If Asian Americans are to assume the role of bridge builders across the Pacific, what are the opportunities, the risks, the promises, and the perils? The answer to this question comes in eight groundbreaking essays in which contributors to Across the Pacific address issues of contemporary growth and diversification of Asian America in relation to the increasingly globalized economy. New meanings and practices of Asian Americans are considered in the atmosphere of global transformation that is present in the post-Civil Rights, post-Cold War, postmodern, and postcolonial era. This book explores, in descriptive and critical ways, how transnational relationships and interactions in Asian American communities are manifested, exemplified, and articulated within the international context of the Pacific Rim.
Members of the Asian American community have always been trans-Pacific, but are now more than ever, since the 1965 change in U.S. immigration law. Entering the U.S. at the culmination of the Civil Rights movement, Asians becoming Asian Americans have joined a self-consciously multicultural society. Asian economies roared onto the world stage, creating new markets while circulating capital and labor at an unprecedented scale and intensity, thereby helping drive the forces of modern globalization. These essays by well-known scholars in the field of Asian American studies consider such topics as the impact of new migrations on Asian American subjectivity and politics, Asian American activism and U.S. foreign policy, and the role of Asian Americans in Pacific Rim economies.
Considering issues of diaspora, transmigrancy, assimilation, institutionalized racism, and community, Across the Pacific covers such cutting-edge subjects as the cultural expressions of dislocation among contemporary Asian American writers, as well as the impact of the new migrations on Asian American subjectivity and politics.
In Advertising Diversity Shalini Shankar explores how racial and ethnic differences are created and commodified through advertisements, marketing, and public relations. Drawing from periods of fieldwork she conducted over four years at Asian American ad agencies in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, Shankar illustrates the day-to-day process of creating and producing broadcast and internet advertisements. She examines the adaptation of general market brand identities for Asian American audiences, the ways ad executives make Asian cultural and linguistic concepts accessible to their clients, and the differences between casting Asian Americans in ads for general and multicultural markets. Shankar argues that as a form of racialized communication, advertising shapes the political and social status of Asian Americans, transforming them from "model minorities" to "model consumers." Asian Americans became visible in the twenty-first century United States through a process Shankar calls "racial naturalization." Once seen as foreign, their framing as model consumers has legitimized their presence in the American popular culture landscape. By making the category of Asian American suitable for consumption, ad agencies shape and refine the population they aim to represent.
With contributions from activists, artists, and scholars, Afro Asia is a groundbreaking collection of writing on the historical alliances, cultural connections, and shared political strategies linking African Americans and Asian Americans. Bringing together autobiography, poetry, scholarly criticism, and other genres, this volume represents an activist vanguard in the cultural struggle against oppression.
Afro Asia opens with analyses of historical connections between people of African and of Asian descent. An account of nineteenth-century Chinese laborers who fought against slavery and colonialism in Cuba appears alongside an exploration of African Americans’ reactions to and experiences of the Korean “conflict.” Contributors examine the fertile period of Afro-Asian exchange that began around the time of the 1955 Bandung Conference, the first meeting of leaders from Asian and African nations in the postcolonial era. One assesses the relationship of two important 1960s Asian American activists to Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. Mao Ze Dong’s 1963 and 1968 statements in support of black liberation are juxtaposed with an overview of the influence of Maoism on African American leftists.
Turning to the arts, Ishmael Reed provides a brief account of how he met and helped several Asian American writers. A Vietnamese American spoken-word artist describes the impact of black hip-hop culture on working-class urban Asian American youth. Fred Ho interviews Bill Cole, an African American jazz musician who plays Asian double-reed instruments. This pioneering collection closes with an array of creative writing, including poetry, memoir, and a dialogue about identity and friendship that two writers, one Japanese American and the other African American, have performed around the United States.
