Afro-Latinx-Queer-Korea-Asia in the Arts Symposium

April 22, 2023 – April 23, 2023
1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Online Via Zoom

Dana Davenport, Self Portrait, 2015, Courtesy of the Artist

Dana Davenport, Self Portrait, 2015, Courtesy of the Artist

The Art Department is hosting an Afro-Latinx-Queer-Korea-Asia in the Arts Symposium as part of a Cross-Ethno-Gender Korean/Asian Studies Initiative to highlight a more intersectional approach and to forefront Korean studies, which is often marginalized in such endeavors.

The initiative entails establishing an advisory board; soliciting papers/practices via open calls for papers; and a two-day symposium/roundtable discussion.



Queer/LGBTQI Korea/Asia

Latinx Korea/Asia

A critical approach to Korean Hallyu and K-pop phenomena

Feminist art in Korea/Asia

While each of the fields featured in this symposium’s theme—African, Latinx, queer, feminist, Korean, and Asian studies—is still evolving, what may be noted is the lack of academic intersectionality among these underrepresented fields in art history and cultural studies. Indeed, much of the current decolonization discourse (narrative) is often in the context of the “non-Western” pitted against “Western” cultures. The proposed initiative builds upon and augments the sentiment of non-alignment of the Bandung Conference of 1955, wherein African and Asian countries met to discuss peace, economic development, and how to define and navigate their role during the Cold War period. The initiative goes further by moving away from the colonial legacy that foregrounds the center-periphery model via discriminate loaded binaries, such as developed versus underdeveloped countries.

The symposium and initiative seek to cultivate scholarship and cultural/artistic practices that emphasize the intricate web of networks of multidirectional reciprocity across ethnicity, cultures, nationality, gender, and sexual orientations on equal footing.

The initiative and symposium will offer an alternative antidote to the toxic and ethnically divided social and media rhetoric that has intensified in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The anti-Asian sentiments and violence were often depicted in mass media to criminalize other minorities in the United States, pitting one “minority” group against another. The cross-ethnic approach to Asian and Korean studies will illuminate and emphasize the interconnectedness and symbiotic relationships of these seemingly segregated groups of various ethnic, cultural, and gender groups. The current area studies in the humanities in the United States are divided along ethnic and cultural lines that may not fully correspond or cater to the interconnected experiences of individuals of mixed racial groups as well as gender-fluid people. For example, scholarships for Afro-Asian connections are rarely found in current Korean studies and African studies, while there are various groups of “Blasians” (Black Asians of mixed blood) and people who work and operate in both cultures. Where and how do we tell their stories? Having an established intersectional field of study will encourage scholarship and practices that focus on such perspectives.

While the symposium will be broadly based and draw upon scholars of various fields, it is our goal that Korean studies will figure prominently and break new ground in this symposium.

Based upon these metrics, it is of paramount importance to establish Asian, East Asian, and Korean studies programs at Brooklyn College and connect across CUNY, with an emphasis on the cross-ethnic-gender approaches. Korea presents a unique case for issues of mono-ethnic versus multi-ethnic, cross-cultural versus trans-cultural, pure-blooded versus interracial. By discussing the unique position of Korea on issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity, Brooklyn College students, staff, and faculty can reflect on American issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in a larger context of global geopolitics. The cultural influence of Korea in the genres of films, popular and classical music, and visual culture has been a focus of scholarly and popular attention in New York and beyond. This symposium is derived from the interest and demand of students requesting diverse perspectives within cultural studies. In greater detail, this initiative will augment a much-needed intersectional approach to Korean and Asian art within the Art Department, CUNY and beyond.