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
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
Between the early 1900s and the late 1950s, the attitudes of white Californians toward their Asian American neighbors evolved from outright hostility to relative acceptance. Charlotte Brooks examines this transformation through the lens of California’s urban housing markets, arguing that the perceived foreignness of Asian Americans, which initially stranded them in segregated areas, eventually facilitated their integration into neighborhoods that rejected other minorities.
Against the backdrop of cold war efforts to win Asian hearts and minds, whites who saw little difference between Asians and Asian Americans increasingly advocated the latter group’s access to middle-class life and the residential areas that went with it. But as they transformed Asian Americans into a “model minority,” whites purposefully ignored the long backstory of Chinese and Japanese Americans’ early and largely failed attempts to participate in public and private housing programs. As Brooks tells this multifaceted story, she draws on a broad range of sources in multiple languages, giving voice to an array of community leaders, journalists, activists, and homeowners—and insightfully conveying the complexity of racialized housing in a multiracial society.
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.
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 American plays provide an opportunity to think about how racial issues are engaged through theatrical performance physical contact, bodily labor, and fleshly desire as well as through the more standard elements of plot, setting, characterization, staging, music, and action.
Asian American Plays for a New Generation showcases seven exciting new plays that dramatize timely themes that are familiar to Asian Americans. The works variously address immigration, racism, stereotyping, identity, generational tensions, assimilation, and upward mobility as well as post-9/11 paranoia, racial isolation, and adoptee experiences.
Each of these works engages directly and actively with Asian American themes through performance to provide an important starting point for building relationships, raising political awareness, and creating active communities that can foster a sense of connection or even rally individuals to collective action.
This book is the first in English to consider women's movements and feminist discourses in twentieth-century Taiwan. Doris T. Chang examines the way in which Taiwanese women in the twentieth century selectively appropriated Western feminist theories to meet their needs in a modernizing Confucian culture. She illustrates the rise and fall of women's movements against the historical backdrop of the island's contested national identities, first vis-à-vis imperial Japan (1895-1945) and later with postwar China (1945-2000).
In particular, during periods of soft authoritarianism in the Japanese colonial era and late twentieth century, autonomous women's movements emerged and operated within the political perimeters set by the authoritarian regimes. Women strove to replace the "Good Wife, Wise Mother" ideal with an individualist feminism that meshed social, political, and economic gender equity with the prevailing Confucian family ideology. However, during periods of hard authoritarianism from the 1930s to the 1960s, the autonomous movements collapsed.
The particular brand of Taiwanese feminism developed from numerous outside influences, including interactions among an East Asian sociopolitical milieu, various strands of Western feminism, and Marxist-Leninist women's liberation programs in Soviet Russia. Chinese communism appears not to have played a significant role, due to the Chinese Nationalists' restriction of communication with the mainland during their rule on post-World War II Taiwan.
Notably, this study compares the perspectives of Madame Chiang Kai-shek, whose husband led as the president of the Republic of China on Taiwan from 1949 to 1975, and Hsiu-lien Annette Lu, Taiwan's vice president from 2000 to 2008. Delving into period sources such as the highly influential feminist monthly magazine Awakening as well as interviews with feminist leaders, Chang provides a comprehensive historical and cross-cultural analysis of the struggle for gender equality in Taiwan.
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.
Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States examines in comprehensive detail the most rapidly growing and quickly changing minority group in the United States. Once a small population, this group is now recognized by official census counts and by society as a diverse people, comprised of Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, Hawaiians, Samoans, and many other heritages. However, the conception that Asians are a single and successful model minority still exists, though they are in fact a complex and multidimensional people still struggling in the pursuit of the American dream. "...a major addition to the literature on recent immigration. The book is lucidly written by three demographers eager to convey their findings and analyses to general readers as well as to fellow professionals. It provides easily accessible information and useful commentary, making it an excellent resource for anyone interested in those groups now lumped together under a single Census Bureau rubric." —Choice "This is a demographer's delight....The major question addressed in this book is: How well are the new Asian immigrants adapting to American society? Barringer, Gardner, and Levin cogently argue and convincingly demonstrate that the response to the question is much more complex than suggested by articles in the popular press....an important book and highly recommended." —Contemporary Sociology "For the real scoop on the state of Asian America, turn to the Russell Sage Foundation's excellent Asians and Pacific Islanders of the United States. The best demographic overview, it makes a strong case for Asian-American success without overlooking genuine problems." —Reason "...a comprehensive study of the size, diversity, and complexity of the Asian and Pacific Islander populations based on the 1980 census and subsequent mid-census assessments prior to the 1990 census....sheds a particularly interesting light on the shifting nature of recent Asian and Pacific Islander immigration and the related but often undocumented secondary movement of populations after arrival." —The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series
Since the 1990s, young Asian Americans including Doo-Ri Chung, Derek Lam, Thakoon Panichgul, Alexander Wang, and Jason Wu have emerged as leading fashion designers. They have won prestigious awards, been chosen to head major clothing labels, and had their designs featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and other fashion magazines. At the same time that these designers were rising to prominence, the fashion world was embracing Asian chic. During the 1990s, “Asian” shapes, fabrics, iconography, and colors filled couture runways and mass-market clothing racks. In The Beautiful Generation, Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu explores the role of Asian American designers in New York’s fashion industry, paying particular attention to how they relate to the garment workers who produce their goods and to Asianness as a fashionable commodity. She draws on conversations with design students, fashion curators, and fashion publicists; interviews with nearly thirty Asian American designers who have their own labels; and time spent with those designers in their shops and studios, on their factory visits, and at their fashion shows. The Beautiful Generation links the rise of Asian American designers to historical patterns of immigration, racial formation, and globalized labor, and to familial and family-like connections between designers and garment workers.
