[-empyre-] Introducing Week 3: Why Westworld?: Utopias, Dystopias, and and Refashioning Dialogues

Margaret J Rhee mrhee at uoregon.edu
Tue May 16 10:42:28 AEST 2017

Dear all,

Thank you so much to Tung-Hui, Neil, and Dmitry for their generative 
insights and comments for our Week 2 of the forum. I hope we can 
continue the thread if possible.

I am very happy to introduce the participants for Week 3: Why 
Westworld?: Utopias, Dystopias, and and Refashioning Dialogues, which 
features Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis (US), Betsy Huang (US), Sarah Mirk 

For this week, we bridge from a discussion on poetic practice and robot 
hybridity, to other transgressive ways these spaces are made possible. 
As a point of departure, we will begin with the television show 

A few months ago, feminist journalist, artist, and activist Sarah Mirk 
interviewed me for her very exciting podcast for Bitch Magazine 
Popaganda on Westworld and other fembot media. As an uncanny 
coincidence, Betsy and Lawrence engaged in a generative conversation on 
Westworld for the Machine Dreams Zine I co-edited, and they also 
co-curated a recent exhibition at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific Art 
Museum entitled CRL+ALT: A Culture Lab for Imagined Futures: 

The convergences between dialogues, and our respective interests in 
media, art, and the future led me to desire a collective conversation 
with Sarah, Betsy, and Lawrence. I placed the links below to our 
respective conversations, and hope you can engage there during our 

I am incredibly grateful to Sarah, Betsy and Lawrence for taking time to 
participate, they are formative artists, activists, and scholars who 
also embody a commitment to creating dialogues around these questions. I 
hope we may begin by a discussion of our collective obsession, Why 
Westworld? and our own practices of curation, scholarship, and art 
during this current post-election times. Moreover, how does Westworld 
and robots, speak to utopias, dystopias, and the importance of the 
future, and the conversation.

Please join me in digitally welcoming Lawrence, Betsy, and Sarah. Their 
work is incredibly inspiring, and their full bios are below.

dialogue links:

Sarah Mirk's Popaganda and interview with Margaret on Westworld


Lawrence and Betsy's dialogue on Westworld published in the Machine 
Dreams Zine



Lawrence-Minh Davis

Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis (US) is a founding director of the Washington, 
DC-based literary arts nonprofit The Asian American Literary Review, 
serving as co-editor-in-chief of its critically acclaimed literary 
journal and overseeing development of its global digital education 
project, the Mixed Race Initiative. He is also a Curator of Asian 
Pacific American Studies for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American 
Center, responsible for developing the Smithsonian's first nationally 
touring pan-Asian Pacific American exhibition, "I Want the Wide American 
Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story," and for coordinating the 
ongoing Smithsonian Asian-Latino Project, a collaboration between the 
Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Latino 
Center. Since 2005 he has taught Asian American literature, Asian 
American film, and mixed race studies for the Asian American Studies 
Program at the University of Maryland. He earned a Master of Fine Arts 
in Creative Writing from San Diego State University in 2005 and a PhD in 
English Language and Literature with a focus on Asian American 
literature at the University of Maryland in 2014. His fiction, poetry, 
and creative nonfiction have appeared in Gastronomica, McSweeney's 
Quarterly Concern, Kenyon Review, AGNI online, The Literary Review, New 
York Quarterly, Louisville Review, and Fiction International, among 
other journals.

Betsy Huang

Betsy Huang is Associate Professor of English and incoming Director of 
the Center for Gender, Race, and Area Studies at Clark University. She 
is the author ofContesting Genres in Contemporary Asian American 
Fiction, published in 2010; co-editor, along with David Roh and Greta 
Niu, of the essay collection Techno-Orientalism: Imagining Asia in 
Speculative Fiction, History, and Media, published in 2015; and 
co-editor of a forthcoming volume titled Diversity and Inclusion in 
Higher Education and Societal Contexts. Her work has appeared in Journal 
of Asian American Studies, MELUS, the Cambridge Companion to Asian 
American Literature, and The Asian American Literary Review, and she has 
guest curated for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center's 
Culture Labs. Her current book project is a study of racial erasure and 
racelessness in fictive futures.

Sarah Mirk

Sarah Mirk (US) is a social justice-focused writer and editor based in 
Portland, Oregon. Beginning her career as a reporter for alternative 
weekly newspapers The Stranger and The Portland Mercury, from 2013 to 
2017, she was been as the online editor of national feminism and pop 
culture nonprofit Bitch Media. In that role, she edited and published 
critical work from dozens of writers, ran social media pages with a 
reach of 1.5 million readers, and hosted the engaging feminist podcast 
Popaganda, whose 10,000 listeners tune into episodes on topics ranging 
from environmental justice to reproductive rights. Starting in January 
2017, she transitioned to becoming a contributing editor at Bitch Media 
and also became a contributing editor at graphic journalism website The 

She is the author of Sex from Scratch: Making Your Own Relationship 
Rules (Microcosm, 2014) an open-minded guide to dating that is heading 
into its second edition. Sarah also writes, draws, and edits nonfiction 
comics, including the popular series Oregon History Comics, which tells 
little known and marginalized stories from Oregon's past. She is a 
frequent political commentator on Oregon Public Broadcasting and has 
given lectures on feminism, media, and activism at colleges around the 
country, including Yale, Skidmore, Grinnell, University of 
California-San Diego, and University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is an 
adjunct professor in Portland State University's MFA program in Art and 
Social Practice, teaching a graduate seminar on writing and research.

Margaret Rhee, Ph.D.

Visiting Assistant Professor
Women's and Gender Studies
University of Oregon

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