Minority Aesthetics in the Context of AAPI Studies: Past, Present, and Future (AAAS 2024 Seattle)

deadline for submissions: 
September 27, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Association of Asian American Studies
contact email: 

We invite proposals for a panel at the upcoming AAAS annual conference, to be held in Seattle, WA, April 25-27, 2024.


In The Difference Aesthetics Makes (2019), Kandice Chuh observes that the “contemporary turn toward aesthetics finds bold traction in part because of the fatigue in such fields as Asian American studies with the kind of political critique that is somewhat predictable in its rendering of resistance, agency, and subjectivity” (17). Indeed, over the past decade, Asian American studies has witnessed a drastic increase in movements and voices calling for renewed attention to aesthetics in Asian American art and literature as an analytical means to uncover the racializing logic behind the Eurocentric construction of the universal subject. Moving beyond the work of uncovering, scholars have also engaged in provocative and revelatory methods of recovering the material agency of minoritized AAPI subjects at the intersection of history, politics, and aesthetics. 


This panel seeks to explore how Asian American and Pacific Islander literary, cultural, social, economic, and historical scene builds on, expands, questions, and/or challenges such alternative understandings of aesthetics. Engaging with Sue-Im Lee’s (2021) claim that “theorizing minority aesthetic concepts is part and parcel of theorizing a minority formalism, in which the function of art is to represent, illuminate, and interrogate the lived realities of particular subject experiences, and the function of form is to enact material—social, historical, political, and cultural—meaning” (695-96), this panel examines the limits and possibilities of employing minority aesthetics as a framework for articulating uneven forms of AAPI identities and subjectivities that emerge at different historical, political, and economic stages of migration, domination, and resistance.  


We are interested in papers that explore the questions below, but we also welcome other approaches to examining minority aesthetics in the context of AAPI studies:

  • How do we define minority aesthetics in the context of AAPI studies? Why not aesthetics but, emphatically, “minority” or “minoritarian” aesthetics?
  • How does a minoritarian approach to aesthetics challenge, redefine, and/or expand traditional concepts of aesthetics?
  • In what ways does minority aesthetics inform the relationship between the object and the subject, the dead and the living, the text and the society, and the self and the other?
  • What are the stakes and merits of employing minority aesthetics as a method of research and/or teaching?
  • How has minority aesthetics impacted your discipline from the past to the present? How do you envision it impacting your discipline in the future?


If you are interested in contributing to this panel, please send an abstract (250 words max) and a 

single-page CV (500 words max) to Seon-Myung Yoo (smy320yoo@tamu.edu) and Janet Eunjin Cho (janeteunjincho@tamu.edu) by September 27, 2023.