News from USC

  • Graduate Student Fellow Updates!

    Ana Lee (CTS 2012-2013 Graduate Student Fellow)
    Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Comparative Literature
    Faculty Advisor: Roberto Ignacio Diaz

    Ana’s dissertation examines the place of China in the literary and visual cultures of Brazil and Cuba from the mid-nineteenth century into the twenty-first. Her focus is the literary, theatrical and visual representation of emblematic Chinese figures, such as the mandarin and the coolie, particularly as they emerge in discussions about citizenship and ethnicity in the last two countries in the Americas to abolish the institution of slavery. This year, Ana received a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the School of Liberal Arts at Tulane University and was a recipient of a USC PhD Achievement award, She has also recently accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in Luso Brazilian Studies in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures at Columbia University for the fall.

    Crystal Mun-hye Baik (CTS 2013-2014 Graduate Student Fellow)
    Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, American Studies & Ethnicity 
    Faculty Advisor: Macarena Gómez-Barris

    Crystal's dissertation explores the formation of the Korean diaspora across the Pacific and the U.S. from the 1905-1965. By using what she describes as memory visual traces, ranging from vernacular moving images to experimental video installations by Korean adoptees, Crystal tracks the ways in which seemingly obscured dimensions of war, displacement, and colonialism continue to reverberate in the contemporary moment. Crystal was chosen for a USC Endowed Fellowship for the 2014-2015 year (declined) and has accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in Korean American Studies in the Department of Ethnic Studies at University of California, Riverside.
  • The Transpacific Partnership (TPP): A Panel Discussion with USC Professor Saori Katada, Daniel Lynch, & David Kang



  • “Transpacific Intimacies” Film Screenings: Three Films

    Organized by Feng-Mei Heberer (PhD Candidate, USC School of Cinematic Arts)

    With generous support from the USC School of Cinematic Arts

    The Pacific Rim has attracted new attention ever since President Barack Obama called it a rising center of global power. “Transpacific Intimacies” responds to the attention the New Pacific has recently gained and offers a different perspective on the much-hailed new economic, political, and cultural opportunities arising from power shifts around the Pacific Rim. This special 3-day film event features a selection of narrative and documentary films from Asia and Asian America that rewrite the abstract concepts of nationhood and citizenship from the concrete perspective of people from the Transpacific region today. How do intimate stories, loving bodies, and curious feelings travel alongside the dominant flows of money, commodities, and workforce? How do they challenge and also maintain a deep-seated East-West dichotomy that continues to dominate a common sense partition of the world?

    The three films that will be featured include: 

    Seeking Asian Female (Debbie Lum, USA 2012, 84min, HD, English/Mandarin with English Subtitles)

    Film Website

    Friday, March 7, 7pm

    The Albert and Dana Broccoli Theatre, School of Cinematic Arts, SCA112 

    Followed by a Q&A with Debbie Lum




    Seeking Asian Female is the story of an Asian American filmmaker and her unlikely friendship with one of her worst nightmares: a white American man with a hopeless case of “yellow fever” who seeks – and appears to find online! – his perfect, exotic young bride from China. This feature documentary captures the newlyweds' attempt to build a marriage from scratch and reveals both troubling and humorous complications for all three: husband, wife, and filmmaker.


    Debbie Lum is a San Francisco-based filmmaker. Lum has worked as an editor and producer on many award-winning documentary and fiction films. Seeking Asian Female is her feature-length directing debut. She recently completed the PBS Producer’s Academy, holds an M.F.A. in Cinema from San Francisco State University and a B.A. in Religious Studies from Brown University.


    RSVP Information can be found at USC SCA Website



    In the Family (Patrick Wang, USA 2011, 169min, 35mm, English), 

    Film Website


    Friday, Feb 28, 5pm


    The Albert and Dana Broccoli Theatre, School of Cinematic Art, SCA112



    Plus filmmaker Patrick Wang will be present!





