Georgetown Senior Publishes Book on Intersection of Business, Law and Minority Politics

black and white headshot of Irene Chun

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Before graduating this spring, Irene Chun (C’21) will publish her first book Coloring Ivory that discusses minority politics, business and the law. Chun, who is an Interdisciplinary Studies major concentrating in Government and Women and Gender Studies, combined personal essays and case studies from her time as a student at Georgetown and from growing up as a multi-minority. 

“I wrote this book because I never saw myself represented or considered in minority politics in America and felt overlooked and not represented in the media, as well,” says Chun. “My hope is that readers will discover how minority politics, business and the law not only influence each other but also depend on one another.”

About Coloring Ivory

A minor in the Disability Studies Program and Regional Asian Studies, Chun said that she was inspired to write this book after noticing that many of her academic and professional interests as well as frustrations dealt with the intersections of law, business and politics. Using these themes, she explores the question of identity and the power individuals and the public have in upholding institutions. 

The articles Chun uses to answer these questions address topics that are relatable to a wider audience. They include minority influencers on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, classist healthcare practices, Asian Americans’ positioning in American consumer culture and politics and identifying as disabled in corporate culture. 

Throughout her book, Chun intersperses academic writings with personal essays, though she says that the individual narratives are meant to humanize the articles rather than serve as a memoir. She also hopes that these essays help to drive home the reality of the lived experiences for many minorities in America and the world. 

“The subjects I chose to write about certainly stemmed from injustices that either myself or my peers have suffered due to overgeneralist understandings of what it means to be part of a particular minority group,” Chun says. “Growing up in America in New York City, I never saw myself, as an Asian American, in any celebrated piece of literary, historical or revolutionary movement within my curriculum or regular conversation.”

Chun also says that in the wake of increased hate crimes against Asian Americans including the recent deaths of six Asian American women in Atlanta, GA, she “questioned what convinces Americans to ‘remember’ and address a sociocultural wrongdoing toward those not within the black/white binary.”

“I have wondered why it has taken so long for the general public to realize that AAPI hate exists and is overwhelmingly prevalent,” she says. “It should not take a series of deaths to convince a nation that a population is worth protecting institutionally and societally.”

It is for this reason that Chun chose to focus on topics that would be of interest to the largest number of people in order to contribute to the expansion of knowledge around the minority experience and bring awareness to those who are “other.”

As a research and administrative assistant for the disability studies program, Chun became increasingly aware of the ableist structures in our society and at Georgetown, and decided to incorporate this research in Coloring Ivory. The program and its director, Jennifer Natalya Fink, were instrumental in helping Chun develop her book.

“In Coloring Ivory, Irene brilliantly examines the intersections of ableism with anti-Asian racism. She provides new ways of thinking about identity that allow for more complexity and nuance,” she says.  

The senior said that she was also grateful for the Georgetown Preparing to Excel Program (PEP) Fellowship through the Creator Institute, which allowed her to write and publish the book. Coloring Ivory will be available for purchase in August of 2021.