“Social Homelessness on US Campuses” presented by Ahn


Presentation Title:

  • Social Homelessness on US Campuses



  • The social homelessness on US campuses is a multidisciplinary art and design research project to raise awareness of the Asian female faculty on US campuses. It is a series of generative selfies (self-portrait photographs) with light and computer algorithms, compared with photography, drawing with light. Initially, it began with interactive art, Being Ignored Version 1.0, to recognize the dignity and humanity of those who are homeless, being invisibly treated, and ignored, in Porter County, Indiana, which is relatively a wealthy county, compared with neighboring counties in Indiana. Later it has extended to the project, Social Homelessness on US Campuses.

    It was inspired by the book, “Here I am, Faith Stories of Korean American Clergy-women“. It defines that social homelessness has no friends with whom they can associate or count on, they have no place to go. They seem to be very isolated and alienated. Asian female faculty on US campuses may experience the highest levels of isolation, and marginalization on US campuses, compared with other minority faculty groups. Particularly the Asian female faculty from predominantly patriarchal Asian cultures may be deeply challenged to navigate where they belong between two distinguished communities, Asian, and American. For instance, their conventional social role as being a full-time mother would be more welcome and inclusive in their traditional ethnic groups, but working as Asian female faculty may occasionally face lesser hospitable and somewhat harsh responses from the groups since their existences may impact negatively their patriarchal hierarchy led by men.

    Simultaneously the Asian female faculty may invisibly be demanded to be more persistent, dutiful, and non-complaining for extra service activities without compensatory supports on US campuses. Also, they may be subject to harsh teaching environments by student resistances and lower student evaluations on US campuses. It is routinely challenged for the Asian female faculty to find social and psychological comfort zones to rest between two exclusive communities, Asian, and American. As a part of the multidisciplinary research, the author co-founded the group, Asian Female Scholars, with Mary Szto, a law professor at Syracuse University. It is a social group consisting of around 40 Asian female faculties in particularly Indiana, USA, where white populations are relatively dominated in the academic world. The group provided regular workshops and social gatherings for mentoring, connection, networks, and, resources such as pedagogical strategies for Asian female faculty to survive and succeed on US campuses.

    The social homelessness on US campuses consists of the Being Ignored 2.0, a series of selfies (self-portrait photographs) by the software, Being Ignored 1.0, site-specific art installation, public speaking, and Asian Female Scholars. The Being Ignored 2.0 is a generative selfie software system and documentation to portray Asian females on US campuses. The mobile version of the Being Ignored 1.0, Social Homelessness, is developed to enhance public exposures and participation by using smart phones and social media.