Saturday, June 2, 2012

Transnational Diasporic Experiences

Justin Phan
Professor Valverde
ASA 150E
2 June 2012
Transnational Diasporic Experiences:

            For Trieu’s presentation, I thought it was nice that he had talked about the historical impact of Chinese-Vietnamese and Chinese-Vietnamese American relations because it educated me on topics that I wouldn’t have necessarily find.  That said, I do agree with Professor Valverde that his research itself wasn’t presented and it was hard to channel the information into a main topic because it wasn’t outlined.  I apologize to Trieu for not thinking about this when looking at the slides, but I think hearing Professor Valverde speak on his thesis in Thursday’s class, I do have a better idea about what it is he’s planning to do.  I think including the interviewee’s perspective overtly—saying that Person A said this and Person B said that will really help add accuracy to the essay because (like Professor Valverde said) it adds concrete evidence because it was from your own personal research.  I really liked how he was able to demonstrate to the class transnational experiences within the Vietnamese diaspora and gave us anecdotal and perspectives that haven’t been fully discussed by some of our class before (as shown by the other responses). 
            I really liked Linda’s presentation and how she was exceptionally focused.  She added a lot of her own analysis and connected all of her data back to her main thesis, which strengthened her ability to argue for it.  I thought it was great that she was able to collect and interpret so much data—a task that takes up a LOT of time.  That said, there a few points that I thought would have been important to tackle in future research.  I would really like to see a comparative study with these folks—maybe more interviews or something—to see how their relationship is with their family and how cohesive it is in relation to Thuy Nga.  I understand that Linda’s research was purely on the effect of variety shows, but I wonder (because I haven’t seen the research questions) if the questions were posed in such a way that inhibited further analysis in one’s own relationship with one’s parents through different mediums and not purely through Vietnamese variety shows.  Also, in response to the topic of extraneous information, I do see Professor Valverde’s point in leaving it out when you’re arguing for a point.  However, something about it doesn’t jive well with me because I think it is important to discuss the outliers and to speculate why things are the way they are, while still making a strong case for your research findings.  What I would suggest, and I don’t know much about how to present research, but I would suggest an area in which you do talk about how the information given does have some exceptions and to discuss these exceptions with folks and to really bring in other perspectives.  I feel that no research is all encompassing and can be contended.  I feel that adding an extra section in your paper, discussing the exceptions and how this impacts your research findings is important. 
            With Melissa’s articles, I find it exceptionally interesting that she wrote about Confucianism within the Vietnamese diaspora and how it affects the women in particular.  Although I don’t know much about her topic, I can understand her assertion that many women live/d under the rule of a patriarchal Confucianist family may be more likely to move away from these values in comparison to men, who benefit from the systemic biases.  That said, I find this point interesting too because I think it fits well with even queer folks, especially when looking at masculinity and femininity whether through same-sex relationships, marriages, whatever.  I think patriarchy is still perpetuated through the relationships queer individuals have with others and many of the larger structures that govern our nation.  I wonder if she has found a lot of psychology papers or ethnography papers that can back up her statements.  I can conceptualize how the points work together, but I hope that Melissa can also find a way to back up her statements—whether through her own initiated research, or through those of prior researchers about this topic. 
            When it comes to my research, I agree completely with folks that I need to focus my topic down.  I am definitely interested in the history of Fortissimo Films, but do understand that I only have a couple of days left for this paper.  That said, I am hoping to create more focus in my study about “gayness” and its relation to what I consider Vietnamese notions of homosexuality and identity formation/practice acceptance.  I think with the interviews this Sunday, I can ask the group a set of questions that relate to their personal development in coping with their sexual orientation—how films like this lead to identity formation/peace about their sexuality.  Looking back I can see how confusing my talk must have been.  Just to elaborate further for those who read these and just for my own sake, I think larger themes about my project include: transnational experiences with a globalized “gay” identity, essentialism, identity formation/comfort with of one’s sexuality, and hybridity.


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  2. Very helpful advice for your peers. Glad you took students' advice to focus. Overall a very interesting project and I look forward to reading it. -Prof. Valverde 4/4