Shao's collaborative project, "Yellow Peril Redux: From Coolies to Concentration Camps, Trade Wars, and Coronavirus“, won a grant from the Chancellor’s Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Program (AY 2022-2023).
This project focuses on anti-Asian racism expressed as “Yellow Peril”. American misrepresentations and misperceptions of East Asians specifies a complicated response to the shifts in the balance of international relations. The rhetoric of “Yellow Peril” dates to the “Asian invasions” of the late 19th century and continues today. The pandemic inspired a resurgence of this rhetoric and its consequences. Our project situates “Yellow Peril” in the US as a history of systemic racism complicated by US-East Asian relations and mutual (mis)understanding between different cultures. It draws on our research and teaching expertise and extends our relationships with community partners inside and outside of Illinois. We are building on a foundation of work to make available an array of resources for the public, educators, researchers, and students, including a digital humanities project that will be accessible to academic and non-academic communities, translations for teaching “Cultures in Contacts” and “Cultural Competence”, and engagement to integrate community-facing activities into undergraduate and graduate teaching. We anticipate supporting initiatives such as the Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act (HB376) established July 9, 2021 in Illinois and other similar efforts in states such as New Jersey (S4021/A6100 and S3764/A3369, January 18, 2022) and California, as well as the IC@Illinois Initiative that is funded by the Presidential Initiative Grant and addresses both the specific trajectories and histories of U.S Minority populations as well as the larger issue of relationships among different cultures and the importance of transnational processes and connections.
The co-PIs and collaborators of this project include Professor Steven Witt and Professor JIANG Shuyong (International & Area Studies Library), Professor Matthew Brown (Accounting, Economics and Finance, UIS), Dr. Ian Wang (curator of Spurlock Museum and Champaign County Museum, and community leader), and Michelle Zhang (Yuyuanshe, CA).