Contributors: Betsy Esch, Diane C. Fujino, royal hartigan, Kim Hewitt, Cheryl Higashida, Fred Ho, Everett Hoagland, Robin D. G. Kelley, Bill V. Mullen, David Mura, Ishle Park, Alexs Pate, Thien-bao Thuc Phi, Ishmael Reed, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Maya Almachar Santos, JoYin C. Shih, Ron Wheeler, Daniel Widener, Lisa Yun
In 1955 Pan American World Airways began recruiting Japanese American women to work as stewardesses on its Tokyo-bound flights and eventually its round-the-world flights as well. Based in Honolulu, these women were informally known as Pan Am’s “Nisei”—second-generation Japanese Americans—even though not all of them were Japanese American or second-generation. They were ostensibly hired for their Japanese-language skills, but few spoke Japanese fluently. This absorbing account of Pan Am’s “Nisei” stewardess program suggests that the Japanese American (and later other Asian and Asian American) stewardesses were meant to enhance the airline’s image of exotic cosmopolitanism and worldliness. As its corporate archives demonstrate, Pan Am marketed itself as an iconic American company pioneering new frontiers of race, language, and culture. Christine R. Yano juxtaposes the airline’s strategies and practices with the recollections of former “Nisei” flight attendants. In interviews with the author, these women proudly recall their experiences as young women who left home to travel the globe with Pan American World Airways, forging their own cosmopolitan identities in the process. Airborne Dreams is the story of an unusual personnel program implemented by an American corporation intent on expanding and dominating the nascent market for international air travel. That program reflected the Jet Age dreams of global mobility that excited postwar Americans, as well as the inequalities of gender, class, race, and ethnicity that constrained many of them.
In Alien Capital Iyko Day retheorizes the history and logic of settler colonialism by examining its intersection with capitalism and the racialization of Asian immigrants to Canada and the United States. Day explores how the historical alignment of Asian bodies and labor with capital's abstract and negative dimensions became one of settler colonialism's foundational and defining features. This alignment allowed white settlers to gloss over and expunge their complicity with capitalist exploitation from their collective memory. Day reveals this process through an analysis of a diverse body of Asian North American literature and visual culture, including depictions of Chinese railroad labor in the 1880s, filmic and literary responses to Japanese internment in the 1940s, and more recent examinations of the relations between free trade, national borders, and migrant labor. In highlighting these artists' reworking and exposing of the economic modalities of Asian racialized labor, Day pushes beyond existing approaches to settler colonialism as a Native/settler binary to formulate it as a dynamic triangulation of Native, settler, and alien populations and positionalities.
Alien Encounters showcases innovative directions in Asian American cultural studies. In essays exploring topics ranging from pulp fiction to multimedia art to import-car subcultures, contributors analyze Asian Americans’ interactions with popular culture as both creators and consumers. Written by a new generation of cultural critics, these essays reflect post-1965 Asian America; the contributors pay nuanced attention to issues of gender, sexuality, transnationality, and citizenship, and they unabashedly take pleasure in pop culture.
This interdisciplinary collection brings together contributors working in Asian American studies, English, anthropology, sociology, and art history. They consider issues of cultural authenticity raised by Asian American participation in hip hop and jazz, the emergence of an orientalist “Indo-chic” in U.S. youth culture, and the circulation of Vietnamese music variety shows. They examine the relationship between Chinese restaurants and American culture, issues of sexuality and race brought to the fore in the video performance art of a Bruce Lee–channeling drag king, and immigrant television viewers’ dismayed reactions to a Chinese American chef who is “not Chinese enough.” The essays in Alien Encounters demonstrate the importance of scholarly engagement with popular culture. Taking popular culture seriously reveals how people imagine and express their affective relationships to history, identity, and belonging.