    Written, directed, produced, and co-starred by Patrick Wang himself, In The Family tells the story of same-sex couple Joey (played by Wang himself) and Cody and their six year old son Chip. Set in Tennessee, the plot begins with the family's everyday life in which Joey works as a contractor and Cody as a teacher. However, the loving intimacy between the three is violently interrupted when Cody, Chip's biological father, dies in a fatal car accident. Now, Joey has to face a custody battle with Cody's sister over whose right it is to raise the boy. The legal system, social prejudice, U.S. Southern culture, queer sociality, and interracial love are just some of the major topics underlying the dense narrative of Wang's masterpiece. Yet they are never explicitly addressed nor incorporated into a politics of identity and civil rights but rather framed as a part of our complex everyday reality that we hereby learn to recognize and decipher.



    Patrick Wang graduated at MIT with a degree in Economics and a concentration in Music and Theatre Arts. In The Family is his first feature film. It was nominated as Best Feature for the Independent Spirit Award and won multiple awards, among them the “Golden Hammer” Award from “Hammer to Nail,” the online film magazine, and Best Narrative Feature awards at the San Diego Asian Film Festival, the Spokane International Film Festival, and the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. Wang also was named by Filmmaker Magazine as one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film.”






    Friday, March 7, 4pm



    The Albert and Dana Broccoli Theatre, School of Cinematic Art, SCA112




    Plus reception hosted by the Vietnamese Student Association to follow in the Harold Lloyd Lobby 






    A third screening will be curated by YxineFF, the first Vietnamese online Film Festival, and offer recent award-winning short films from Vietnam and Cambodia.




    YxineFF (Yxine Film Fest) is an annual online international short film festival targeting young independent filmmakers and cinema lovers. As a a voluntary, non-profit and independent project initiated by a handful of Vietnamese and Vietnamese overseas cultural practitioners, YxineFF’s first edition commenced in May 2010 and has since attracted more than 2,5 million views per year



    About the OrganizerFeng-Mei Heberer is a PhD candidate in Critical Studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where she works on Asian transnational filmmakers. She is curating several Asian film festivals both in the U.S. and Germany.

  • Hemispheric Graduate Student Initiative (HEMI GSI) Conference

    The Center for Transpacific Studies is a proud sponsor of the Hemispheric Graduate Student Initiative (HEMI GSI) being hosted jointly between UCLA and USC October 11-13 2013.  This year’s theme, “Experimental Collectivities” aims to bring together dedicated people who are interested in working at the intersection of scholarship, artistic expression, and politics.  The Hemi GSI works to promote embodied practices as a vehicle for the creation of new meaning and the transmission of cultural values, memory and identity.  The Convergence will be international in scope yet through Working Groups, participants will engage in discussion and visit pertinent sites and community-based organizations around Los Angeles.  There are over 50 confirmed guests with affiliations from the U.S., Latin America, and the Pacific Islands. Faculty and graduate students from private, public, community, and state universities; advocates, community leaders, and artists will converge during 4 days to discuss subthemes of borderlands, labor, care, and bodies in the digital age.  We are committed to exploring how to dwell in the borderlands of our roles as teachers, students, artists, and activists.


    For more information please visit:

  • Transpacific Graduate Fellows, 2013-2014

    Dissertation Fellowship

    Brandon Som

    Brandon Som is the author of the chapbook Babel’s Moon, winner of the Tupelo Press Snowbound Prize. His poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Indiana Review, Black Warrior Review, and Octopus Magazine. He has been awarded fellowships to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. His full-length poetry collection The Tribute Horse was selected for the 2012 Nightboat Books Poetry Prize and will be published in the spring of 2014. He is currently a PhD candidate in the Literature and Creative Writing Program at USC, and is completing a dissertation that looks at citation and the transpacifc poetry of the Angel Island detainees, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha and Craig Santos Perez.

    Incoming Students 

    Josh Tuynman 

    Josh Tuynman holds a B.A. in Political Science and masters degrees in Latin American Studies and International Relations from the University of California, San Diego. Before entering academia he studied post-Soviet politics in Hungary, taught English in Serbia during the Milosevic regime, and covered the end of one-party rule in Mexico as a reporter for the Mexico City News. At USC he intends to study the rapidly evolving trade and investment relationships among Latin America, China, and the United States. As a native Angeleno, Josh enjoys LA's international cuisine and bicycling. 

    Jeremiah Dost 

    Jeremiah Dost earned his BA at Valparaiso University (History) and his MA at the University of Washington (International Studies: Korea). While living in South Korea on a Fulbright grant, he developed an interest in Korean national identity and historical representation. As a student in the Political Science and International Relations PhD program, he hopes to study the effect of this on international relations in the East Asian sphere, especially in territorial disputes. 

