Author Talk: ‘The Loneliest Americans’
Inspired by his critically acclaimed book, Jay Caspian Kang blends his incisive reportage with the story of his family’s immigration to the U.S. in this profound talk. With humor and insight, Kang explores the existential loneliness in himself and in the broader AAPI community who try to locate themselves in the country’s racial binary. Drawing on examples from history as well as present day, Kang shares a thought-provoking perspective on identity, community, solidarity, and what it means to be American.
The History of Korean Food in America
Food is a powerful metaphor for identity and a force for community throughout the world, and Korean food has a rich history in America. In this engaging talk, author and cultural critic Jay Caspian Kang looks at how restaurants in Koreatown, Los Angeles developed from the late 1970s until today. Kang explores the influences from both Latino neighbors and successive waves of immigrants from Korea and China, giving an entertaining and informative account of what has shaped the modern Korean restaurant and what it says about culture and community – and how they change over time.
Is there really an Asian-America?
In this provocative talk, author and cultural critic Jay Caspian Kang argues that the modern boundaries of “Asian-American” as a racial demographic often do not make sense to the vast majority of people who have been classified under that label. In fact, no “Asian-Americans” think of themselves that way – but rather as “Chinese” or “Korean” or “Indian-American.” In an incisive and eye-opening talk, Jay brings forward the multiplicity of identities and experiences hidden by the monolithic category and shares how true solidarity can be fostered by expanding our terminology and our cultural understanding.
The Making of Asian-American Flushing
A history of how Flushing went from being a middle-class Irish neighborhood to the mecca of Asian-America on the East Coast. Topics discussed: gentrification, Tommy Huang, the "Asian Donald Trump," and migration patterns within cities.
Jay Caspian Kang’s podcast ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ explores the complexity of the Asian diaspora and AAPI identities
Author and cultural critic JAY CASPIAN KANG co-hosts the beloved eclectic podcast Time to Say Goodbye. The podcast boasts a dedicated fan following and has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine’s Vulture, n+1, The Nation, The Dig, San Francisco Examiner, Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and The Blue and White. It appeared on Vulture’s Top Ten Podcasts of 2021 and Slate named it one of the Best Chat Podcasts of 2022 for its “willingness to tackle knotty topics rarely confronted elsewhere” while still finding humor.
As he does on the podcast, Kang offers a substantial perspective on a range of topics – from identity politics (and why it isn’t working for Asian Americans) to political commentary on education, civic policy, affirmative action, and more.
Jay Caspian Kang’s book ‘The Loneliest Americans’ was named one of the best books of the year by TIME, NPR, and Mother Jones
Cultural critic and author JAY CASPIAN KANG is a masterful storyteller, and The Loneliest Americans is an unforgettable blend of family history and original reportage that explores – and reimagines – Asian American identity in a Black and white world. The Loneliest Americans was named one of the best books of the year by NPR, Mother Jones, and TIME, which called it “provocative and sweeping.” It was also named an Editor’s Choice book by The New York Times Book Review, which raved: “[Kang’s] exploration of class and identity among Asian Americans will be talked about for years to come.”
In The Loneliest Americans, Kang names the existential loneliness in himself and in other Asian Americans who try to locate themselves in the country’s racial binary. In his writing as well as in compelling talks, Kang calls for a new immigrant solidarity—one rooted not in bubble tea and elite college admissions but in the struggles of refugees and the working class.
Jay Caspian Kang discusses Asian American identity in a way audiences will never forget, weaving threads of history, calls for solidarity, and personal storytelling
Writer-at-large for The New York Times Magazine JAY CASPIAN KANG captures audiences with his riveting blend of family history and original reportage that explores—and reimagines—Asian American identity in a Black and white world. A masterful storyteller, Kang explores what it means to be Asian American, and shares the unforgettable story of his family, as they move from a housing project in Cambridge to an idyllic college town in the South and eventually to the West Coast, against the backdrop of a rapidly expanding Asian America, as millions more immigrants, many of them working-class or undocumented, stream into the country. At the same time, upwardly mobile urban professionals have struggled to reconcile their parents’ assimilationist goals—all while trying to carve out a new kind of belonging for their own children, who are neither white nor truly “people of color.” Kang is also the author of The Loneliest Americans in which he discusses the existential loneliness in Asian Americans who try to locate themselves in the country’s racial binary, and how to cultivate solidarity.
Jay Caspian Kang is a writer-at-large at The New York Times Magazine and the author of The Loneliest Americans. He was a founding editor at Grantland and an Emmy-nominated correspondent on Vice on HBO. Kang's journalism career has been far from typical -- he started out in the writing business as a novelist, but found his way to journalism after spending much of his twenties as a poker player and overall surf bum. He writes now about race, identity, and economics for a variety of publications and outlets including This American Life, The New Yorker and The Nation and can speak at-length about a variety of topics, city planning, the history of immigration in the United States, education policy, Affirmative Action and gambling.
Jay is a co-host of the podcast, Time to Say Goodbye, providing commentary, reporting, and links about Asia, the Coronavirus and Asian-America.
He currently lives in Berkeley, CA with his family.