In 2021, undergraduate student Jennifer Orth participated in the University’s Petersheim Academic Exposition – an annual celebration of academic achievement involving students, faculty, administrators and staff from various disciplines – where she talked about his research and eventually received a student travel grant. Presented at each Expo, the award is a reimbursement stipend offered to select students that can be used for the presentation of their research at a regional, national or international conference.
Fast forward to this summer, Orth enters his final year with an impressive accomplishment under his belt: his research was presented at the 16th World Congress on Bioethics (WCB), an international gathering of bioethicists on cutting-edge bioethical topics that continues to challenge the field.
“When researching conference options, I was drawn to WCB for several reasons, but primarily because it was international, which meant more networking opportunities with established bioethicists from around the world,” explained Orth, who specializes in biochemistry and philosophy. .
Held in Basel, Switzerland, this year’s WCB meeting focused on the theme “Bioethics post COVID-19: accountability and transparency in a globalized and interconnected world”, a topic directly in line with the presentation of Orth in Petersheim, Return of the Yellow Peril Beast.
After applying to speak at the WCB, Orth expanded his project to further develop the philosophical theories used, renaming the presentation to Recontextualizing the Yellow Peril for the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic.
“The project examines how violence and perceptions against Asian Americans in the United States have changed in recent years, shifting the focus from the model minority myth to the yellow peril and viral rhetoric, which is more recently used in light of the pandemic,” Orth explained.
Orth teamed up with one of her closest friends on the project, Jadon Grossberg, who is currently attending the Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT). Orth and Grossberg are proud of their Asian American heritage, which helped inspire the vision and direction of the project.
“Many of my conversations with Jadon focus on our experiences as Asian Americans living in majority white space. I knew the project I wanted to undertake for WCB was beyond my philosophical knowledge, so I invited Jadon to work together given his experience with Asian American identity theory,” Orth commented.
At the conference, the duo received positive and encouraging feedback from the audience on their presentation, which posed thought-provoking questions. “We turned the questions into a conversation, which made the overall experience more enjoyable,” Orth said.
Summarized in its summary, the project explored the modes of solvency and survival strategies of Asian American communities, offering a narrative that can produce affective bonds that foster sympathy and deconstruct racist modes of understanding.
However, one of the most surprising things about the project came in its early stages, Orth pointed out: “A lot of the Asian American past is made invisible and has been erased, so we really dove deep to find out. more on Asian American history and historical key points like the Los Angeles lynchings, the murder of Vincent Chin and the In re Ah Yup decision.”
Reflecting on his experience, Orth expressed his gratitude to the professors and administrators of the College of Arts and Sciences who supported his presentation saying, “This effort would not have been possible without the help and support of my professors, Dr. KC Choi, Dr. Abe Zakhem, Dr. Bryan Pilkington, and Dr. Ida Yoshinaga from GIT, as well as the Dean’s Office and the Department of Philosophy.”