Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Department of Cinematic Arts at the University of Iowa wishes to express its unequivocal condemnation of violence against Asian-Americans and people of Asian descent in the US and internationally. Like many, we were shocked and saddened by the horrific killing of eight people, including six Asian-American women, in Atlanta on March 16th. These crimes occurred amidst a surge in verbal and physical assaults against Asians during the Coronavirus pandemic, itself undergirded by a much longer history of anti-Asian violence in which racism and sexism have long intersected. While mourning the victims of the Atlanta shootings, we also pledge to renew our support for the students, faculty and staff of Asian descent in our own community. We concur with the calls by the University’s Pan Asian Council and the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to combat anti-Asian harm on campus, and we remain committed to nurturing a safe and supportive learning environment, free from discrimination. As artists and academics of cinema, media and visual culture, we believe that it is crucial to understand the roles that media representations have played in producing and disseminating the racist and sexist stereotypes that enable colonialist oppression, as well as the potentials of media and media scholarship for challenging them. We also stand in solidarity with the efforts of allied professional bodies such as the Association for Asian Studies to interrogate the broader cultural forces that impact the perception of Asian and Pacific Islander communities in the United States. In our mission to create a supportive and respectful learning environment, we hereby renew our commitment to combating racism and respecting difference in our own community. We always welcome the input of staff, students and faculty. Please feel free to send comments and suggestions to the Department Chair, Michael Cowan (michael-cowan@uiowa.edu) or any of the other faculty members in the department.