Drawing largely from the realm of performance theory, critical race theory, and Asian American studies, the author examines the ways in which performance, performativity, and the cooptation of aesthetic forms constitute and disrupt racial identity categories. In this article, the author focuses on the growing contemporary artistic practice of taiko drumming and its role in Asian American identity politics. As an artist-researcher, the author uses the methodological tools of ethnography and autoethnography to analyze the aesthetic components of taiko, the meaning it has for participants-including the author-as well as the author's personal background to delve into the politics of unknown ethnicity and racial amorphism in America. To understand how taiko performance can be used to rupture and recreate raced and gendered categories, the author examines how particular aesthetic forms of taiko become sites of intervention that challenge fixed notions of identity and hegemonic descriptions of race as a discrete category. Calling for a broader conception of race, the author argues for an epistemology of race that considers art and aesthetics as viable sites for the investigation of social constructs such as identity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)