    Jenny Hoang 

    Jenny Hoang graduated with a B.A. in Liberal Studies and a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies from California State University, Los Angeles and is now a first year doctoral student in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC. Her work focuses on the politics of intimate belonging of ethnic Chinese transnational tomboys currently residing in the San Gabriel Valley. She hopes to expand her work by investigating the nuanced social and affective dynamics of public life as gender and sexually queer Chinese transnationals navigate possibilities for living home, intimacy, and nation otherwise.

    Summer Travel Grants 

    Crystal Mun-hye Baik

    Crystal graduated with a B.A. in History & Gender Studies from Williams College, and a Masters in Oral History from Columbia University. As a doctoral candidate in American Studies & Ethnicity, her work examines the intersections of settler colonial logics and militarized security in the modern making of Korean diasporic subjects, ranging from migrant laborers thrust into the western frontier of the U.S., to South Korean soldiers deployed as appendages to the U.S. military throughout the Asia Pacific. By drawing upon a visual archive of transpacific memorials, performances and experimental films, Crystal's work indexes the (neo)colonial formation of a twentieth century Korean diasporic milieu, while also offering alternative articulations of life and security.

    Viola Lasmana

    Born and raised in Indonesia, Viola Lasmana is currently a PhD student in the English department at USC. She works in the intersections of late 19th to 20th century American and Indonesian literature, postcolonial studies, digital humanities, pedagogy, and remix theory. Prior to moving to LA, Viola lived in the SF Bay Area, where she received her MA from San Francisco State University and BA from University of San Francisco. She is extremely excited to be a Transpacific Studies Graduate Fellow, and looks forward to performing extended research into the connections between Western colonial power, US imperialism and the Indonesian postcolonial state by digging into the archives of early 20th century Indonesian literature in Jakarta, Indonesia, a project that will be documented digitally, and is intended to be part of a larger project rethinking what a postcolonial archive looks like in the 21st century.

    Robert Eap

    Robert Eap is a doctoral candidate in the Department of American Studies & Ethnicity. His research interests include memory, representation, international law, and state violence. His dissertation, Timely Encounters: Memory and Violence in Cambodia, examines the memorial landscape of the Cambodian genocide.

    Xiangfeng Yang

    Xiangfeng Yang is a Phd candidate in political science and international relations. He previously studied at Nanjing University in China and was a Japan Foundation Dissertation Fellow at Waseda University in Tokyo from 2010-2011. For his dissertation he compares China and Japan's participation in global governance with a particular focus how they project domestic values abroad through initiatives such as development assistance.

  • New Announcements!

    Ana Paulina Lee, a Transpacific Studies Graduate Fellow in 2012-2013, will be a Fulbright Scholar in Portugal in 2013-2014.

    Nadine Chan, a Transpacific Studies Graduate Fellow in 2012-2013, received a Social Science Research Council Dissertation Fellowship for 2013-2014

    Go Oyagi of History, who was the Center's Transpacific Studies Dissertation Fellow in 2012-2013, will be a  postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University, from July 1, 2013 to March 31, 2015.


  • Transpacific Graduate Fellows, 2012-2013

    Patty Ahn
    Ph.D. Candidate in Critical Studies at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Her research interests include critical histories and theories of U.S. television, transnational media studies with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region, gender and sexuality studies, and popular music. Her dissertation, “Visual Music Networks: Korean-American Popular Music and Global Multiculturalism in the Wake of the Cold War,” examines how U.S. and South Korean media industries and policies, which have been inextricably linked since the Korean War, continue to structure contemporary movements of Korean/American popular music images across the Pacific Rim. Patty’s work has been published in SpectatorEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies, Discourse, and Postmodern Culture. She is currently co-editing a special “In Focus” section on queer approaches to film, television and new media for Cinema Journal (forthcoming 2014), while also serving her last year as co-chair of the Society of Cinema and Media Studies Queer Caucus. Most recently, Patty co-produced an Asian American reality competition pilot series for Mnet America, an Asian lifestyle and music cable network and hopes to find more ways to straddle the line between the industry and the academy.  

