Migration Symposium TENTATIVE Program

Art Music, and Language through the Lens of Global Asia

April 5 - 6, 2024



DAY 1: Friday, April 5, 2024 (Location: Burge Union and Swarthout Hall)


Registration/morning refreshment 9 AM at Burge Union


Welcome  9:30 AM

Dr. Akiko Takeyama, Director, Center for East Asian Studies and Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, University of Kansas 


Keynote Speech  9:45 AM – 11:00 AM 

Dr. Leslie Bow, Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of English and Asian American Studies Dorothy Draheim Professor of English, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Title: AI’s Race Fetish: Techno-Orientalism at the end of the American Century


How do U.S. ideas about race and technology script our relationship with East Asia? This talk will focus on a specific racial form–artificially intelligent robots embodied as young, East Asian, and female–in order to explore the ways in which speculative stories of Asianized dystopia cloak techno-Orientalist anxieties.


Panel#1: 11:15AM – 12:45 PM, Burge Union

Envisioning Asia America in the Heartland

Three active curators in Kansas who have experience organizing shows featuring Asian Americans and Asian diaspora artists will participate in this panel. Drawing on their insights, the panel will explore both the potential and challenges of envisioning “Asia Americans” in the Midwest. The panel will address questions such as: What does “Asia America” mean from a curatorial perspective? What are the challenges and opportunities when organizing exhibitions primarily for Kansas audiences? How do curators navigate the representation of diverse Asian American identities and migration experiences in a Midwest context? This panel aims to provide a critical response to the current state of Asian American art studies, which predominantly focuses on the West Coast (San Francisco/Angel Island) and the East Coast (New York/ Ellis Island/the “mecca” of modern art), often overlooking the Midwest as a site of artmaking/art activism and as a place to study “Asia Americas.”


Chair: Dr. Maki Kaneko, Associate Professor, Kress Foundation Department of Art History, University of Kansas 



  • Dr. Kris Imants Ercums, Associate Curator, Global Contemporary & Asian Art, Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Staging Shimomura: Performance and Experimental Theatre of Roger Shimomura, 1969–2001
  • Dr. Aileen June Wang, Curator, Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, Kansas State University, Connecting the Heartland and Asia Through Art, Past and Present
  • Dr. Sara Anne Stepp, Academic Curator, Mulvane Art Museum, Washburn University, Seeing Migrant Identity with Priya Kambli


Lunch Break: 12:45 -1:45 PM


Panel#2: 2:00 – 3:30 PM, Swarthout Recital Hall

Global Music and Migration

Classical music has historically been framed within Western boundaries, however this panel aims to address how classical music has crossed borders and migrated globally. The composers of this panel draw from their cultural heritages in the creation of their pieces. Through the performance of commissioned pieces and screening of documentary portraits, this panel centers on how contemporary musical composition can emphasize cultural exchange. With solo piano pieces from three composers, distinguished professor, Chen Yi, drawing from Chinese poetry of the Tang Dynasty by Wang Ya, Ingrid Stölzel, having trained under Chen Yi, connecting with her childhood roots with Robert Schumann’s Kinderszenen, and Leilehua Lanzilotti, evoking the traditional Hawaiian chants of Lili‘uokalani, they participate in a dialogue through the language of music.


Chair: David Mai, Assistant Professor, Film & Media Studies, University of Kansas 



  • Dr. Ingrid Stölzel, Associate Professor of Composition, School of Music at KU, In Fremden Ländern [In Foreign Lands]
  • Dr. Leilehua Lanzilotti, Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) Composer and Sound Artist, say it in your heart, say it when you sleep
  • Dr. Yi-Yang Chen, Assistant Professor of Piano, School of Music, University of Kansas. Dr. Chen will perform the pieces composed by Chen Yi, Ingrid Stölzel, and Leilehua Lanzilotti.


Panel#3: 4:00 – 5:30 PM, Burge Union

Asian Languages in Motion: Sociopolitical, Cultural, and Historical Dynamics in Language Education

This panel explores teaching Asian languages in the U.S. higher education institution. Particularly, this symposium will address how transnational and local contexts shape teaching less commonly spoken Asian languages and areas studies by focusing on the everchanging sociopolitical, cultural, historical, and technological landscapes. The panelists will provide insights into the challenges and innovations in teaching languages and area studies and offer critical questions for interdisciplinary scholars to consider in their teaching.

Chair: Dr. Kwangok Song, Associate Professor, Curriculum & Teaching, School of Education, University of Kansas  



  • Dr. Ji Yeon Lee, Assistant Teaching Professor of Korean Language, East Asian Language and Culture, University of Kansas, Korean Wave in Motion: A Dynamic Journey of Korean Language Program at a Midwestern University
  • Dr. Yuka Naito Billen, Assistant Teaching Professor of Japanese Language, East Asian Language and Culture, University of Kansas, Promoting not-so- POP-ular Culture and Customs of Japan: Challenges and Innovations in the Japanese Language Classroom\
  • Dr.Aimaiti Aikebaier, Lecturer of Uyghur Language, East Asian Language and Culture, University of Kansas, Teaching Uyghur at a Midwestern University: Political Dynamics of a less commonly taught Language


Closing Remarks


5:30 – 7:00 PM, Burge Union (reception)


DAY 2: Saturday, April 6, 2024

Graduate Symposium Program


Sponsored by the KU Center for East Asian Studies and the Graduate Scholars of East Asian Studies



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