Dr. Grace I. Yeh

Oral Histories & Asian American Literature

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Dr. Grace Yeh is a professor and the Interim Chair of Communications Studies at California Polytechnic State University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I chose to interview Dr. Yeh because among her many accomplishments, she completed a project, The Re/Collecting Project, centered on capturing oral stories from Asian- Americans of the Central Coast. 

How do you define an oral history and its significance? Who is the intended audience of oral histories, and what is their appropriate context?

In Glen Grant’s book Obake Ghost Stories in Hawai’i, he strives to answer the question, “How had such an incredibly rich aspect of the Islands’ oral traditions been overlooked?” (Grant VII). Based on your experience working with oral traditions, why are these kinds of stories underappreciated by the dominant society?

You describe “The Recollecting Project” as an “ethnic studies memory project of California’s Central Coast.” What motivated you to initiate this project, and how did you know where to look for the memories you collected?

You have a section within your project titled “Filipino Love Stories” which highlights love stories from Filipinos who came to the USA during the 1920s-1930s. Based off of your findings, were you able to detect any commonalities in the Filipino American experience (ex: of love, migration, memory, etc.)?

What impact do oral histories and stories have on Asian American Literature?

What are some forms of media (i.e. literature, films, podcasts) you would recommend to people who want to know more about Asian American Literature?