The digital has for some time now been a platform for Asian-Americans to claim space in the media world. While traditional media has always shut out Asian-Americans or shunted them to stereotypes. Meanwhile, the early history of YouTube was dominated by Asian-American YouTubers like kevjumba, nigahiga, JustKiddingFilms, and Wong Fu Productions. While there has been a wave of TV shows which bring Asian-American stories into the fold for young viewers like Fresh off the Boat and We Bare Bears, my generation had no such on-screen models to turn to; instead, we turned to YouTube. Between Asian-American musicians like David Choi and Dumbfoundead, actors like Randall Park and Harry Shum Jr., and comedians like David So and mychonny, early YouTube offered a robust world of “for us by us” media.
Thus, as digital media continues to shove traditional TV and film mediums to the wayside, Asian-Americans are well postured to claim the representation that has so long been denied to us. Digital mediums can not only be used for entertainment purposes, but educational ones. This class seeks to take advantage of digital media’s accessibility and potential to push Asian American Studies in new directions. Each tool offers a different dimension to the course material. We hope that what we do will be emblematic of a future Asian-American digital renaissance.