A century of Asian American writing has generated a forceful cascade of "bold words." This anthology covers writings by Asian Americans in all genres, from the early twentieth century to the present. Some sixty authors of Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, South Asian, and Southeast Asian American origin are represented, with an equal split between male and female writers. The collection is divided into four sections-memoir, fiction, poetry, and drama-prefaced by an introductory essay from a well-known practitioner of that genre: Meena Alexander on memoir, Gary Pak on fiction, Eileen Tabios on poetry, and Roberta Uno on drama. The selections depict the complex realities and wide range of experiences of Asians in the United States. They illuminate the writers' creative responses to issues as diverse as resistance, aesthetics, biculturalism, sexuality, gender relations, racism, war, diaspora, and family. Rajini Srikanth teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She is the coeditor of the award-winning anthology Contours of the Heart: South Asians Map North America and the collection A Part, Yet Apart: South Asians in Asian America. Esther Y. Iwanaga teaches Asian American literature and literature-based writing courses at Wellesley College and the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Building Filipino Hawai'i
Roderick Labrador University of Illinois Press, 2015 Library of Congress E184.F4L33 2015 | Dewey Decimal 305.89921
Drawing on ten years of interviews and ethnographic and archival research, Roderick Labrador delves into the ways Filipinos in Hawai'i have balanced their pursuit of upward mobility and mainstream acceptance with a desire to keep their Filipino identity.
In particular, Labrador speaks to the processes of identity making and the politics of representation among immigrant communities striving to resist marginalization in a globalized, transnational era. Critiquing the popular image of Hawai'i as a postracial paradise, he reveals how Filipino immigrants talk about their relationships to the place(s) they left and the place(s) where they've settled, and how these discourses shape their identities. He also shows how the struggle for community empowerment, identity territorialization, and the process of placing and boundary making continue to affect how minority groups construct the stories they tell about themselves, to themselves and others.
But Still Like Air
edited by Velina Hasu Houston, foreword by Roberta Uno Temple University Press, 1997 Library of Congress PS628.A85B88 1997 | Dewey Decimal 812.54080895073
In this pathbreaking volume, Velina Hasu Houston gathers together eleven plays that speak in the "hybridized, unique American voices of Asian descent -- and often dissent." These writers resist the bigotry that attempts to target them solely as people of color as well as the homogenizing tendencies of a multiculturalism that fails to recognize the varied make-up of Asian America. Anthologized for the first time, these plays testify to the rich complexity of Asian American experience while they also demonstrate the different styles and thematic concerns of the individual playwrights.
What are Asian American plays about? Family conflicts, sexuality, social upheaval, betrayal ... the stuff of all drama. Whether the characters are a middle-aged Taiwanese woman who is married to an Irish American and who dreams of opening a Chinese restaurant, a Chinese American female bond trader trying to survive a corporate takeover, or an ABC (American Born Chinese) gay man whose lover has AIDS, their Asian-ness is only a part of their story.
As a playwright, Houston is keenly aware of the rigid formulas that often exclude writers of color and women women writers from mainstream theater. But Still, Like air, I'll Rise brings forth vibrant new work that challenges producers and audiences to broaden their expectations, to attend to the unfamiliar voices that expresses the universal and particular vision of Asian American playwrights.
In Chains of Babylon, Daryl J. Maeda presents a cultural history of Asian American activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s, showing how the movement created the category of "Asian American" to join Asians of many ethnicities in racial solidarity. Drawing on the Black Power and antiwar movements, Asian American radicals argued that all Asians in the United States should resist assimilation and band together to oppose racism within the country and imperialism abroad.
As revealed in Maeda's in-depth work, the Asian American movement contended that people of all Asian ethnicities in the United States shared a common relationship to oppression and exploitation with each other and with other nonwhite peoples. In the early stages of the civil rights era, the possibility of assimilation was held out to Asian Americans under a model minority myth. Maeda insists that it was only in the disruption of that myth for both African Americans and Asian Americans in the 1960s and 1970s that the full Asian American culture and movement he describes could emerge. Maeda challenges accounts of the post-1968 era as hopelessly divisive by examining how racial and cultural identity enabled Asian Americans to see eye-to-eye with and support other groups of color in their campaigns for social justice.
Asian American opposition to the war in Vietnam, unlike that of the broader antiwar movement, was predicated on understanding it as a racial, specifically anti-Asian genocide. Throughout he argues that cultural critiques of racism and imperialism, the twin "chains of Babylon" of the title, informed the construction of a multiethnic Asian American identity committed to interracial and transnational solidarity.
In Compositional Subjects Laura Hyun Yi Kang explores the ways that Asian/American women have been figured by mutually imbricated modes of identity formation, representation, and knowledge production. Kang’s project is simultaneously interdisciplinary scholarship at its best and a critique of the very disciplinary formations she draws upon. The book opens by tracking the jagged emergence of “Asian American women” as a distinct social identity over the past three decades. Kang then directs critical attention to how the attempts to compose them as discrete subjects of consciousness, visibility, and action demonstrate a broader, ongoing tension between socially particularized subjects and disciplinary knowledges. In addition to the shifting meanings and alignments of “Asian,” “American,” and “women,” the book examines the discourses, political and economic conditions, and institutional formations that have produced Asian/American women as generic authors, as visibly desirable and desiring bodies, as excludable aliens and admissible citizens of the United States, and as the proper labor for transnational capitalism. In analyzing how these enfigurations are constructed and apprehended through a range of modes including autobiography, cinematography, historiography, photography, and ethnography, Kang directs comparative attention to the very terms of their emergence as Asian/American women in specific disciplines. Finally, Kang concludes with a detailed examination of selected literary and visual works by Korean women artists located in the United States and Canada, works that creatively and critically contend with the problematics of identification and representation that are explored throughout the book. By underscoring the forceful and contentious struggles that animate all of these compositional gestures, Kang proffers Asian/American women as a vexing and productive figure for cultural, political and epistemological critique.
Once thought of in terms of geographically bounded spaces, Asian America has undergone profound changes as a result of post-1965 immigration as well as the growth and reshaping of established communities. This collection of original essays demonstrates that conventional notions of community, of ethnic enclaves determined by exclusion and ghettoization, now have limited use in explaining the dynamic processes of contemporary community formation.Writing from a variety of perspectives, these contributors expand the concept of community to include sites not necessarily bounded by space; formations around gender, class, sexuality, and generation reveal new processes as well as the demographic diversity of today's Asian American population. The case studies gathered here speak to the fluidity of these communities and to the need for new analytic approaches to account for the similarities and differences between them. Taken together, these essays forcefully argue that it is time to replace the outworn concept of a monolithic Asian America.
