Danielle Wong

Assistant Professor

Research Interests

Asian American studies
Asian migration studies
Historical and contemporary relationships between race, Empire, and new technologies
Asian North American new media productions and performances

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs


Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Erotic mediations of queer Asian in/organicity in The Tiger Flu and On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (2023)

This thesis centers the production of the “Asian” body in terms of its erotic mediations—that is, the sensorial, sensual, and sexual registers that produce the concept of “Asian” as alegible subject of discourse around racialized, gendered, and sexualized difference. FollowingAudre Lorde, I conceive of erotics as a relationship with power that each body has the capacityto engender, offering a conception of subjectivity that critiques liberal humanist valorizations ofsovereign speech and organic humanity. Erotics confounds binarized conceptions ofin/organicity, im/materiality, and self/other by foregrounding forms of relationality that areconsidered illegible within the archives of imperial war and global capitalism. Practicing critiqueoriented to erotic mediations enables what is considered immaterial to become palpable, throughcritical and creative orientations toward the aesthetic materiality of power and ambivalence.Attending to critical theories of race, queer theory, techno-Orientalism, critical refugee studies,and critical Black studies, thinking with the Asian body surfaces the epistemologicalambivalence of erotics, as it indexes speculative narratives around inorganic subjectivity andlabour wrought within post-Cold War global capitalism. Reading narrativizations of imperial war in the transpacific within Ocean Vuong’sepistolary novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and Larissa Lai’s speculative fiction novelThe Tiger Flu, I suggest that ambivalence enables reciprocity to become a mode of ethicalrelationality that does not disavow interplays of power, but attends to conditions that haveinscribed illegibility as absence. Chapter One reads The Tiger Flu for techno-Orientalist aesthetictropes that have produced concepts of “Asianness” such as virtuality, glitches, anddisembodiment in relation to global modernity. I ask how the Asian body both indexes and isconditioned by discourses of organic subjectivity and labour rather than functioning only as representations of ideological consciousness, or avatars of dialectical critique. Chapter Twoforegrounds On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous to develop the concept of “fugitive erotics” toframe refugee epistemologies around care, survival, and memory from within conditions ofdisplacement and loss. Overall, I ask how we can address our selves and others as forms ofmediating the uneasy interrelations between care and violence—through the body, without takingit for granted.

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Ventilators and gelatin as disabled assemblage: reimagining the intimacy between disabled people and assistive technology (2022)

Assistive technology mediates the relationship between disabled and able-bodied lives. Recognizing the varied definitions and uses of technology, this thesis uses the phrase “assistive technology” to reimagine and reconceptualize the relationship between disabled people and their technology. Conjuring the idea of “support” or “aid,” an examination of assistive technology invites dialogue on relationships of both interdependence and mutual exchange. In this thesis, while assistive technology is used to encompass a wide range of technological mediums, particular attention is given to the intimate everyday uses of technology by disabled people. In closely reading ventilators and gelatin as forms of assistive technology, the chapters of this thesis explore and reimagine socially approved bodily relations to and with technology. To examine assistive technology, this thesis begins at the level of the intimate, that is the quotidian spaces of care, treatment, and disabled life. I engage with two artifacts of visual culture; public discourses of ventilators in the Covid-19 pandemic and the “bio-shrine” gelatinous sculptures of artist Sharona Franklin. Specifically, the experiences of Michael Hickson and Sharona Franklin—two disabled people with varied experiences navigating ableism—are united in their intimate relationship with assistive technology. I ask, how does critical disability studies conceptualize technology? What materials, components, relationships, modes of labour, and forms of mediation are encompassed by the category “assistive technology”? And lastly, what are the potentials born from embracing our intimacy with technology? To consider these questions, I posit the framework of disabled assemblage which envisions the trans-corporeality of disabled life. Chapter 2 engages with the implications of the interwoven projects of ableism and racism on disabled life by considering the genealogies of scientific thought and technological development. Chapter 3 contributes to discourses of disability, aesthetics, and materiality by positing gelatin as a form of assistive technology. Through the framework of disabled assemblage, this thesis identifies not only the implications of redefining conceptions of assistive technology, but also the importance of examining assistive technology within critical disability studies.  

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Visualizing self and surface: identifying Filipina and queer Filipinx self-formation in superhero komiks (2021)

The definition of and discourses surrounding Filipinx identity have been historically circumscribed by gendered and racial expectations. Such expectations have been essentialized through colonial and state narratives, as well as the more unintentional means of socially-driven standards that stem from the Philippines’ eras of occupation. Filipinas and queer Filipinxs have been particularly subject to stereotyping by colonial powers and the Philippine elite, which results in their continued relegation to certain stigmatized or limited roles. I look to Filipinx komiks to demonstrate that accounting for the construction of appearance, both in terms of self-representation and the representation of others, destabilizes the hegemonic notion of essential identities. Indeed, the interconnection of surface and self is purposefully overwritten in the colonial and hegemonic advancement of singularizing images of the Filipina and the queer Filipinx. This thesis aims to challenge the naturalization of identities that are assigned to Filipinas and queer Filipinxs by emphasizing modes and cultures of self-formation as they are represented in Mango Comics’ "Mars Ravelo’s Darna" and Carlo Vergara’s "Zsazsa Zaturnnah." The komiks’ superheroes, Darna and Zaturnnah, emphasize self-formation by visualizing the different configurations of gender, race, sexuality, and class that Filipinas and queer Filipinxs construct as surface appearances in order to navigate social hierarchies that seek to other them. I discuss how komiks can afford the unique representation of Filipina and queer Filipinx self-formations by examining sequentiality and the interplay of visual and narrative components—characteristics that distinguish komiks from other mediums, particularly in their ability to emphasize marginalized perspectives. I also discuss specific instances in which Darna and Zaturnnah represent self-formation. At the same time that they signal the historical and on-going systems that seek to delegitimize Filipina and queer Filipinx subjectivities, Darna and Zaturnnah push femme and queer transformations to the forefront and demonstrate the power and joy of performance. "Mars Ravelo’s Darna" and "Zsazsa Zaturnnah" at once name systems of social degradation and resist circumscription within them, through complex interconnections of form and representations of self-formation.

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