Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pure Beauty: Judging Race in Japanese American Beauty Pageants

Folks from the early days of UC Berkeley's old Hapa Issues Forum may remember Becky King. The Bay Area has been without her for a couple years (Ireland was the surprising and lucky beneficiary of that move), but this week, she makes a triumphant return--with published book in hand. From the press release:

"In Pure Beauty, Dr. Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain tackles the question, Who is Japanese American, by studying a cultural institution: Japanese American community beauty pageants in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Honolulu. King-O’Riain employs rich ethnographic fieldwork to discover how these pageants seek to maintain racial and ethnic purity amid shifting notions of cultural identity. She uses revealing in-depth interviews with candidates, queens, and community members, her experiences as a pageant committee member, and archival research to establish both the importance and impossibility of racial purity. Pure Beauty shows how racial and gendered meanings are enacted through the pageants, and reveals their impact on Japanese American men, women, and children."

Starting today, you can go check her out on mini-tour and cop the new book:

What: Speaking engagement
Where: University of San Francisco, 250 McLaren Hall, 2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
When: Tuesday, March 20, 2007, 4:00-6:00 pm
For more information: 415-422-5555

What: Speaking engagement
Where: Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, 1840 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
When: Wednesday, March 21, 2007, 6:00-8:00 pm
For more information: 415-567-5505

What: Panel discussion
Where: University of California, Berkeley, Center for Race & Gender, 642 Barrows Hall #1074, Berkeley, CA 94720-1074
When: Thursday, March 22, 2007, 4:00-6:00 pm
For more information: 510-643-8488

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