My research explores the cultural and pollitical production of the U.S. empire in the twentieth century. I work broadly in the disciplines of History, American Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Asian American Studies, and am interested in articulations of colonialism and nationalism; histories of violence and war; social protest; critical theories of gender, race, and culture; and the circulation of historical narratives and artifacts. My current book project is an interdisciplinary study that examines how the short, violent, Korean War (1950-1953) has come to be remembered as forgotten in American history and culture. Using the conflict's "forgotten war" moniker as a point of departure, I argue that the contradictory processes of mobilizing, justifying, and eliding state violence proved endemic and central to the projection and constitution of American empire after World War II. By focusing on the militarized racial and gender violence levied against Koreans and Japanese under American influence in East Asia, I investigate the ways in which American power after 1945 was produced through a simultaneous reliance on and disavowal of its own violence. I have also written about the circulation of trophies and artifacts of American empire; photography and racial violence; Korean American history; and the creative imagination of protest.
I am a founding member of the Histories of Violence collective, a pan-institutional formation of scholars seeking to bring together new methodological approaches to think about violence as a constitutive process of the modern world. The Collective has already hosted one nationally attended conference in May 2013 at Northwestern University, and is currently working toward several publishing projects.
I am also a past associate editor of the Pacific Northwest Labor and Civil Rights Projects, a collection of research and oral history-based projects chronicling movements for civil rights, labor, and social justice in the Northwest. Bsed at the University of Washington, the web projects were produced out of a series of collaborations between community members, faculty, and undergraduate and graduate students. I co-founded one of the projects, the Pacific Northwest Antiwar and Radical History Project, to bring attention to the history of antiwar sodiers' and veterans' activism during the Vietnam War.
In my classes, we use historical sources to develop a richer analysis of the past and a more complex understanding of our own present. The study of historical change over time is, I believe, a form of social responsibility that allows us to offer new insights to existing conversations and a more nuanced view of our present and possible futures. My courses emphasize students' direct engagement with historical documents--be they speeches, oral histories, diaries, photographs, films, or landscapes--and work to develop students' ability to synthesize and analyze texts through writing.