The definition of Asian American dance is as contested as the definition of "Asian American." The contributors to this volume address such topics as the role of the 1960s Asian American movement in creating Japanese American taiko groups, and the experience of internment during World War II influencing butoh dance in Canada. Essays about artists such as Jay Hirabayashi, Alvin Tolentino, Shen Wei, Kun-Yang Lin, Yasuko Yokoshi, Eiko & Koma, Sam Kim, Roko Kawai, and Denise Uyehara look closely at the politics of how Asian aesthetics are set into motion and marketed. The volume includes first-person narratives, interviews, ethnography, cultural studies, performance studies, and comparative ethnic studies.
Martin Manalansan Temple University Press, 2000 Library of Congress E184.O6C85 2000 | Dewey Decimal 305.895073
Cultural Compass re-writes the space of Asian Americans. Through innovative studies of community politics, gender, family and sexual relations, cultural events, and other sites central to the formation of ethnic and citizen identity, contributors reconfigure ethnography according to Asian American experiences in the United States. In these eleven essays, scholars in anthropology, sociology, ethnic studies, and Asian American studies reconsider traditional models for ethnographic research.
Drawing upon recent theoretical discussions and methodological innovations, the contributors explore the construction and displacement of self, community, and home integral to Asian American cultural journeys in the late twentieth century. Some discuss the unique situation of doing ethnographic work "at home" -- that is researching one's own ethnic group or another group with Asian America. Others draw on rich and diverse field experiences. Whether they are doing homework or fieldwork, contributors reflect on the ways that particular matters of identity -- gender, class, sexuality, ethnicity, age -- play out between researchers and informants. Individual essays and the book as a whole challenge the notion of a monolithic, spatially bounded Asian American community, pointing the way to multiple sites of political struggle, cultural critique, and social change.
In the past fifty years, according to Christine So, the narratives of many popular Asian American books have been dominated by economic questions-what money can buy, how money is lost, how money is circulated, and what labor or objects are worth. Focusing on books that have achieved mainstream popularity, Economic Citizens unveils the logic of economic exchange that determined Asian Americans’ transnational migrations and national belonging.
With penetrating insight, So examines literary works that have been successful in the U.S. marketplace but have been read previously by critics largely as narratives of alienation or assimilation, including Fifth Chinese Daughter, Flower Drum Song, Falling Leaves and Turning Japanese. In contrast to other studies that have focused on the marginalization of Asian Americans, Economic Citizens examines how Asian Americans have entered into the public sphere.
Ends of Empire examines Asian American cultural production and its challenge to the dominant understanding of American imperialism, Cold War dynamics, and race and gender formation.
Jodi Kim demonstrates the degree to which Asian American literature and film critique the record of U.S. imperial violence in Asia and provides a glimpse into the imperial and gendered racial logic of the Cold War. She unfolds this particularly entangled and enduring episode in the history of U.S. global hegemony—one that, contrary to leading interpretations of the Cold War as a simple bipolar rivalry, was significantly triangulated in Asia.
The Asian American works analyzed here constitute a crucial body of what Kim reveals as transnational “Cold War compositions,” which are at once a geopolitical structuring, an ideological writing, and a cultural imagining. Arguing that these works reframe the U.S. Cold War as a project of gendered racial formation and imperialism as well as a production of knowledge, Ends of Empire offers an interdisciplinary investigation into the transnational dimensions of Asian America and its critical relationship to Cold War history.
Traditional accounts of Colorado's history often reflect an Anglocentric perspective that begins with the 1859 Pikes Peak Gold Rush and Colorado's establishment as a state in 1876. Enduring Legacies expands the study of Colorado's past and present by adopting a borderlands perspective that emphasizes the multiplicity of peoples who have inhabited this region.
Addressing the dearth of scholarship on the varied communities within Colorado-a zone in which collisions structured by forces of race, nation, class, gender, and sexuality inevitably lead to the transformation of cultures and the emergence of new identities-this volume is the first to bring together comparative scholarship on historical and contemporary issues that span groups from Chicanas and Chicanos to African Americans to Asian Americans.
This book will be relevant to students, academics, and general readers interested in Colorado history and ethnic studies.
Poetry by Asian American writers has had a significant impact on the landscape of contemporary American poetry, and a book-length critical treatment of Asian American poetry is long overdue. In this groundbreaking book, Xiaojing Zhou demonstrates how many Asian American poets transform the conventional “I” of lyric poetry—based on the traditional Western concept of the self and the Cartesian “I”—to enact a more ethical relationship between the “I” and its others.
Drawing on Emmanuel Levinas’s idea of the ethics of alterity—which argues that an ethical relation to the other is one that acknowledges the irreducibility of otherness—Zhou offers a reconceptualization of both self and other. Taking difference as a source of creativity and turning it into a form of resistance and a critical intervention, Asian American poets engage with broader issues than the merely poetic. They confront social injustice against the other and call critical attention to a concept of otherness which differs fundamentally from that underlying racism, sexism, and colonialism. By locating the ethical and political questions of otherness in language, discourse, aesthetics, and everyday encounters, Asian American poets help advance critical studies in race, gender, and popular culture as well as in poetry.
The Ethics and Poetics of Alterity is not limited, however, to literary studies: it is an invaluable response to the questions raised by increasingly globalized encounters across many kinds of boundaries.
Marilyn Chin, Kimiko Hahn, Myung Mi Kim, Li Young Lee, Timothy Liu, David Mura, and John Yau
Religion—both personal faith and institutional tradition—plays a central role in the lives of the 12.5 million Asians in the United States. It provides comfort and meaning, shapes ethical and political beliefs, and influences culture and arts. Faithful Generations details the significance of religion in the construction of Asian American identity. As an institutional base for the movement toward Asian American panethnicity, churches provide a space for theological and political reflection and ethnic reinvention.
With rich description and insightful interviews, Russell Jeung uncovers why and how Chinese and Japanese American Christians are building new, pan-Asian organizations. Detailed surveys of over fifty Chinese and Japanese American congregations in the San Francisco Bay area show how symbolic racial identities structure Asian American congregations. Evangelical ministers differ from mainline Christian ministers in their construction of Asian American identity. Mobilizing around these distinct identities, evangelicals and mainline Christians have developed unique pan-Asian styles of worship, ministries, and church activities. Portraits of two churches further illustrate how symbolic racial identities affect congregational life and ministries. The book concludes with a look at Asian American–led multiethnic churches.
This engaging study of the shifting relationship between religion and ethnicity is an ideal text for classes in ethnicity, religion, and Asian American studies.