Contributors. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Kevin Fellezs, Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez, Joan Kee, Nhi T. Lieu, Sunaina Maira, Martin F. Manalansan IV, Mimi Thi Nguyen, Robyn Magalit Rodriguez, Sukhdev Sandhu, Christopher A. Shinn, Indigo Som, Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu, Oliver Wang
Winner, 2013 Best First Book in Women's, Gender, and/or Sexuality History by the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Winner, 2013 Lawrence W. Levine Award, Organization of American Historians Winner, 2013 Congress on Research in Dance Outstanding Publication Award
Aloha America reveals the role of hula in legitimating U.S. imperial ambitions in Hawai'i. Hula performers began touring throughout the continental United States and Europe in the late nineteenth century. These "hula circuits" introduced hula, and Hawaiians, to U.S. audiences, establishing an "imagined intimacy," a powerful fantasy that enabled Americans to possess their colony physically and symbolically. Meanwhile, in the early years of American imperialism in the Pacific, touring hula performers incorporated veiled critiques of U.S. expansionism into their productions.
At vaudeville theaters, international expositions, commercial nightclubs, and military bases, Hawaiian women acted as ambassadors of aloha, enabling Americans to imagine Hawai'i as feminine and benign, and the relation between colonizer and colonized as mutually desired. By the 1930s, Hawaiian culture, particularly its music and hula, had enormous promotional value. In the 1940s, thousands of U.S. soldiers and military personnel in Hawai'i were entertained by hula performances, many of which were filmed by military photographers. Yet, as Adria L. Imada shows, Hawaiians also used hula as a means of cultural survival and countercolonial political praxis. In Aloha America, Imada focuses on the years between the 1890s and the 1960s, examining little-known performances and films before turning to the present-day reappropriation of hula by the Hawaiian self-determination movement.
In her research on popular culture of the Vietnamese diaspora, Nhi T. Lieu explores how people displaced by war reconstruct cultural identity in the aftermath of migration. Embracing American democratic ideals and consumer capitalism prior to arriving in the United States, postwar Vietnamese refugees endeavored to assimilate and live the American Dream. In The American Dream in Vietnamese, she claims that nowhere are these fantasies played out more vividly than in the Vietnamese American entertainment industry.
Lieu examines how live music variety shows and videos, beauty pageants, and Web sites created by and for Vietnamese Americans contributed to the shaping of their cultural identity. She shows how popular culture forms repositories for conflicting expectations of assimilation, cultural preservation, and invention, alongside gendered and classed dimensions of ethnic and diasporic identity.
The American Dream in Vietnamese demonstrates how the circulation of images manufactured by both Americans and Vietnamese immigrants serves to produce these immigrants’ paradoxical desires. Within these desires and their representations, Lieu finds the dramatization of the community’s struggle to define itself against the legacy of the refugee label, a classification that continues to pathologize their experiences in American society.
A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
“Raises timely and important questions about what religious freedom in America truly means.”
“A must-read for anyone interested in the implacable quest for civil liberties, social and racial justice, religious freedom, and American belonging.”
On December 7, 1941, as the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor, the first person detained was the leader of the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist sect in Hawai‘i. Nearly all Japanese Americans were subject to accusations of disloyalty, but Buddhists aroused particular suspicion. From the White House to the local town council, many believed that Buddhism was incompatible with American values. Intelligence agencies targeted the Buddhist community, and Buddhist priests were deemed a threat to national security.
In this pathbreaking account, based on personal accounts and extensive research in untapped archives, Duncan Ryūken Williams reveals how, even as they were stripped of their homes and imprisoned in camps, Japanese American Buddhists launched one of the most inspiring defenses of religious freedom in our nation’s history, insisting that they could be both Buddhist and American.
“A searingly instructive story…from which all Americans might learn.”
“Williams’ moving account shows how Japanese Americans transformed Buddhism into an American religion, and, through that struggle, changed the United States for the better.”
—Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer
“Reading this book, one cannot help but think of the current racial and religious tensions that have gripped this nation—and shudder.”
