Project: Traces: migration in the work of post-colonial East-Asian women artists in California.
My project is aimed at studying theoretical and artistic contributions by contemporary women artists and writers who immigrated from East Asia to California, with an emphasis on Bay area visual artists. I will employ a textual analysis based on gender and post-colonial theory, and my goal is to contribute to an understanding of the cultural politics of contemporary art of the East Asian diaspora. One inspiration for this project has to do with the contemporary cultural politics in Italy regarding Asian immigrants, especially women. The current atmosphere on this issue in Italy, and more generally in the European arena, is characterized by silence, invisibility and fear. Critical tools are needed for a better understanding of issues of gender and Asian migration in Italy, where immigration from East Asia, (especially China), is too often discussed purely in economic and demographic terms. This “universalistic” discourse often does not allow space for a situated, women’s studies approach, and culture and art are rarely used as tools to respond to gender stereotypes.
Thus, a political dimension of this project lies in a provisional attempt to translate some poetics and politics of Asian female diasporas into the context of contemporary Europe, with the eventual hope of contributing to the visibility of the work of Asian female artists in Italy.
Laura Fantone holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and a M.A, in Women's Studies from the City University of New York. She recently completed a research project on ‘Orientalism and the Images of Global Asia in the West’ with the Post-colonial Studies center at the University of Naples 'L'Orientale'. She also teaches and conducts research focused on women at the University of Padua.
Outside of the academy, Laura participates in oral history, video and multimedia projects. She is one of the organizers of an Italian network of young scholars activists in gender and precarity issues called Prec@s.