In sharp contrast to the “melting pot” reputation of the United States, the American South—with its history of slavery, Jim Crow, and the civil rights movement—has been perceived in stark and simplistic demographic terms. In Far East, Down South, editors Raymond A. Mohl, John E. Van Sant, and Chizuru Saeki provide a collection of essential essays that restores and explores an overlooked part of the South’s story—that of Asian immigration to the region.
These essays form a comprehensive overview of key episodes and issues in the history of Asian immigrants to the South. During Reconstruction, southern entrepreneurs experimented with the replacement of slave labor with Chinese workers. As in the West, Chinese laborers played a role in the development of railroads. Japanese farmers also played a more widespread role than is usually believed. Filipino sailors recruited by the US Navy in the early decades of the twentieth century often settled with their families in the vicinity of naval ports such as Corpus Christi, Biloxi, and Pensacola. Internment camps brought Japanese Americans to Arkansas. Marriages between American servicemen and Japanese, Korean, Filipina, Vietnamese, and nationals in other theaters of war created many thousands of blended families in the South. In recent decades, the South is the destination of internal immigration as Asian Americans spread out from immigrant enclaves in West Coast and Northeast urban areas.
Taken together, the book’s essays document numerous fascinating themes: the historic presence of Asians in the South dating back to the mid-nineteenth century; the sources of numerous waves of contemporary Asian immigration to the South; and the steady spread of Asians out from the coastal port cities. Far East, Down South adds a vital new dimension to popular understanding of southern history.
In The Feeling of Kinship, David L. Eng investigates the emergence of “queer liberalism”—the empowerment of certain gays and lesbians in the United States, economically through an increasingly visible and mass-mediated queer consumer lifestyle, and politically through the legal protection of rights to privacy and intimacy. Eng argues that in our “colorblind” age the emergence of queer liberalism is a particular incarnation of liberal freedom and progress, one constituted by both the racialization of intimacy and the forgetting of race. Through a startling reading of Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark legal decision overturning Texas’s antisodomy statute, Eng reveals how the ghosts of miscegenation haunt both Lawrence and the advent of queer liberalism.
Eng develops the concept of “queer diasporas” as a critical response to queer liberalism. A methodology drawing attention to new forms of family and kinship, accounts of subjects and subjectivities, and relations of affect and desire, the concept differs from the traditional notions of diaspora, theories of the nation-state, and principles of neoliberal capitalism upon which queer liberalism thrives. Eng analyzes films, documentaries, and literature by Asian and Asian American artists including Wong Kar-wai, Monique Truong, Deann Borshay Liem, and Rea Tajiri, as well as a psychoanalytic case history of a transnational adoptee from Korea. In so doing, he demonstrates how queer Asian migrant labor, transnational adoption from Asia, and the political and psychic legacies of Japanese internment underwrite narratives of racial forgetting and queer freedom in the present. A focus on queer diasporas also highlights the need for a poststructuralist account of family and kinship, one offering psychic alternatives to Oedipal paradigms. The Feeling of Kinship makes a major contribution to American studies, Asian American studies, diaspora studies, psychoanalysis, and queer theory.
From the early 1900s, liberal Protestants grafted social welfare work onto spiritual concerns on both sides of the Pacific. Their goal: to forge links between whites and Asians that countered anti-Asian discrimination in the United States. Their test: uprooting racial hatreds that, despite their efforts, led to the shameful incarceration of Japanese Americans in World War II. Sarah M. Griffith draws on the experiences of liberal Protestants, and the Young Men's Christian Association in particular, to reveal the intellectual, social, and political forces that powered this movement. Engaging a wealth of unexplored primary and secondary sources, Griffith explores how YMCA leaders and their partners in the academy and distinct Asian American communities labored to mitigate racism. The alliance's early work, based in mainstream ideas of assimilation and integration, ran aground on the Japanese exclusion law of 1924. Yet their vision of Christian internationalism and interracial cooperation maintained through the World War II internment trauma. As Griffith shows, liberal Protestants emerged from that dark time with a reenergized campaign to reshape Asian-white relations in the postwar era.
What does it mean to be an Asian-American in the United States today? Are Asian-Americans considered "honorary whites" or forever thought of as "foreigners?"
Mia Tuan examines the salience and meaning of ethnicity for later generation Chinese- and Japanese-Americans, and asks how their concepts of ethnicity differ from that of white ethnic Americans. She interviewed 95 middle-class Chinese and Japanese Californians and analyzes the importance of ethnic identities and the concept of becoming a "real" American for both Asian and white ethnics. She asks her subjects about their early memories and experiences with Chinese/Japanese culture; current lifestyle and emerging cultural practices; experiences with racism and discrimination; and attitudes toward current Asian immigration.
"Somehow, Kwong has held onto his sense of childlike wonder about the cosmos, and that awe informs his free-wheeling and uproarious performance."
"He weaves striking, multi-focus stage pictures around simple monologues about his Chinese and Japanese grandfathers, ironic accounts of his own childhood, and litanies of the trials facing Asian American males."
"Saturated with high-spirited enthusiasm . . . a refreshingly forthright approach to his often dark material."
"Kwong's humor is warm and loving . . . it stems from a delightfully twisted taste for the absurdity of human behavior. . . . Be prepared to laugh, to be moved, and to fall in love with a performer."
Dan Kwong's performances delve into the complexities of growing up as a working-class Chinese-Japanese-American male in L.A., land of Hollywood and Disney. Kwong's remarkable performances, a potent array of multimedia effects and athletic physicalization, investigate questions of identity and the intersecting effects of race, culture, class, gender, and sexuality. From Inner Worlds to Outer Space brings together Kwong's scripts with illuminating commentary by critic Robert Vorlicky. The book includes interviews that reveal Kwong's personal and artistic influences, his evolution as an artist, and his philosophical and technical approach to art-making.
“What did it mean to be a ‘half caste’ in early twentieth-century North America? Winnifred Eaton lived that experience and, as Onoto Watanna, she wrote about it. This collection of her short works--some newly discovered, others long awaited by scholars--ranges from breathless magazine romance to story melodrama and provides a riveting introduction to a unique literary personality.” -- Diana Birchall, author of Onoto Watanna: The Story of Winnifred Eaton
Onoto Watanna (1875-1954) was born Winnifred Eaton, the daughter of a British father and a Chinese mother. The first novelist of Chinese descent to be published in the United States, she “became” Japanese to escape Americans’ scorn of the Chinese and to capitalize on their fascination with things Japanese. The earliest essay here, “A Half Caste,” appeared in 1898, a year before Miss Numé: A Japanese-American Romance, the first of her best-selling novels. The last story, “Elspeth,” appeared in 1923.