—Reza Aslan, author of Zealot
In Americans First, K. Scott Wong uses archival research and oral histories to provide the first detailed account of Chinese Americans in the American military. Wong traces the history of the 14th Air Service Group, a segregated outfit of Chinese Americans sent to China in support of the American Army Air Corps and the Chinese Air Force. His ethnic history of inclusion shows how this new generation of Chinese Americans was more socially accepted, moving from the margins of society into the American mainstream during a time of pervasive racism.
Pioneering Chinese American actress Anna May Wong made more than sixty films, headlined theater and vaudeville productions, and even starred in her own television show. Her work helped shape racial modernity as she embodied the dominant image of Chinese and, more generally, “Oriental” women between 1925 and 1940.
In Anna May Wong, Shirley Jennifer Lim re-evaluates Wong’s life and work as a consummate artist by mining an historical archive of her efforts outside of Hollywood cinema. From her pan-European films and her self-made My China Film to her encounters with artists such as Josephine Baker, Carl Van Vechten, and Walter Benjamin, Lim scrutinizes Wong’s cultural production and self-fashioning. Byconsidering the salient moments of Wong’s career and cultural output, Lim’s analysis explores the deeper meanings, and positions the actress as an historical and cultural entrepreneur who rewrote categories of representation.
Anna May Wong provides a new understanding of the actress’s career as an ingenious creative artist.
From 1942 to 1946, as America prepared for war, 120,000 people of Japanese descent were forcibly interned in harsh desert camps across the American west.
In Artifacts of Loss, Jane E. Dusselier looks at the lives of these internees through the lens of their art. These camp-made creations included flowers made with tissue paper and shells, wood carvings of pets left behind, furniture made from discarded apple crates, gardens grown next to their housingùanything to help alleviate the visual deprivation and isolation caused by their circumstances. Their crafts were also central in sustaining, re-forming, and inspiring new relationships. Creating, exhibiting, consuming, living with, and thinking about art became embedded in the everyday patterns of camp life and helped provide internees with sustenance for mental, emotional, and psychic survival.
Dusselier urges her readers to consider these often overlooked folk crafts as meaningful political statements which are significant as material forms of protest and as representations of loss. She concludes briefly with a discussion of other displaced people around the globe today and the ways in which personal and group identity is reflected in similar creative ways.
The last half century witnessed a dramatic change in the geographic, ethnographic, and socioeconomic structure of Asian American communities. While traditional enclaves were strengthened by waves of recent immigrants, native-born Asian Americans also created new urban and suburban areas.
Asian America is the first comprehensive look at post-1960s Asian American communities in the United States and Canada. From Chinese Americans in Chicagoland to Vietnamese Americans in Orange County, this multi-disciplinary collection spans a wide comparative and panoramic scope. Contributors from an array of academic fields focus on global views of Asian American communities as well as on territorial and cultural boundaries.
Presenting groundbreaking perspectives, Asian America revises worn assumptions and examines current challenges Asian American communities face in the twenty-first century.
