In many Chinese sayings, “ten thousand” is used in a poetic sense to convey something infinite, vast, and unfathomable. In a sense, the story of Asians in America is just that. In her NPR podcast Ten Thousand Things, Shin Yu Pai explores a collection of objects and artifacts that reveal personal and cultural values, stories of diaspora, and tales of trauma that illuminate the Asian American experience.
In this talk enriched by audio clips, Pai shares intimate stories from Asian American communities drawn from two seasons of her chart-topping podcast. From a second-hand novel to a blue suit worn by a congressman on January 6, Shin Yu Pai will discuss Asian American histories, the complexity of Asian American identities and where they fit or don’t fit within larger conversations on race, and what the Asian American experience was like during pandemic.
Shin Yu Pai (she/her) is the creator and host of Ten Thousand Things, a podcast of Asian American stories produced for KUOW. A published poet and author of 13 books, she currently serves as Seattle’s Civic Poet through 2024. Her work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times and Atlas Obscura. She holds an MA degree in Museology from the University of Washington and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Pai lives in Seattle.