuring Chinese adoption; anthropologist Eleana Kim whose scholarship explores the politics of overseas adoption; and Marie Myung-Ok Lee, a Young Adult’s writer who has written adoptee characters.
David L. Eng is a Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a core faculty member of the Asian American Studies Department there. He is author of The Feeling of Kinship: Queer Diasporas and the Racialization of Intimacy(Duke, forthcoming) and Racial Castration: Managing Masculinity in Asian America (Duke, 2001). He is currently at work on two new projects, a study of neoliberalism and desire in Chinese cinema and an analysis of political and psychic reparation.
Wendy Lee is a graduate of Stanford University and New York University’s Creative Writing Program. Her first novel,Happy Family, was named one of the top ten debut novels of the year by Booklist and received an honorable mention from the Association of Asian American Studies. She has been awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony and the Corporation of Yaddo, and currently lives in New York City, where she is an assistant editor at HarperCollins Publishers.
Marie Myung-Ok Lee is an award-winning author whose novel, Somebody’s Daughter, was a Booklist Best Book of the Year and an Association of American University Presses “Best of the Best”. Her short fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, The American Voice, TriQuarterly, Witness, Guernica, and won an O. Henry Awards honorable mention. She had served with the New York City Literacy Project, PEN’s Readers and Writers, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. She is also a founder of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop in New York City and served as its board president for 10 years. Marie has taught creative writing at Yale University and currently teaches at Brown University, her alma mater.
Mi Soon Burzlaff’s non-fiction book Bravo Your Life has recently been published by Koryo Press. She is a Korean adoptee, and she met her birth family in 2001. She received a Fulbright grant to Korea in 2002 and spent a good few years in Seoul thereafter. Currently, Mi Soon and her best friend are starting Kimchi Sisters, a small, local and organic as possible NYC based kimchi company. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her partner and two children.
Jared Rehberg is a Vietnamese Adoptee singer songwriter from Northboro, MA. His album Waking Up Americandebuted in 2003, and Somewhere in the Middle was released in December of 2009. Jared has travelled around the country sharing is journey as an adoptee to adoptive families and the Asian American community. He currently lives in Woodside with his wife Ying.
Eleana Kim is a cultural anthropologist and assistant professor at the University of Rochester. Her research since 1999 has examined the political, economic and cultural dimensions of transnational adoption from South Korea, and she has published articles based upon this research in Visual Anthropology Review, Social Text, and Anthropological Quarterly. Her book, Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging, is forthcoming from Duke University Press in November 2010.
53-22 Roosevelt Ave, Second Floor
7 train to 52nd street
Free and open to the public
Programs funded, in part, by the New York City Council for the Humanities and New York State Council on the Arts.
Program supported in part by the C.J. Huang Foundation