This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please inquire about permissions.
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Elizabeth Lingling Yang, who goes by Lingling, was born in Maine, then spent her early years in Taiwan. She was raised by two professors; her mother, an American, is a professor of Chinese Literature. Her father, who is Taiwanese, is a professor of philosophy. She has a memory of wearing a dinosaur sweater knit by her grandmother and being told off for picking a flower that was off-limits. From Taiwan, her family moved to Oberlin, Ohio, which is where she had some of her best Childhood memories and friends. Then her family moved from Oberlin to Appleton, Wisconsin, where she spent the rest of her Childhood. Her father would spend most of the year in Taiwan, aside from summer and Christmas, though she lied to her friends and said he was around half the year. Her parents were not getting along very well. Lingling’s mother signed her up for lots of activities, serving as a sort of babysitter since she was essentially a single mom. Lingling took dance lessons and had a few failed attempts at learning various instruments, like piano. She danced throughout high school, which she described as a typical American high school experience. She fondly remembers the mother of her friend, Katie, who had a big heart. This contrasts with the relationship she had with her own parents, which she discusses more near the end of the interview.
This interview might be of interest to those studying Asian-American identities, families with parents of multiple cultures, children of academics, children of semi-separated households, and growing up in America (specifically Wisconsin) in the late 90s/early 2000s (Lingling was born in 1985).
Anna Van Dine is an undergraduate student at NYU, where her work draws mainly from journalism and anthropology (she’s aiming for an ethnographically-minded audio career). She grew up in Moretown, Vermont.
This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.
Oral history is an iterative process. In keeping with oral history values of anti-fixity, interviewees will have an opportunity to add, annotate and reflect upon their lives and interviews in perpetuity. Talking back to the archive is a form of “shared authority.”