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Yellow and Brown Tales: Asian American Folklife Today

Yellow and Brown Tales: Asian American Folklife Today

By Penn Asian American Studies Program
YBT is an exploration of the cultural history of Asian Americans and their lives now. Acknowledging the many aspects of Asian American life that have been unheard and unseen for “yellow” and “brown” Americans, these stories uplift and showcase their rich expressive culture. This podcast distinctively positions the Asian experience at the center of the American landscape and Asian American folklore as a critical emergent area of study.
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What is Asian American Folklore?

Yellow and Brown Tales: Asian American Folklife Today

K-Pop Scholar Dr. Grace Kao Talks BTS and Their Rise To Popularity
BTS, or Bangtan Songyeondan, is a seven-member Korean male pop-group that has achieved immense global success since their debut in 2013.  In recent years, BTS broke into the American mainstream music scene with their English-language hits such as “Dynamite” and “Butter.”  While they are known for sharp dance moves and ever-changing fashion styles, it is their songs which address mental health issues and carry messages of positivity and hope that resonate deeply with fans around the world.  In this podcast, Dr. Grace Kao, IBM Professor of Sociology from Yale University and K-pop scholar, discusses the factors that have contributed to BTS’ global success and contextualizes it with other K-pop groups that have also reached international popularity.  We talk about their influence on popular culture and, of course, as members of ARMY (the name of BTS’ fanbase), we also share our favorite members and our favorite songs.
January 10, 2022
Altars and Asian American Business Owners during the Pandemic
Listen to Dr. Rupa Pillai's latest research project on altars in Philadelphia, in conversation with Dr. Fariha Khan. Learn about the intersection of identity, faith practices, and the city of Philadelphia. Dr. Pillai also shares groundbreaking approaches to teaching as we talk about Asian American folklife today. To learn more about her project and the Good  Life Project at the Center for the Study of Religion and the City, visit
December 17, 2021
Dr. Herminia Meñez Coben, pioneer Filipina American folklorist
Join Dr. Margaret Magat in conversation with Herminia Meñez Coben, the first Filipina American to receive a Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife from University of Pennsylvania in 1973. Dr. Coben was also the first Filipina to teach Ethnic Studies and Folklore at California State University, Sonoma (1970 to 1985), teaching classes such as 'Native American Mythology', 'African American Folklore' as well as 'Asian American Folklore'. She went on to be the first Filipina American president of the California Folklore Society (now known as the Western States Folklore Society) and later taught 'Filipino Folklore and Society' at University of California, Los Angeles (1990-1991) before her retirement. In this episode, we will hear about her early graduate years in the Philippines, how she stumbled upon the field of folklore, her fieldwork among manongs (a Filipino term referring to elder males), and her birds' eye view of the historic Delano Grape Strike.
December 01, 2021
South Asian Americans and Sex Education: A Conversation with University of Pennsylvania Senior, Simran Chand
Join Dr Fariha Khan and Simran Chand as they talk about Simran's award-winning senior thesis: "Familial Sexual Education for South Asian American Undergraduates and its Implications on Sexual Well-Being."
November 10, 2021
Conversation with Margaret Magat, Author of Balut: Fertilized Eggs and the Making of Culinary Capital in the Filipino Diaspora
In this episode Dr. Margaret Magat shares her experience of becoming an independent folklorist, her fieldwork with the Filipino diaspora, and, particularly, her labor of love, Balut: Fertilized Eggs and the Making of Culinary Capital in the Filipino Diaspora. Dr. Magat first describes the main idea of each of the five chapters, and then discusses from a folkloristic perspective how eating balut has developed from a tradition practiced in several Asian countries to a public performance of the identity of the Filipino diaspora in the U.S.  Through this episode, listeners will learn not only about the tradition itself but also how diasporic traditions should be understood. The interviewer is Juwen  Zhang, Professor of Chinese and Folklore at Willamette University,  Oregon. Dr. Zhang is a Fellow of the American Folklore Society and current  President of Western States Folklore Society.
October 25, 2021
What is Asian American Folklore?
"What is Asian American Folklore?" Episode 1 of Yellow and Brown Tales explores the field of Asian American Folklore and its critical importance for the awareness and understanding of Asian American folklife. Join the founding members of the podcast as they reflect on their scholarship and the need for Asian American folklore now. Meet the hosts here!  Fariha Khan Co-Director, Asian American Studies Program University of Pennsylvania   Margaret Magat Writer and Cultural Resources Program Manager California  Nancy Yan Writer and Organizer American Federation of Teachers-Maryland   Juwen Zhang Professor of Chinese and Folklore  Willamette University, Oregon
October 04, 2021