Of Watanna’s numerous shorter works, this volume includes nineteen--thirteen stories and six essays -- intended to show the scope and versatility of her writing. While some of Watanna’s fictional characters will remind today’s readers of the delicate but tragic Madame Butterfly, others foreshadow such types as the trickster in Maxine Hong Kingston’s Tripmaster Monkey (a novel in which Onoto Watanna makes a cameo appearance). Watanna’s characters are always capable, clever, and inventive--molded in the author’s own image.
On February 12, 1965, in the Audubon Ballroom, Yuri Kochiyama cradled Malcolm X in her arms as he died, but her role as a public servant and activist began much earlier than this pivotal public moment. Heartbeat of Struggle is the first biography of this courageous woman, the most prominent Asian American activist to emerge during the 1960s. Based on extensive archival research and interviews with Kochiyama's family, friends, and the subject herself, Diane C. Fujino traces Kochiyama's life from an "all-American" childhood to her achievements as a tireless defender of - and fighter for - human rights. Raised by a Japanese immigrant family in California during the 1920s and 1930s, Kochiyama was active in sports, school, and church. She was both unquestioningly patriotic and largely unconscious of race and racism in the United States. After Pearl Harbor, however, Kochiyama's family was among the thousands of Japanese Americans forcibly removed to internment camps for the duration of the war, a traumatic experience that opened her eyes to the existence of social injustice. After the war, Kochiyama moved to New York. It was in the context of the vibrant Black movement in Harlem in the 1960s that she began her activist career. There, she met Malcolm X, who inspired her radical political development and the ensuing four decades of incessant work for Black liberation, Asian American equality, Puerto Rican independence, and political prisoner defense. Kochiyama is widely respected for her work in forging unity among diverse communities, especially between Asian and African Americans. Fujino, a scholar and activist, offers an in-depth examination of Kochiyama's political awakening, rich life, and impressive achievements with particular attention to how her public role so often defied gender, racial, and cultural norms. Heartbeat of Struggle is a source of inspiration and guidance for anyone committed to social change.
Imagine Otherwise is an incisive critique of the field of Asian American studies. Recognizing that the rubric "Asian American" elides crucial differences, Kandice Chuh argues for reframing Asian American studies as a study defined not by its subjects and objects, but by its critique. Toward that end, she urges the foregrounding of the constructedness of "Asian American" formations and shows how this understanding of the field provides the basis for continuing to use the term "Asian American" in light of—and in spite of—contemporary critiques about its limitations.
Drawing on the insights of poststructuralist theory, postcolonial studies, and investigations of transnationalism, Imagine Otherwise conceives of Asian American literature and U.S. legal discourse as theoretical texts to be examined for the normative claims about race, gender, and sexuality that they put forth. Reading government and legal documents, novels including Carlos Bulosan's America Is in the Heart, John Okada's No-No Boy, Chang-rae Lee's A Gesture Life, Ronyoung Kim's Clay Walls, and Lois Ann Yamanaka's Blu's Hanging, and the short stories "Immigration Blues" by Bienvenido Santos and "High-Heeled Shoes" by Hisaye Yamamoto, Chuh works through Filipino American and Korean American identity formation and Japanese American internment during World War II as she negotiates the complex and sometimes tense differences that constitute 'Asian America' and Asian American studies.
In Immigrant Acts, Lisa Lowe argues that understanding Asian immigration to the United States is fundamental to understanding the racialized economic and political foundations of the nation. Lowe discusses the contradictions whereby Asians have been included in the workplaces and markets of the U.S. nation-state, yet, through exclusion laws and bars from citizenship, have been distanced from the terrain of national culture. Lowe argues that a national memory haunts the conception of Asian American, persisting beyond the repeal of individual laws and sustained by U.S. wars in Asia, in which the Asian is seen as the perpetual immigrant, as the “foreigner-within.” In Immigrant Acts, she argues that rather than attesting to the absorption of cultural difference into the universality of the national political sphere, the Asian immigrant—at odds with the cultural, racial, and linguistic forms of the nation—displaces the temporality of assimilation. Distance from the American national culture constitutes Asian American culture as an alternative site that produces cultural forms materially and aesthetically in contradiction with the institutions of citizenship and national identity. Rather than a sign of a “failed” integration of Asians into the American cultural sphere, this critique preserves and opens up different possibilities for political practice and coalition across racial and national borders. In this uniquely interdisciplinary study, Lowe examines the historical, political, cultural, and aesthetic meanings of immigration in relation to Asian Americans. Extending the range of Asian American critique, Immigrant Acts will interest readers concerned with race and ethnicity in the United States, American cultures, immigration, and transnationalism.
The first Korean adoptees were powerful symbols of American superiority in the Cold War; as Korean adoption continued, adoptees' visibility as Asians faded as they became a geopolitical success story—all-American children in loving white families. In Invisible Asians, Kim Park Nelson analyzes the processes by which Korean American adoptees’ have been rendered racially invisible, and how that invisibility facilitates their treatment as exceptional subjects within the context of American race relations and in government policies.
Invisible Asians draws on the life stories of more than sixty adult Korean adoptees in three locations: Minnesota, home to the largest concentration of Korean adoptees in the United States; the Pacific Northwest, where many of the first Korean adoptees were raised; and Seoul, home to hundreds of adult adoptees who have returned to South Korea to live and work. Their experiences underpin a critical examination of research and policy making about transnational adoption from the 1950s to the present day.
Park Nelson connects the invisibility of Korean adoptees to the ambiguous racial positioning of Asian Americans in American culture, and explores the implications of invisibility for Korean adoptees as they navigate race, culture, and nationality. Raised in white families, they are ideal racial subjects in support of the trope of “colorblindness” as a “cure for racism” in America, and continue to enjoy the most privileged legal status in terms of immigration and naturalization of any immigrant group, built on regulations created specifically to facilitate the transfer of foreign children to American families.
Invisible Asians offers an engaging account that makes an important contribution to our understanding of race in America, and illuminates issues of power and identity in a globalized world.