The Asian American Achievement Paradox
JENIFFER LEE is professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine. MIN ZHOU is professor of sociology at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and the University of California, Los Angeles. Russell Sage Foundation, 2015 Library of Congress E184.A75L443 2015 | Dewey Decimal 305.895073
Asian Americans are often stereotyped as the “model minority.” Their sizeable presence at elite universities and high household incomes have helped construct the narrative of Asian American “exceptionalism.” While many scholars and activists characterize this as a myth, pundits claim that Asian Americans’ educational attainment is the result of unique cultural values. In The Asian American Achievement Paradox, sociologists Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou offer a compelling account of the academic achievement of the children of Asian immigrants. Drawing on in-depth interviews with the adult children of Chinese immigrants and Vietnamese refugees and survey data, Lee and Zhou bridge sociology and social psychology to explain how immigration laws, institutions, and culture interact to foster high achievement among certain Asian American groups. For the Chinese and Vietnamese in Los Angeles, Lee and Zhou find that the educational attainment of the second generation is strikingly similar, despite the vastly different socioeconomic profiles of their immigrant parents. Because immigration policies after 1965 favor individuals with higher levels of education and professional skills, many Asian immigrants are highly educated when they arrive in the United States. They bring a specific “success frame,” which is strictly defined as earning a degree from an elite university and working in a high-status field. This success frame is reinforced in many local Asian communities, which make resources such as college preparation courses and tutoring available to group members, including their low-income members. While the success frame accounts for part of Asian Americans’ high rates of achievement, Lee and Zhou also find that institutions, such as public schools, are crucial in supporting the cycle of Asian American achievement. Teachers and guidance counselors, for example, who presume that Asian American students are smart, disciplined, and studious, provide them with extra help and steer them toward competitive academic programs. These institutional advantages, in turn, lead to better academic performance and outcomes among Asian American students. Yet the expectations of high achievement come with a cost: the notion of Asian American success creates an “achievement paradox” in which Asian Americans who do not fit the success frame feel like failures or racial outliers. While pundits ascribe Asian American success to the assumed superior traits intrinsic to Asian culture, Lee and Zhou show how historical, cultural, and institutional elements work together to confer advantages to specific populations. An insightful counter to notions of culture based on stereotypes, The Asian American Achievement Paradox offers a deft and nuanced understanding how and why certain immigrant groups succeed.
The Asian American Avant-Garde is the first book-length study thatconceptualizes a long-neglected canon of early Asian American literature and art. Audrey Wu Clark traces a genealogy of counter-universalism in short fiction, poetry, novels, and art produced by writers and artists of Asian descent who were responding to their contemporary period of Asian exclusion in the United States, between the years 1882 and 1945.
Believing in the promise of an inclusive America, these avant-gardists critiqued racism as well as institutionalized art. Clark examines racial outsiders including Isamu Noguchi, Dong Kingman and Yun Gee to show how they engaged with modernist ideas, particularly cubism. She draws comparisons between writers such as Sui Sin Far and Carlos Bulosan with modernist luminaries like Stein, Eliot, Pound, and Proust.
Acknowledging the anachronism of the term “Asian American” with respect to these avant-gardists, Clark attempts to reconstruct it. The Asian American Avant-Garde explores the ways in which these artists and writers responded to their racialization and the Orientalism that took place in modernist writing.
Social media provides ethno-racial immigrant groups—especially those who cannot vote due to factors such as lack of citizenship and limited English proficiency—the ability to mobilize and connect around collective issues. Online spaces and discussion forums have encouraged many Asian Americans to participate in public policy debates and take action on social justice issues. This form of digital group activism serves as an adaptive political empowerment strategy for the fastest-growing and largest foreign-born population in America. Asian American Connective Action in the Age of Social Media illuminates how associating online can facilitate and amplify traditional forms of political action.
James Lai provides diverse case studies on contentious topics ranging from affirmative action debates to textbook controversies to emphasize the complexities, limitations, and challenges of connective action that is relevant to all racial groups. Using a detailed multi-methods approach that includes national survey data and Twitter hashtag analysis, he shows how traditional immigrants, older participants, and younger generations create online consensus and mobilize offline to foment political change. In doing so, Lai provides a nuanced glimpse into the multiple ways connective action takes shape within the Asian American community.
Active for more than two decades, the Asian American movement began a middle-class reform effort to achieve racial equality, social justice, and political empowerment. In this first history and in-depth analysis of the Movement, William Wei traces to the late 1960s, the genesis of an Asian American identity, culture, and activism.
Wei analyzes the Asian American women's movement, the alternative press, Asian American involvement in electoral politics. Interviews with many key participants in the Movement and photographs of Asian American demonstrations and events enliven this portrayal of the Movement's development, breadth, and conflicts.
With different histories, cultures, languages, and identities, most Americans of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and Vietnamese origin are lumped together and viewed by other Americans simply as Asian Americans. Since the mid 1960s, however, these different Asian American groups have come together to promote and protect both their individual and their united interests. The first book to examine this particular subject, Asian American Panethnicity is a highly detailed case study of how, and with what success, diverse national-origin groups can come together as a new, enlarged panethnic group.
