Professor Eleanor Ty presents Comedy and Social Critique: Ins Choi's "Kim's Convenience" -- Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Event Date: 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm

Event Location: 

  • Asian American Studies Conference Room - HSSB 5024

Event Contact: 

Cora Danielson, Dept. Assistant: 805.893.9039 or

Ins Choi’s Kim’s Convenience is a play that deals in part with an immigrant family’s struggle to survive in an adopted land, and with conflicts between the older and younger generations, issues common to many other Asian North American literary works. Choi’s play, about a Korean immigrant family running a convenience store, has received critical and popular acclaim, it has toured across Canada, and it even played in New York.  The television series based on the play is now airing in its third season on Netflix.   
Professor Ty examines how the play and the show employ humour to reveal, ridicule, and contest attitudes toward racialized immigrants, and thus engage with the dominant culture’s anxieties about otherness and difference.  The play and the sitcom offer good comedy, but they also present subtle critiques of that dominant culture—they call attention to important social issues facing immigrant families through exaggeration and irony.  In addition, Choi’s work examines a number of “unacceptable” stories about visible minorities, particularly Asian Canadians, without compromising its ability to entertainment.  
Eleanor Ty is Professor of English & Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario.  She is the Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair, 2018-2019, at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  She has published books on cultural memory, Asian North American and 18th century literature, and her most recent book, Asianfail: Narratives of Disenchantment and the Model Minority (University of Illinois Press, 2017), won the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association Adult Non-Fiction Book Award for 2017. 
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