Literary Gestures: The Aesthetic in Asian American Writing contests the dominance of materialist and cultural critiques in Asian American literary discourse by re-centering critical attention around issues of aesthetics and literary form. Collapsing the perceived divisions between the "ethnic" and the "aesthetic" in Asian American literary criticism, the eleven original essays in this volume provide theoretically sophisticated and formally sensitive readings of works in prose, poetry, and drama. These contributions bring discussions of genre, canonicity, narrative, and literary value to the fore to show how aesthetic and formal concerns play an important part in the production and consumption of these works. By calling for a more balanced mode of criticism, this collection invites students and scholars to reinvest in the literary, not as a negation of the sociopolitical, but as a complementary strategy in reading and understanding Asian American literature.
Asian Americans are widely believed to be passive and compliant participants in the U.S. political process—if they participate at all. In this ground-breaking book, Pei-te Lien maps the actions and strategies of Asian Americans as they negotiate a space in the American political arena.
Professor Lien looks at political participation by Asian Americans prior to 1965 and then examines, at both organizational and mass politics levels, how race, ethnicity, and transnationalism help to construct a complex American electorate. She looks not only at rates of participation among Asian Americans as compared with blacks, Latinos, American Indians, and non-Hispanic whites, but also among specific groups of Asian Americans—Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Koreans, Asian Indians, and Vietnamese. She also discusses how gender, socioeconomic class, and place of birth affect political participation.
With documentation ranging from historical narrative to opinion survey data, Professor Lien creates a picture of a diverse group of politically active people who are intent on carving out a place for themselves in American political life.
An attempt to put an Asian woman on Canada's $100 bill in 2012 unleashed enormous controversy. The racism and xenophobia that answered this symbolic move toward inclusiveness revealed the nation's trumpeted commitment to multiculturalism as a lie. It also showed how multiple minor publics as well as the dominant public responded to the ongoing issue of race in Canada. In this new study, Christine Kim delves into the ways cultural conversations minimize race's relevance even as violent expressions and structural forms of racism continue to occur. Kim turns to literary texts, artistic works, and media debates to highlight the struggles of minor publics with social intimacy. Her insightful engagement with everyday conversations as well as artistic expressions that invoke the figure of the Asian allows Kim to reveal the affective dimensions of racialized publics. It also extends ongoing critical conversations within Asian Canadian and Asian American studies about Orientalism, diasporic memory, racialized citizenship, and migration and human rights.
Through a blend of personal narrative, cultural and literary analysis, and discussions about teaching, Minor Re/Visions: Asian American Literacy Narratives as a Rhetoric of Citizenship shows how people of color use reading and writing to develop and articulate notions of citizenship. Morris Young begins with a narration of his own literacy experiences to illustrate the complicated relationship among literacy, race, and citizenship and to reveal the tensions that exist between competing beliefs and uses of literacy among those who are part of dominant American culture and those who are positioned as minorities.
Influenced by the literacy narratives of other writers of color, Young theorizes an Asian American rhetoric by examining the rhetorical construction of American citizenship in works such as Richard Rodriguez’s Hunger of Memory, Victor Villanueva’s Bootstraps: From an American Academic of Color, Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart, and Maxine Hong Kingston’s “Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe” from Woman Warrior. These narratives, Young shows, tell stories of transformation through education, the acquisition of literacy, and cultural assimilation and resistance. They also offer an important revision to the American story by inserting the minor and creating a tension amid dominant discourses about literacy, race, and citizenship. Through a consideration of the literacy narratives of Hawai`i, Young also provides a context for reading literacy narratives as responses to racism, linguistic discrimination, and attempts at “othering” in a particular region.
As we are faced with dominant discourses that construct race and citizenship in problematic ways and as official institutions become even more powerful and prevalent in silencing minor voices, Minor Re/Visions reveals the critical need for revising minority and dominant discourses. Young’s observations and conclusions have important implications for the ways rhetoricians and compositionists read, teach, and assign literacy narratives.
Navigating deftly among historical and literary readings, Cathy Schlund-Vials examines the analogous yet divergent experiences of Asian Americans and Jewish Americans in Modeling Citizenship. She investigates how these model minority groups are shaped by the shifting terrain of naturalization law and immigration policy, using the lens of naturalization, not assimilation, to underscore questions of nation-state affiliation and sense of belonging.
Modeling Citizenship examines fiction, memoir, and drama to reflect on how the logic of naturalization has operated at discrete moments in the twentieth century. Each chapter focuses on two exemplary literary works. For example, Schlund-Vials shows how Mary Antin's Jewish-themed play The Promised Land is reworked into a more contemporary Chinese American context in Gish Jen's Mona in the Promised Land.
In her compelling analysis, Schlund-Vials amplifies the structural, cultural, and historical significance of these works and the themes they address.
Victor Bascara University of Minnesota Press, 2006 Library of Congress E184.A75B37 2006 | Dewey Decimal 303.48273050904
At the beginning of the twentieth century, soon after the conclusion of the Spanish-American War, the United States was an imperialistic nation, maintaining (often with the assistance of military force) a far-flung and growing empire. After a long period of collective national amnesia regarding American colonialism, in the Philippines and elsewhere, scholars have resurrected the power of “empire” as a way of revealing American history and culture. Focusing on the terms of Asian American assimilation and the rise of the model-minority myth, Victor Bascara examines the resurgence of empire as a tool for acknowledging—and understanding—the legacy of American imperialism. Model-Minority Imperialism links geopolitical dramas of twentieth-century empire building with domestic controversies of U.S. racial order by examining the cultural politics of Asian Americans as they are revealed in fiction, film, and theatrical productions. Tracing U.S. economic and political hegemony back to the beginning of the twentieth century through works by Jessica Hagedorn, R. Zamora Linmark, and Sui Sin Far; discourses of race, economics, and empire found in the speeches of William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan; as well as L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and other texts, Bascara’s innovative readings uncover the repressed story of U.S. imperialism and unearth the demand that the present empire reckon with its past. Bascara deploys the analytical approaches of both postcolonial studies and Asian American studies, two fields that developed in parallel but have only begun to converge, to reveal how the vocabulary of empire reasserted itself through some of the very people who inspired the U.S imperialist mission.Victor Bascara is assistant professor of English and Asian American studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
The first major study of Asian American representation on U.S. television.
Early in the movement of Asian labor to the United States, immigrants from the Far East were viewed by the dominant Euro-American society as a peril to a white, Christian nation. How far have we come since then? This first comprehensive study of Asian American representation on network television supplies some unsettling answers.