Yen Le Espiritu explores the construction of large-scale affiliations, in which previously unrelated groups submerge their differences and assume a common identity. Making use of extensive interviews and statistical data, she examines how Asian panethnicity protects the rights and interests of all Asian American groups, including those, like the Vietnamese and Cambodians, which are less powerful and prominent than the Chinese and Japanese. By citing specific examples—educational discrimination, legal redress, anti-Asian violence, the development of Asian American Studies programs, social services, and affirmative action—the author demonstrates how Asian Americans came to understand that only by cooperating with each other would they succeed in fighting the racism they all faced.
Asian Americans are a small percentage of the U.S. population, but their numbers are steadily rising—from less than a million in 1960 to more than 15 million today. They are also a remarkably diverse population—representing several ethnicities, religions, and languages—and they enjoy higher levels of education and income than any other U.S. racial group. Historically, socioeconomic status has been a reliable predictor of political behavior. So why has this fast-growing American population, which is doing so well economically, been so little engaged in the U.S. political system? Asian American Political Participation is the most comprehensive study to date of Asian American political behavior, including such key measures as voting, political donations, community organizing, and political protests. The book examines why some groups participate while others do not, why certain civic activities are deemed preferable to others, and why Asian socioeconomic advantage has so far not led to increased political clout. Asian American Political Participation is based on data from the authors’ groundbreaking 2008 National Asian American Survey of more than 5,000 Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, and Japanese Americans. The book shows that the motivations for and impediments to political participation are as diverse as the Asian American population. For example, native-born Asians have higher rates of political participation than their immigrant counterparts, particularly recent adult arrivals who were socialized outside of the United States. Protest activity is the exception, which tends to be higher among immigrants who maintain connections abroad and who engaged in such activity in their country of origin. Surprisingly, factors such as living in a new immigrant destination or in a city with an Asian American elected official do not seem to motivate political behavior—neither does ethnic group solidarity. Instead, hate crimes and racial victimization are the factors that most motivate Asian Americans to participate politically. Involvement in non-political activities such as civic and religious groups also bolsters political participation. Even among Asian groups, socioeconomic advantage does not necessarily translate into high levels of political participation. Chinese Americans, for example, have significantly higher levels of educational attainment than Japanese Americans, but Japanese Americans are far more likely to vote and make political contributions. And Vietnamese Americans, with the lowest levels of education and income, vote and engage in protest politics more than any other group. Lawmakers tend to favor the interests of groups who actively engage the political system, and groups who do not participate at high levels are likely to suffer political consequences in the future. Asian American Political Participation demonstrates that understanding Asian political behavior today can have significant repercussions for Asian American political influence tomorrow.
This anthology is the perfect introduction to Asian American studies, as it both defines the field across disciplines and illuminates the centrality of the experience of Americans of South Asian, East Asian, Southeast Asian, and Filipino ancestry to the study of American culture, history, politics, and society.
The reader is organized into two parts: "The Documented Past" and "Social Issues and Literature." Within these broad divisions, the subjects covered include Chinatown stories, nativist reactions, exclusionism, citizenship, immigration, community growth, Asia American ethnicities, racial discourse and the Civil Rights movement, transnationalism, gender, refugees, anti-Asian American violence, legal battles, class polarization, and many more.
Among the contributors are such noted scholars as Gary Okihiro, Michael Omi, Yen Le Espiritu, Lisa Lowe, and Ronald Takaki; writers such as Sui Sin Far, Bienvenido Santos, Sigrid Nunez, and R. Zamora Linmark, as well as younger, emerging scholars in the field.
