Experiments in Skin: Race and Beauty in the Shadows of Vietnam
Presented by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU. Co-sponsored by the NYU Center for Humanities, NYU Department of Social & Cultural Analysis, NYU Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality, and Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program in the NYU Department of Social & Cultural Analysis.
Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu’s (NYU Department of Social & Cultural Analysis) Experiments in Skin: Race and Beauty in the Shadows of Vietnam (Duke University Press, 2021) examines the afterlife of the Vietnam War, and its continued impact on our understanding of race and beauty. Framing skin as the site around which these ideas have been formed, materially and metaphorically, Tu foregrounds the histories of US militarism, biomedical investigations, and chemical warfare, and the bodies of African American soldiers and prisoners, and Vietnamese civilians who were the subjects of research and remediation, in order to advance a theory of aesthetic and politics urgently relevant to contemporary theorizations of colonial modernity and the lives lived in its shadows. Matthew Frye Jacobson (Yale University) writes, “Tu renders extraordinary insight into the tightly entwined histories of militarized technology and a rising beauty culture, giving name to whole new territories for analysis.”
After a presentation from Tu, Anne Cheng (Princeton University), Avery Gordon (Emerita, University of California Santa Barbara), lê thi diem thúy (Hampshire College), and Chandan Reddy (University of Washington) participate in a roundtable.
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