My research examines the way that minority groups such as women, racial minorities, and queer communities use media in the fight for social justice. I am interested in struggles to improve the representation of disenfranchised groups within mainstream media, as well as the different ways that grassroots/activist media, digital media, and consumer culture all can play a role in transforming identities and communities. My book Asian American Media Activism: Fighting for Cultural Citizenship (2016, NYU Press) examines the efforts of Asian Americans to impact the way that their community has been represented in mainstream media. Using ethnography, interviews, and archival research, it examines the work of traditional activists who have worked since the 1960s to protest and reform imagery, but also contextualizes the kinds of contemporary media activism undertaken by advertising agencies, fans, YouTube artists, and bloggers. In my book Micro Media Industries: Hmong American Media Innovation in the Diaspora, I examine how a small ethnic community with limited resources can create a thriving media ecology through entrepreneurship and innovation.
In my work I am dedicated to the blending of scholarship and activism, and highly value collaborations between community organizations and academics.