Panelist, “Black American Music and K-pop,” KCON 2017 LA

I’ll be a panelist at KCON 2017 LA! Panel 502B, “Black American Music and K-pop”, will be on Sunday, August 20, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Hope to see you there!

In the meantime, check out some of my work on Black American Music and K-pop.

Not Just Pretty Faces: K-pop Idols and Quiet Storm Masculinity

Black Popular Music and K-pop

Ethnicity, Glamour and Image in Korean Popular Music

CONFERENCE ABSTRACT: Cross-cultural Visual Aesthetics in K-pop @ AAS 2015


Glamour Girls: Cross-cultural Visual Aesthetics in K-pop

March 26-29, 2015 ♦ Association for Asian Studies ♦ Chicago, IL

One of the reasons for the global resonance of K-pop comes from its visuality, which crosses language barriers to reach a diverse and global audience. While governments and corporate agencies use this visuality to promote soft power, the global audiences that receive such images also make meaning outside of intentional image branding. Such constructions of meaning, especially for female K-pop groups, are derived from, K-pop, a hybridized form of Korean popular culture, and occur within established contexts, including a long tradition of “girl groups.”   Using theories of transnational feminism in popular culture and discourse analysis to examine images, music videos and fan responses through social media, this paper explores how three generations of contemporary female K-pop groups embody hybrid femininities that incorporate elements from 1990s African American R&B female groups. In turn, female fans interpret these hybrid femininities in ways that expand the notion of empowerment for women beyond mere “girl power.” This paper adds a contemporary and transnational element to the study female pop groups by placing female K-pop groups within a larger tradition of girl groups. It challenges interpretations of female K-pop groups that characterize them solely as vehicles that appeal to male desire by seeking to understand how the largely female fandom makes meaning of femininities represented by these groups.

Hallyu Chapter Goes to Press!

The edited collection, The Global Impact of South Korean Popular Culture: Hallyu Unbound (Rowman and Littlefield, edited by Valentina Marinescu), containing my submission, “HallyU.S.A: America’s Impact on The Korean Wave,” goes to press this September and should be available soon.

[The Global Impact of South Korean Popular Culture Hallyu Unbound ] fills a gap in the existing literature and proposes an interdisciplinary and multicultural comparative approach to the impact of Hallyu worldwide. The contributors analyze the spread of South Korean popular products from different perspectives (popular culture, sociology, anthropology, linguistics) and from different geographical locations (Asia, Europe, North America, and South America). . . . 

Beyond the Chinese Connection Reviewed on Asian American Literature Fans

Beyond the Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production was recently reviewed on Asian American Literature Fans.  stephenhongsohn wrote:

Crystal S. Anderson’s brilliant monograph, Beyond The Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production (University Press of Mississippi, 2013), is on the forefront of the growing trend devoted to comparative race studies and seeks to show the asymmetrical but interconnected ways that racial and ethnic representation appears in popular culture, print, film, and other such media. The book is rigorous and expansive in its scope and sweep.

Read the entire review here!

Crystal Anderson Speaks About Afro-Asian Dynamics at Colorado College

Crystal Anderson is the author of the book, Beyond The Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-­Asian Cultural Production. In this study, Anderson explores the cultural and political exchanges between African Americans, Asian Americans, and Asians over the last four decades. She talked about these dynamics at First Mondays at Colorado College in March 2014.

Beyond the Chinese Connection Reviewed in MELUS

My book, Beyond the Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production, was recently reviewed in MELUS, Journal for the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States.  Julia Lee writes:

Anderson’s work to connect Lee’s filmic oeuvre with cultural productions of a much later period initially might seem quixotic to literary scholars used to working within strictly defined periods, but to my mind, this represents the project’s greatest strength. Anderson takes seriously Hortense Spillers’s notion of discontinuities, which emphasizes the uneven and fluid nature of ethnic literary histories.

Read the entire review at Project Muse.

CONFERENCE ABSTRACT: Representations of Afro-Asian Connections in the 1970s @ ASALH 2014


Representations of Afro-Asian Connections in the 1970s

September 25, 2014 ♦ Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)

Memphis, TN

In 2013, Suey Park organized a Twitter conversation around the hashtag #BlackPowerYellowPeril to “discuss ways in which the Asian American community could work with the African American community to further similar anti-racist, anti-sexist goals.” The ensuing dialogue on Twitter and on other social media outlets focused on “Asian Privilege” and “Asian Anti-Black Racism.” While these are salient aspects of Afro-Asian interaction in the United States, they do not reflect the comprehensive and often contradictory dynamics between African Americans and various Asian and Asian American groups within and outside the United States.  This paper uses Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon as a lens through which to explore representations of Afro-Asian connections in 1970s film. Produced at the height of the black exploitation film era, the film creates some of the most iconic images of Afro-Asian cultural exchange. Casting Jim Kelly alongside Bruce Lee as potential allies against forces characterized as white and colonial gestures towards the potential for solidarity between African Americans and Asians. Jim Kelly’s character also alludes to the black radical tradition, where black intellectuals and activists frequently rely on the experiences of Asian and Asian Americans to contemplate the future of African Americans. By using both the United States and Hong Kong as backdrops, the film introduces the importance of the transnational in the consideration of Afro-Asian cultural exchange during this time. At the same time, the film reinforces stereotypes of black masculinity and black radical politics, painting both in very limited ways. Even with these more problematic aspects of representation, the film nevertheless demonstrates a foundation for contemporary discussions Afro-Asian connections.