Episode 70: How the Baby-Sitters Club Changed Asian-American Culture with Sue Ding

This week, we offer an episode which starts with The Baby-Sitters Club, ends with The Fast and the Furious, and in between, explores issues of documentary filmmaking, emerging media, and Asian-American identity. The episode features Sue Ding

We begin our discussion of Ding’s recent film, The Claudia Kishi Club, by exploring how and why the character of Claudia from The Babysitters Club franchise spoke to a generation of Asian-American youth and inspired many to enter the arts, helping to pave the way for more recent representations of Asian-American characters in YA media and beyond. We consider what it means that a new generation of youth are coming of age in a world of more diverse and inclusive representations. Ding tells us about efforts by BIPOC documentary artists to form networks for mutual support and collaboration that are responding to their historic exclusion. Discussing her role programming emerging media for the Los Angeles Asian-Pacific Film Festival, Ding describes how Covid-19 and Zoom are changing what we mean by emerging media as well as why augmented reality, mixed reality, and other emerging forms offer potential to tell new kinds of stories. We close with some of her reflections on the importance of The Fast and the Furious franchise and its evolving representations of race and gender.  

Baby Sitter’s Club phenomenon
Claudia Kishi
Claudia and Asian American women
Which Baby-Sitters Club character are you?
Velvet Underground

The Claudia Kishi Club includes interviews with:

Baby-Sitters Club author Ann Martin
The Baby-Sitters Club on Netflix

Some other current YA TV we mentioned:
Sex Education
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Never Have I Ever

Asian characters in YA fiction
Bechdel Test
Manzanar National Historic Site
Sue’s sound installation for Manzanar
Grandmother Mimi

Mulan controversy
IndieWire – Documentary films have a race problem
Brown Girls Doc Mafia
Asian American Documentary Network

Emerging Media ProgramLos Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Film festivals go virtual

VR for a mass audience:
The Void
Star Wars VR
VR porn
For more discussion on VR, check out Episode 10: Nonny De La Peña on Ready Player One and the ethics and aesthetics of virtual reality

The Fast and the Furious:
Box office success
Global fan base
Wesley Morris on Race in The Fast and the Furious franchise
The Rock – Samoan background in Hobbes and Shaw
Vin Diesel as racially ambiguous

Sue’s episode of KCET’s Artbound: Light & Space

George Takei:
The Terror
They Called Us Enemy

Stacy Smith Annenberg Inclusion Initiative research

Lovecraft Country

Share your thoughts via Twitter with Henry, Colin and the How Do You Like It So Far? account! You can also email us at [email protected]!

“In Time” by Dylan Emmett and “Spaceship” by Lesion X.
In Time (Instrumental) by Dylan Emmet  https://soundcloud.com/dylanemmet
Spaceship by Lesion X https://soundcloud.com/lesionxbeats
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0
Free Download / Stream: https://bit.ly/in-time-instrumental
Free Download / Stream: https://bit.ly/lesion-x-spaceship
Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/AzYoVrMLa1Q

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