The stories of Asian American women extend far beyond the geographic borders of the United States. Inspired by tales and objects from family history, their narratives often reflect the transnational nature of Asian American women’s lives.

Despite the importance of these narratives to expanding and complicating our understanding of war, migration, inequity, and difference, the accounts and perspectives of Asian American women have often been overlooked in formal records, and the tangible objects providing critical evidence of their histories have been ignored.

This half-day program will bring together Asian American activists and artists, including novelists, filmmakers, playwrights, and photographers, to share the stories that inspire their craft and the objects they retain as part of their personal histories.

“The Stories We Tell and the Objects We Keep” reflects the Radcliffe Institute’s commitment to revealing complete, balanced, and diverse histories of women in America.

Free and open to the public.

Please register and join us in person.

This event will be webcast live on this page on March 9. Registration is not required to view the webcast.

How to watch the live webcast


1–1:10 PM


Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, and professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

1:10–1:20 PM


Genevieve Clutario, Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of American Studies, Wellesley College

1:20–1:25 PM

Julie Sunyoung Chung, Harvard College Class of 2020; AB candidate in social anthropology

1:25–2:55 PM


This roundtable discussion will explore what it means to record and create stories beyond the limits of a national narrative, incorporating experiences across cultures and continents. Each of the panelists will consider their multiple affiliations and the perspectives and the knowledge they have gained as a result.

Tanzila (Taz) Ahmed, activist, storyteller, podcaster, and poet; campaign strategist,

Gina Apostol, novelist; author, Insurrecto (Soho Press, 2018)

Hồng-An Trương, photographer and sound, video, and performance artist; associate professor of art and art history, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Moderated by Ju Yon Kim, professor of English in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

2:55–3:10 PM


3:10–3:15 PM

Vanessa Hu, Harvard College Class of 2023, AB candidate in linguistics and computer science

3:15–4:45 PM


History is revealed not only through formal written records, but also in the preservation of tangible objects that illustrate personal and family stories. Speakers in this session will show and discuss a selection of the materials they keep to tell their stories while underscoring the importance of collecting such objects to preserve the history of Asian American women.

Wendy Maruyama, furniture maker and woodworker; professor emeritus of applied design, furniture, and woodworking, School of Art + Design, San Diego State University; 2020 fellow, United States Artists

Renee Tajima-Peña, professor in the Asian American Studies Department, UCLA

Tanaïs (Tanwi Nandini Islam), novelist and perfumer; author, Bright Lines (Penguin Books, 2015)

Moderated by Denise Khor, visiting scholar in the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, Harvard University; assistant professor of American studies in the College of Liberal Arts, University of Massachusetts Boston

4:45–4:55 PM


Helen Zia, journalist; former executive editor, Ms.