Minh-Ha T. Pham
Ph.D., Univerity of California, Berkeley
Cultural studies of fashion, digital cultural studies, Asian American visual studies, gender and women studies, comparative ethnic studies, feminist media studies, techno-cultural studies, creative and political economies, affect studies, and surveillance and society studies.
I’m completing a book on the shifting technologies and structures of Asian fashion labor in the 21st century through a close examination of personal style blogs. In contrast to the repetitious industrial labor that Asian women and girls continue to provide in the fashion system (often in anonymity), popular Asian personal style bloggers engage in a dynamic set of aesthetic labors that are highly visible not only because the work is done on and through the stylized body and through conspicuous consumption but also because the visual, textual, and sartorial images of these bodies circulate in massive networks of social relationships, communication, and information. My book critically considers the (actual and represented) work of personal style blogging and the technological and economic conditions that structure that work. Such analyses have significant implications on our understanding of the historical continuities and discontinuities in the role and status of Asians in the production of the fashion system at a time when its economy is shifting towards immaterial commodities (e.g. blogs) as key sources of capital accumulation.
As well as the following publications, my research has appeared in media sites including The Guardian (UK), New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, Chronicle of Higher Education, NPR, WNYC, Racialicious, and Jezebel
Selected Academic Publications
“Visualizing ‘the Misfit’: Virtual Fitting Rooms and the Politics of Technology” (under review)
“A Reconsideration of Fashion Blog Vanity and Visibility” Fashion Theory. Special Issue: Fashion Blogs (forthcoming)
“Fashion, Feelings, and Electronic Files” Fashion, Style, and Popular Culture Journal. Special Issue: Curating Costume/Exhibiting Fashion (forthcoming)
“Paul Poiret’s Magical Techno-Oriental Fashions (1911): Race, Clothing, and Virtuality in the Machine Age” Configurations: Journal of the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts 21.1 (Fall 2013).
“Listening as a Labor of Love: Commerce, Community, and Little Saigon Radio,” positions: asia critique 21.4 (Fall 2013).
“‘Susie Bubble Is a Sign of the Times’: The Embodiment of Success in the Web 2.0 Economy” Feminist Media Studies 13.2 (2013): 245-267.
“Has Asian American Studies Failed?” Forum. Journal of Asian American Studies 15.3 (October 2012): 330-334.
“Blog Ambition: Fashion, Feelings, and the Political Economy of the Digital Raced Body” Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies 76 26.1 (April 2011): 1-37.
“The Right to Fashion in the Age of Terrorism,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 36.2 (2011): 3
Selected Arts/Culture/Politics Publications
“Hot Mess: On Race and Digital Fashion Models” The New Inquiry vol. 20. Special Issue: Off Brand (September 2013).
“Pose This Way: What Blogger Kinesthetics Say about a Global Fashion Industry” Hyphen Magazine/Across the Desk: A Collaboration of Asian American Journalists and Scholars (January 2013).
“Couture’s Chinese Culture Shock” The American Prospect (January 2012).
“If the Clothes Fit” Ms. Magazine (Fall 2011).
“What’s in a Name? Urban Outfitters and the Navajo Nation’s Trademarks” The American Prospect (November 2011).
"Going (Fashionably) Postal," Style Sample Magazine, issue no. 5 (January 2010): 26-27.
"The Asian Invasion (of Multiculturalism) in Hollywood,” Hollywood’s America: Twentieth Century America Through Film eds. Steven Mintz and Randy W. Roberts (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell 2010): 340-353. (republished)
“The Asian Invasion (of Multiculturalism) in Hollywood,” Common Culture: Reading and Writing about American Popular Culture, 4th Edition eds. Michael Petracca and Madeleine Sorapure (Prentice Hall 2006). (republished)
“Re-Writing Home,” This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Vision for Transformation eds. Gloria Anzaldúa and AnaLouise Keating (New York: Routledge, 2002): 176-180.
Recent Invited Talks
“Refashioning Race, Gender, and Economy,” Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) and the Asian/Pacific/American Institute
Professional Development Panel, School of Art and Design History and Theory, Parsons The New School for Design
“Couture Culture: Politics of Fashion,” Humanities Initiative Lecture, New York University
“Personal Style Blogs and DIY Race: On Race, Aesthetics, and Capitalism,” William A. Kern lecture series, Rochester Institute of Technology
“Crowdsourcing Curation, Crowdsourcing Knowledge,” Fashion Studies Today: History, Theory and Practice Conference, CUNY Graduate Center
“Fashion, Feelings, and Electronic Files,” Global Liberal Studies, New York University
“The Social Construction of Virtual Fitting Rooms,” Digital Arts & Culture Speaker Series, Dartmouth College
"Behind the Seams of Paul Poiret's Harem Trousers (1911): Race, Fashion, and Virtuality in the Machine Age," Asian American Studies Institute & Women Studies Program, UConn
“Threadbared PDA or, Public Displays of Academia/Aesthetics” (co-presenter with Mimi Nguyen)
Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
“The Meat of Burberry’s Hologram Runway Show in Beijing,” Individuals in Public session. Microsoft Social Computing Symposium, New York, New York
"Fashion, Feelings, and Electronic Files," LOOK BETTER: Interdisciplinary Visual Research Symposium (inaugural event for new Critical Visions undergraduate program in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning and the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences), University of Cincinnati
"Writing Fashion, From Book to Blog," The Humanities Initiative, New York University.
"A Perfect You? There's an App for That," Department of Gender & Women's Studies with the Science, Technology, and Society Center, University of California at Berkeley
"Blog Ambition: Race, Gender, and Fashion Blogs," Parsons the New School for Design
Threadbared, a co-authored research blog on the politics of fashion, style, and beauty, which receives approximately 22,300 monthly page views. Threadbared has been cited in numerous popular and academic publications including Chronicle of Higher Education, San Francisco Chronicle, The Atlantic, Salon.com, the Museum at FIT blog, Worn Fashion Journal, Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, and the journal of English Studies in Canada.
Of Another Fashion, a crowdsourced digital photo archive of the not-quite-hidden but too often neglected fashion histories of U.S. women of color. The blog receives about 50,000 monthly page views and has more than 25,000 subscribers. It’s been featured on NPR, The Root, Ms. magazine, Colorlines magazine, Etsy blog, Youth Radio, and AOL’s Black Voices on Style.
Huffington Post Style Blog, where I post monthly commentaries on fashion, style, and beauty from an academic perspective.
Minh-Ha T. Pham Asian American Program Faculty Page: http://
Asian American Studies Program: http://www.arts.cornell.edu/asianam/
Minh-Ha T. Pham's Website: http://minhhathipham.