Monday, March 7, 2011

Subversity Host Reflects on Activism Off and On the Air

To listen to the podcast of this program, click
Self-portrait in the UCI office, taken right after taping of the interview 4 March 2011 for East 306. Photo © Daniel C. Tsang, 2011.

An enterprising Asian Studies undergraduate class at McGill University in Montreal has an intriguing mission: Create an experimental radio program to document social change in Asia and the Asian diaspora by interviewing activists, scholars and the like.

So I was honored to be one of those interviewed in the project, East 306, whose blog posts audio of past interviewees. Its post today profiles Subversity and my work on and beyond the show.

The back story: The class is co-taught by the superlative Adrienne Hurley, a Japanese Studies doctoral graduate from UC Irvine. The first scholar interviewed by East 306's team of earnest students was another Japanese Studies Ph.D from UCI, Kota Inoue, who is now teaching at my alma mater (see below). The interview with me was conducted using the facilities of a pioneering radio radio station at McGill, CKUT, which is expected to also air this program.

Here's what the students wrote in generously profiling me (taken from their blog) [hyperlinks revised]:

Since the program first aired in 1993, Daniel Tsang has been the host of Subversity on KUCI, the student and community radio station at the University of California, Irvine. Every Monday at 5pm (8pm in MontrĂ©al), he airs critical commentary and conducts in-depth interviews for this internationally recognized program that serves as an open seminar via radio. You can listen live via the KUCI website and browse past interviews and topics here (where you’ll also find a web-exclusive archive). On Subversity, Dan makes available to the masses the voices and ideas of activists, librarians, dissidents, and scholars, including Prof. Dylan Rodriguez, with whom Dan spoke shortly after the last U.S. presidential election. He has interviewed the actor Dustin Nguyen and the director Stanley Kwan, and he has covered a wide array of topics ranging from breast cancer (in a memorial tribute to UC Irvine graduate student Robyn Shikiya) to the ideological screening out of radicals in graduate and professional schools (in an interview with Jeffrey Schmidt).

Dan Tsang is also Data Librarian and Bibliographer in Asian American Studies, Political Science, and Economics at the University of California, Irvine, where he organized the Immigrant Lives Exhibit to debunk ‘The OC’ TV image of Orange County. He maintains Subject and Course Guides in fields such as Asian American Studies, Political Science, Economics, and the Social Sciences. He earned his B.A. in Government from the University of Redlands, where Professor Kota Inoue (interviewed in our very first podcast) currently teaches. Dan Tsang went on to earn two graduate degrees at the University of Michigan, an M.A. in Political Science and an M.L.S. in Library Science. As a journalist, Dan has authored numerous articles and opinion pieces, as well as scholarly publications, which you can see listed here. In today’s podcast, Dan mentions Elaine Black Yoneda, a white woman who joined her Japanese American husband in the internment camp. Dan’s biographical entry on her is the last entry in Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary Completing the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2004), Vol. 5, 707-709.

Dan edited the magazine Gay Insurgent in Philadelphia in the early 1980s. He was a Fulbright research scholar at the National Academy of Social Sciences in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2003-2004, and contributes greatly to our collective survival as a radical archivist, data librarian, indexer, and bibliographer. He also sued the CIA for spying on him and won. (He discusses this case in today’s podcast.)

Samantha Chrisanthus, who studies Political Science and Women’s Studies at McGill, interviews Dan Tsang about his work in libraries and radio stations, as well as his efforts to document and archive injustice and harm. Sam begins by asking Dan how Subversity started and what led him to radio. In this lively and very informative interview, Dan discusses topics such as how to document police harassment and abuse, the chilling effects of the current case of the Irvine 11 on student movements and student activism, and why we need data liberation movements and radical archiving. Dan also talks about obtaining FBI files on dead activists (and philosophers) and why we should think about preserving our own archives while we are still here and making them.

As host of Subversity I usually get to interview activists; given that they have turned the tables on me, let me return the favor and air the interview on KUCI as well.

The show with this free-wheeling interview by Sam Chrisanthus of myself airs this evening from 5-6 p.m. on KUCI, 88.9 FM in Orange County, California, and is simulcast via

1 comment:

omalone1 said...

Gwiz, please reupload this link:

Earlier Subversity interview with Bob Samuels, UC-AFT President (first half of show): (In part II, Jeffrey Schmidt, a UCI Ph.D graduate, and author of Disciplined Minds, talks about his days at UCI and how academia "disciplines" its graduate students etc.)