Assistant Professor of Communication Lauren Mark publishes research article on media portrayal of Asian Americans

Lauren Mark, assistant professor of communication, published an article on the Asian American “model minority” myth in media titled “Dancing between model minorityhood and yellow peril: accusations of needing ‘personality'” for Communication, Culture and Critique, published by Oxford Academic Journals.

In the article, Mark argues that Asian-Americans face abjection, or ostracization from society, due to being seen as a model minority whose pursuit of the American dream leaves them lacking in personality. This perception is especially prominent in popular culture, which Mark highlights using the reality television show “So You Think You Can Dance” as an exmaple.

To this end, Mark examines rhetoric used throughout the show’s 15 seasons that singles out Asian American contestants as lacking personality.

Through this article, Mark hopes to highlight the phenomenon of “yellow peril,” which casts East and Southeast Asians as a threat to the Western world and has existed in the United States for decades.

“I suggest that depictions of Asian-Americans as lacking personality in popular media are part of the same continuum of racialized yellow peril abjection, upholding a conditional belonging that allows anti-Asian racial violence to flourish, particularly in moments of crisis and public moral panic,” she said.

The work is a continuation of Mark’s research in the intersections of culture and communication.  As a multicultural scholar and human, she focuses on the impacts of backgrounded and foregrounded cultural expectations in research approaches, face-to-face interactions, and media representations.

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