    Nadine Chan 
    PhD candidate in the Critical Studies Department in the School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California. She is working on a cultural historiography of colonial educational film in British Malaya (1920-1957) for her dissertation. Her research with the Centre for Transpacific Studies involves the study of visual propaganda materials that were circulated between American philanthropies and the British Empire in Asia. Her research interests include empire and cosmopolitan studies, non-fiction film theory and history, and transnational cinema. She holds a Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts in English from the National University of Singapore.

    Richard Harris

    Richard Harris earned his B.A. in Japanese Studies from Earlham College (2008) and his M.P.P. from Georgetown University (2012). As a a PhD student in Political Science and International Relations at USC, his research interests include influence and image in international relations, political opinion and behavior, and East Asia. Most recently, he presented his Masters thesis, “Ambassador Doraemon: Japan's Pop Culture Diplomacy in China and South Korea” at Georgetown University. He is fluent in Japanese.

    Ana Paulina Lee

    Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature. She specializes in comparative literary and cultural studies of the 19th and 20th centuries. Her dissertation titled, "The Shards of China in Brazilian and Cuban Literature and Visual Culture" focuses on the cultural and literary representations of Chinese culture and immigration to Brazil and Cuba. Grants from the Center for Transpacific Studies; Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture; USC Gould School of Law -Center for Law, History and Culture; Visual Studies Graduate Certificate, and the Dean Joan Metcalf Schaefer Award have supported her research. She has published articles on ritual, performance and popular culture in Brazil, and is an active member of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. She graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from SUNY Binghamton and received her M.A. in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures from NYU in Madrid, Spain. In 2012, she completed a post-graduate certificate in Cultura e Arte Barroca from the Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Currently, she is the co-lead to the Nanjing Massacre Testimonies Project in collaboration between the USC Shoah Foundation and the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in China. In 2013-2014, she is the recipient of the Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Year Fellowship.

    Darci Ohigashi 

    Darci earned her B.A. in History from Pomona College in 2009.  A Ph.D. student in the History Department, she is interested in Japanese American transnational history during the World War II period and history of the American West.  Darci plans to focus her research on kibei, second-generation Japanese Americans who received some of their education in Japan but eventually returned to the United States.

    Go Oyagi

    Experiencing a transpacific movement from Tokyo to Los Angeles himself, Go has developed a keen interest in movements, circulations, and encounters of people, ideas, cultures, goods, and capital.  As a recipient of a dissertation fellowship from the Center for Transpacific Studies at the University of Southern California, he is currently working on his doctoral dissertation entitled “Over the Pacific: Asian American Internationalism in the post-World War II Pacific World.”  His dissertation investigates the ways in which Japanese and Chinese Americans viewed, imagined, connected themselves with, and worked on the affairs, countries, and peoples of East Asia as well as U.S. foreign policies in the post-World War II period. 

    Nic Ramos 
    Third year graduate student in American Studies and Ethnicity. Spending close to seven years as a labor union organizer in the healthcare industry before coming to graduate school, Ramos parlays his experience into studying the intersection of health, race, and hospitals. His work with the Center for Transpacific Studies interrogates the circulation of health and hygiene discourse between two colonial spheres of influence: mid-Nineteenth Century California and turn of the Twentieth Century Philippines. His broader work is interested in the how the public hospital is used as a colonial tool to settle the American Southwest and looks to techniques of moral and racial control to constitute whiteness in a multi-ethnic landscape. Ramos was born in Texas, learned to walk in San Diego, and is training to run the Los Angeles marathon in 2013. 

    TANG, Mengxiao (Phoebe) 

    I’m a PhD student from the Program of Political Science and International Relations, USC. I was born and raised in East China. Before coming to the USC, I have a B.A. in Political Science from Renmin University of China (Beijing, 2009), an M.A. degree in Global Political Economy from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (2010) and an M.Phil. degree in Government and International Studies from Hong Kong Baptist University (2012). My research interests include: Chinese politics, international relations of East and Southeast Asia, political economy and comparative contentious politics.

  • April 9, 2011

    The Center for Transpacific Studies received a $200,000, three-year grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. The grant will pay for dissertation fellowships, research grants for faculty and students, and visiting speakers. 

  • Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • 404D Taper Hall
  • Department of English
  • University of Southern California
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0354