Presentation in Professor Christine Yanoʻs Anthropology class on Food and Culture 9/11/18

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Proposal for Practice as Research final project


I will present a 10 minute edit of my documentary film, “Not Black and White” that introduces some main issues I plan to explore in the full length version.


Issues and elements included:


  • the 1970 Augusta riot and its impact on the Chinese community

  • historical context of how the Chinese ended up in Augusta

  • The Lum family’s grocery store and family life

  • The blurred position the Chinese held between the black and white divide

  • Stories of how the young Lum sisters found ways to defy rules 





My supporting paper will unwrap the issues raised in the documentary and establish my views on the subject.  I will document my process as a filmmaker, the challenges I meet and insights I derive through the interviewing and editing process.  The use of sensory ethnography and Practice as Research methodologies will help me shape my project by brining consciousness and references to how I understand what I discover along the way.  The experiential process of my research will explore and intersect elements of history, memory, and the significance of space and place.  Ultimately, I hope to document my creative process in a way that not only serves as new knowledge for myself but also to others who choose to explore the richness of any process of documentation.


Because of the nature of the documentary medium in framing the story, my paper will be a sort of frame within a frame.  I will challenge this problematic notion of binding by exploring what is left out, what information gets edited out.  This concept also reveals the very position of the women I want to explore, how their stories are left out in histories, how their voices don’t seem to matter. I will weave in theoretical references from Pinkʻs Doing Sensory Ethnology and Butlerʻs Notes Toward a Performance Theory of Assembly.

Questions for Georgia interviews


Chinese position and identity :

  • What do you remember about growing up in the segregated South? 

  • When did you feel Chinese? When did you feel white?

  • How did your education in the south affect your views of racism?

  • How do you think segregation affected the Chinese position and identity?

  • How did your family preserve Chinese culture and how much do you try to do for your kids?

  • How is discrimination reinforced in society?

  • How were you brought up to view and treat black people?

  • How did you feel when mislabeled or racialized

  • What are some discriminating experiences you had growing up?

  • Do you think the Chinese held to themselves to preserve heritage or because they weren’t so accepted anyway?

  • How do you think racist structure of the times affected the Chinese identity?

  • Why do you relate more to whites than blacks if that’s the case?



On women and marriage:

  • How do you feel about arranged marriages at the time?  

  • What’s your impression of the Chinese women in the south at the times?

  • How does a woman show strength in a male dominated society?

  • What and where is the Asian American woman’s voice?

  • Do you believe your female ancestors had control over their bodies? Their lives?

  • How do you think they dealt with sexuality?

  • Do you think women have a special burden to reproduce culture?

  • Affects of miscegenation on your family


Memory and history 

- What are some stories you remember about your parents growing up?

  • how much do you think Memory reinterprets the past?

  • How do you feel about US treatment of Asians then and now?

  • What do you think the relationship is between the Chinese and blacks?

  • What are some living memories of the past that reveal your identity?

  • How would you want the world to know you?

  • How much is history a part of who you are?

  • How important is it to you to to maintain Chinese heritage?


As children of the Lum family

  • how do you think your mother’s upbringing affected how she parented you?

  • Thoughts on their situation working in the store, isolated, contained?

  • Expectations your mother had of you

  • Expectations your grandmother had of your mom

  • Expectations of your kids

  • Do you think your view of black people is affected by your mother’s upbringing in the south

  • How do you define being ahead of your time?  Was you mom ahead of her time? How?

  • What are some commonalities between the different generations? Differences?

  • Do you sympathize with your mother’s controlled life at the time?

  • Do you think the younger generation has lost the concept of respect, duty, and family obligation?

  • If segregation existed today, where do you think the Chinese would sit?

  • How would you compare interracial marriage now and back then?