A meticulous work of history, cultural criticism, and political analysis, Monitored Peril illuminates the unstable relationship between the discursive practices of commercial television programs, liberal democratic values, and white supremacist ideology. The book clearly demonstrates the pervasiveness of racialized discourse throughout U.S. society, especially as it is reproduced by network television.
In treating his topic, Darrell Hamamoto addresses a wide variety of issues facing diverse Asian American communities: interracial conflict, conservative politics, U.S.-Japan trade friction, and postcolonial Vietnam. Through an examination of selected programs from the 1950s to the present, he attempts to correct the consistently distorted optic of network television. Finally, he calls for an engaged independent Asian American media practice, and for the expansion of public sector television.
"Darrell Y. Hamamoto's critical and scholarly examination of Asians in television media serves as a stimulating and timely discourse on the state of Asian America within the strict boundaries known as American network television. Hamamoto presents a sophisticated solution to the problem of cultural misappropriation and false representation of Americans of Asian descent." --Pacific Reader
"Darrell Y. Hamamoto makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of race, representation, and power with this comprehensive study of television programs about Asians and Asian Americans in the United States." --Journal of Asian American Studies
Selected as a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Book
Darrell Y. Hamamoto is a lecturer in the program of comparative culture at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of Nervous Laughter: Television Situation Comedy and Liberal Democratic Ideology (1991).
Musicians of Asian descent enjoy unprecedented prominence in concert halls, conservatories, and classical music performance competitions. In the first book on the subject, Mari Yoshihara looks into the reasons for this phenomenon, starting with her own experience of learning to play piano in Japan at the age of three. Yoshihara shows how a confluence of culture, politics and commerce after the war made classical music a staple in middle-class households, established Yamaha as the world's largest producer of pianos and gave the Suzuki method of music training an international clientele. Soon, talented musicians from Japan, China and South Korea were flocking to the United States to study and establish careers, and Asian American families were enrolling toddlers in music classes.
Against this historical backdrop, Yoshihara interviews Asian and Asian American musicians, such as Cho-Liang Lin, Margaret Leng Tan, Kent Nagano, who have taken various routes into classical music careers. They offer their views about the connections of race and culture and discuss whether the music is really as universal as many claim it to be. Their personal histories and Yoshihara's observations present a snapshot of today's dynamic and revived classical music scene.
National Abjection explores the vexed relationship between "Asian Americanness" and "Americanness” through a focus on drama and performance art. Karen Shimakawa argues that the forms of Asian Americanness that appear in U.S. culture are a function of national abjection—a process that demands that Americanness be defined by the exclusion of Asian Americans, who are either cast as symbolic foreigners incapable of integration or Americanization or distorted into an “honorary” whiteness. She examines how Asian Americans become culturally visible on and off stage, revealing the ways Asian American theater companies and artists respond to the cultural implications of this abjection.
Shimakawa looks at the origins of Asian American theater, particularly through the memories of some of its pioneers. Her examination of the emergence of Asian American theater companies illuminates their strategies for countering the stereotypes of Asian Americans and the lack of visibility of Asian American performers within the theater world. She shows how some plays—Wakako Yamauchi’s 12-1-A, Frank Chin’s Chickencoop Chinaman, and The Year of the Dragon—have both directly and indirectly addressed the displacement of Asian Americans. She analyzes works attempting to negate the process of abjection—such as the 1988 Broadway production of M. Butterfly as well as Miss Saigon, a mainstream production that enacted the process of cultural displacement both onstage and off. Finally, Shimakawa considers Asian Americanness in the context of globalization by meditating on the work of Ping Chong, particularly his East-West Quartet.
Between 1870 and 1942, successive generations of Asians and Asian Americans—predominantly Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino—formed the predominant body of workers in the Pacific Coast canned-salmon industry.
This study traces the shifts in the ethnic and gender composition of the cannery labor market from its origins through it decline and examines the workers' creation of work cultures and social communities. Resisting the label of cheap laborer, these Asian American workers established formal and informal codes of workplace behavior, negotiated with contractors and recruiters, and formed alliances to organize the workforce.
Whether he is discussing Japanese women workers' sharing of child-care responsibilities or the role of Filipino workers in establishing the Cannery and Field Workers Union, Chris Friday portrays Asian and Asian American workers as people who, while enduring oppressive restrictions, continually attempted to shape their own lives.
In the series Asian American History and Culture, edited by Sucheng Chan, David Palumbo-Liu, Michael Omi, K. Scott Wong, and Linda Trinh Võ.
Robert Lee Temple University Press, 1999 Library of Congress E184.O6L48 1998 | Dewey Decimal 305.895073
Sooner or later every Asian American must deal with the question, "Where do you come from?" It is probably the most familiar is least aggressive form of racism. It is a tip off to the persistent notion that people of Asian ancestry are not real Americans, that "Orientals" never really stop being loyal to a foreign homeland, no matter how long they or their family have been in this country. Confronting the cultural stereotypes that have been attached to Asian Americans over the last 150 years, Robert G. Lee seizes the label "Oriental" and asks where it came from.
Asian and Asian American studies emerged, respectively, from Cold War and social protest ideologies. Yet, in the context of contemporary globalization, can these ideological distinctions remain in place? Suggesting new directions for studies of the Asian diaspora, the prominent scholars who contribute to this volume raise important questions about the genealogies of these fields, their mutual imbrication, and their relationship to other disciplinary formations, including American and ethnic studies. With its recurrent themes of transnationalism, globalization, and postcoloniality, Orientations considers various embodiments of the Asian diaspora, including a rumination on minority discourses and performance studies, and a historical look at the journal Amerasia. Exploring the translation of knowledge from one community to another, other contributions consider such issues as Filipino immigrants’ strategies for enacting Asian American subjectivity and the link between area studies and the journal Subaltern Studies. In a section that focuses on how disciplines—or borders—form, one essay discusses “orientalist melancholy,” while another focuses on the construction of the Asian American persona during the Cold War. Other topics in the volume include the role Asian immigrants play in U.S. racial politics, Japanese American identity in postwar Japan, Asian American theater, and the effects of Asian and Asian American studies on constructions of American identity.