Asian American Studies Now truly represents the enormous changes occurring in Asian American communities and the world, changes that require a reconsideration of how the interdisciplinary field of Asian American studies is defined and taught. This comprehensive anthology, arranged in four parts and featuring a stellar group of contributors, summarizes and defines the current shape of this rapidly changing field, addressing topics such as transnationalism, U.S. imperialism, multiracial identity, racism, immigration, citizenship, social justice, and pedagogy.
Jean Yu-wen Shen Wu and Thomas C. Chen have selected essays for the significance of their contribution to the field and their clarity, brevity, and accessibility to readers with little to no prior knowledge of Asian American studies. Featuring both reprints of seminal articles and groundbreaking texts, as well as bold new scholarship, Asian American Studies Now addresses the new circumstances, new communities, and new concerns that are reconstituting Asian America.
"This diverse collection, like Asian America itself, adds up to something far more vibrant than the sum of its voices."
-Eric Liu, author of The Accidental Asian
"There's fury, dignity, and self-awareness in these essays. I found the voices to be energetic and the ideas exciting."
-Diana Son, playwright (Stop Kiss) and co-producer (Law & Order: Criminal Intent)
This refreshing and timely collection of coming-of-age essays, edited and written by young Asian Americans, powerfully captures the joys and struggles of their evolving identities as one of the fastest-growing groups in the nation and poignantly depicts the many oft-conflicting ties they feel to both American and Asian cultures. The essays also highlight the vast cultural diversity within the category of Asian American, yet ultimately reveal how these young people are truly American in their ideals and dreams.
Asian American X is more than a book on identity; it is required reading both for young Asian Americans who seek to understand themselves and their social group, and for all who are interested in keeping abreast of the changing American social terrain.
Extending the understanding of race and ethnicity in the South beyond the prism of black-white relations, this interdisciplinary collection explores the growth, impact, and significance of rapidly growing Asian American populations in the American South. Avoiding the usual focus on the East and West Coasts, several essays attend to the nuanced ways in which Asian Americans negotiate the dominant black and white racial binary, while others provoke readers to reconsider the supposed cultural isolation of the region, reintroducing the South within a historical web of global networks across the Caribbean, Pacific, and Atlantic.
Contributors are Vivek Bald, Leslie Bow, Amy Brandzel, Daniel Bronstein, Jigna Desai, Jennifer Ho, Khyati Y. Joshi, ChangHwan Kim, Marguerite Nguyen, Purvi Shah, Arthur Sakamoto, Jasmine Tang, Isao Takei, and Roy Vu.
Eleanor Ty's bold exploration of literature, plays, and film reveals how young Asian Americans and Asian Canadians have struggled with the ethos of self-sacrifice preached by their parents. This new generation's narratives focus on protagonists disenchanted with their daily lives. Many are depressed. Some are haunted by childhood memories of war, trauma, and refugee camps. Rejecting an obsession with professional status and money, they seek fulfillment by prioritizing relationships, personal growth, and cultural success. As Ty shows, these storytellers have done more than reject a narrowly defined road to happiness. They have rejected neoliberal capitalism itself. In so doing, they demand that the rest of us reconsider our outmoded ideas about the so-called model minority.
In the first ever book devoted to a critical investigation of the personal style blogosphere, Minh-Ha T. Pham examines the phenomenal rise of elite Asian bloggers who have made a career of posting photographs of themselves wearing clothes on the Internet. Pham understands their online activities as “taste work” practices that generate myriad forms of capital for superbloggers and the brands they feature. A multifaceted and detailed analysis, Asians Wear Clothes on the Internet addresses questions concerning the status and meaning of “Asian taste” in the early twenty-first century, the kinds of cultural and economic work Asian tastes do, and the fashion public and industry’s appetite for certain kinds of racialized eliteness. Situating blogging within the historical context of gendered and racialized fashion work while being attentive to the broader cultural, technological, and economic shifts in global consumer capitalism, Asians Wear Clothes on the Internet has profound implications for understanding the changing and enduring dynamics of race, gender, and class in shaping some of the most popular work practices and spaces of the digital fashion media economy.