Performing History” Brings Midwest Asian American Stories to Stage
MADISON, WI – The untold stories of Asian Americans in the Midwest will be brought to the stage May 1and 2 as part of
“Performing History,” a two-day event at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that weaves the real-life experiences of
Midwestern Asian Americans into a moving dramatic performance.
Based on oral histories gathered in Wisconsin, Illinois, and throughout the Midwest as well as historical archives, the
performance “Our Stories, Our History: Snapshots of Asian America in the Midwest,” directed by David Furumoto, will be
held on May 1 at 7 pm in UW-Madison’s Mitchell Theatre, Vilas Hall, 821 University Avenue.
On May 2, “Performing History” continues with a workshop at 2.30 pm, “Scents of Home,” by Chicago-based performer
and scholar Patricia Nguyen. By using the scents of food as a mnemonic aid, this sensorial workshop explores how food is
an essential ingredient in grappling with histories of forced migration and resettlement, and how community and cultural
bonds are created through everyday eating rituals. The workshop will take place in room 6191, Helen C. White Hall, 600 N.
Park Street. Interested participants should register at https://goo.gl/CqRjBq or on the event’s Facebook page,
Also on May 2, at 4 pm, there will be a panel discussion, “Asian Americans in the Midwest,” featuring UW-Madison
researchers Victor Jew and Timothy Yu, as well as scholar Rebecca Kinney of Bowling Green State University.
“Performing History” will conclude with a 7.30 pm reading by Bich Minh Ngueyn, nationally-acclaimed author of Stealing
Buddha’s Dinner (2007) and other novels. Both events will take place in room 309, Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street. All
events are free and open to the public.
“Asian Americans are rarely part of the stories we tell about the Midwest,” Yu said. “Yet Asian Americans have a history in the
Midwest that goes back over a century. Our project has recorded dozens of stories from Asian Americans who grew up and live
in the Midwest. Incorporating some of those stories into a public performance is an exciting way to make Asian American
communities more visible in Madison and beyond. It allows Midwestern Asian Americans to see themselves on stage and
teaches wider audiences about the importance of Asian American stories to the way we think about the Midwest.”
“Performing History” is the culmination of a two-year research project on Asian American history in the Midwest led by Timothy
Yu, professor of English and Asian American studies at UW-Madison; Victor Jew, senior lecturer in Asian American studies at
UW-Madison; David Furumoto, professor of theatre and drama at UW-Madison; and Ji-YeonYuh, associate professor of history
and Asian American studies at Northwestern University. The project is supported by the Humanities Without Walls consortium,
based at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The
Humanities Without Walls consortium is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “Performing History” is co-
sponsored by UW-Madison’s Department of English, Department of History, Department of Theatre and Drama, the Asian
American Studies Program, the Institute for Research in the Humanities, the Center for Visual Cultures, and the Center for
Southeast Asian Studies.
For additional information or queries, please contact Jacqulyn Teoh at firstname.lastname@example.org.