Contributors. Dipesh Chakrabarty, Kuan-Hsing Chen, Rey Chow, Kandice Chuh, Sharon Hom, Yoshikuni Igarashi, Dorinne Kondo, Russell Leong, George Lipsitz, Lisa Lowe, Martin F. Manalansan IV, David Palumbo-Liu, R. Radhakrishnan, Karen Shimakawa, Sau-ling C. Wong
At a time when Asian American theater is enjoying a measure of growth and success, Josephine Lee tells us about the complex social and political issues depicted by Asian American playwrights. By looking at performances and dramatic texts, Lee argues that playwrights produce a different conception of "Asian America" in accordance with their unique set of sensibilities.
For instance, some Asian American playwrights critique the separation of issues of race and ethnicity from those of economics and class, or they see ethnic identity as a voluntary choice of lifestyle rather than an impetus for concerted political action. Others deal with the problem of cultural stereotypes and how to reappropriate their power. Lee is attuned to the complexities and contradictions of such performances, and her trenchant thinking about the criticisms lobbed at Asian American playwrights -- for their choices in form, perpetuation of stereotype, or apparent sexism or homophobia -- leads her to question how the presentation of Asian American identity in the theater parallels problems and possibilities of identity offstage as well.
Discussed are better-known plays such as Frank Chin's The Chickencoop Chinaman, David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly, and Velina Hasu Houston's Tea, and new works like Jeannie Barroga's Walls and Wakako Yamauchi's 12-1-a.
The Politics Of Life
edited by Velina Hasu Houston Temple University Press, 1993 Library of Congress PS628.A85P65 1993 | Dewey Decimal 812.540809287
This anthology of work by three Asian American women playwrights—Wakako Yamauchi, Genny Lim, and Velina Hasu Houston—features pioneering contemporary writers who have made their mark in regional and ethnic theatres throughout the United States. In her introduction, Houston observes that the Asian American woman playwright is compelled "to mine her soul" and express the angst, fear, and rage that oppression has wrought while maintaining her relationship with America as a good citizen.
The plays are rich with cultural and political substance and have a feminist concern about women's spirit, intellect, and lives. They portray Asian and Asian American women who challenge the cultural and sexual stereotypes of the Asian female. Yamauchi's two plays deal with how easily a country can dishonor its citizens. In "12-1-A," a Japanese American family is incarcerated during World War II in an Arizona camp where Yamauchi herself was interned. "The Chairman's Wife" dramatizes the life of Madame Mao Tse Tung through the lens of events at Tien An Men Square in 1989. Lim's "Bitter Cane" is about the exploitation of Chinese laborers who were recruited to work the Hawaiian sugar cane plantations. In "Asa Ga Kimashita" ("Morning Has Broken"), Houston explores a Japanese woman's interracial romance in postwar Japan and the influence of traditional patriarchy on the lives of Japanese women.
These plays will entertain and enlighten, enrage and profoundly move audiences. With honesty, imagination and courage, each grapples with the politics of life.
In the series Asian American History and Culture, edited by Sucheng Chan, David Palumbo-Liu, Michael Omi, K. Scott Wong, and Linda Trinh Võ.
Histories of civil rights movements in America generally place little or no emphasis on the activism of Asian Americans. Yet, as this fascinating new study reveals, there is a long and distinctive legacy of civil rights activism among foreign and American-born Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino students, who formed crucial alliances based on their shared religious affiliations and experiences of discrimination.
Stephanie Hinnershitz tells the story of the Asian American campus organizations that flourished on the West Coast from the 1900s through the 1960s. Using their faith to point out the hypocrisy of fellow American Protestants who supported segregation and discriminatory practices, the student activists in these groups also performed vital outreach to communities outside the university, from Californian farms to Alaskan canneries. Highlighting the unique multiethnic composition of these groups, Race, Religion, and Civil Rights explores how the students' interethnic activism weathered a variety of challenges, from the outbreak of war between Japan and China to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
Drawing from a variety of archival sources to bring forth the authentic, passionate voices of the students, Race, Religion, and Civil Rights is a testament to the powerful ways they served to shape the social, political, and cultural direction of civil rights movements throughout the West Coast.
In Race, Rights, and the Asian American Experience, Angelo N. Ancheta demonstrates how United States civil rights laws have been framed by a black-white model of race that typically ignores the experiences of other groups, including Asian Americans. When racial discourse is limited to antagonisms between black and white, Asian Americans often find themselves in a racial limbo, marginalized or unrecognized as full participants.
Ancheta examines legal and social theories of racial discrimination, ethnic differences in the Asian American population, nativism, citizenship, language, school desegregation, and affirmative action. In the revised edition of this influential book, Ancheta also covers post-9/11 anti-Asian sentiment and racial profiling. He analyzes recent legal cases involving political empowerment, language rights, human trafficking, immigrant rights, and affirmative action in higher education-many of which move the country farther away from the ideals of racial justice. On a more positive note, he reports on the progress Asian Americans have made in the corporate sector, politics, the military, entertainment, and academia.
A skillful mixture of legal theories, court cases, historical events, and personal insights, this revised edition brings fresh insights to U.S. civil rights from an Asian American perspective.
In Race, Rights, and the Asian American Experience, Angelo N. Ancheta demonstrates how United States civil rights laws have been framed by a black-white model of race that typically ignores the experiences of other groups, including Asian Americans. When racial discourse is limited to antagonisms between black and white, Asian Americans often find themselves in a racial limbo, marginalized or unrecognized as full participants.
Ancheta examines legal and social theories of racial discrimination, ethnic differences in the Asian American population, nativism, citizenship, language, school desegregation, and affirmative action. In the second edition of this influential book, Ancheta also covers post–9/11 anti-Asian sentiment and racial profiling. He analyzes recent legal cases involving political empowerment, language rights, human trafficking, immigrant rights, and affirmative action in higher education—many of which move the country farther away from the ideals of racial justice. On a more positive note, he reports on the progress Asian Americans have made in the corporate sector, politics, the military, entertainment, and academia.
A skillful mixture of legal theories, court cases, historical events, and personal insights, this second edition brings fresh insights to U.S. civil rights from an Asian American perspective.
The sheer diversity of the Asian American populace makes them an ambiguous racial category. Indeed, the 2010 U.S. Census lists twenty-four Asian-ethnic groups, lumping together under one heading people with dramatically different historical backgrounds and cultures. In Racial Ambiguity in Asian American Culture, Jennifer Ann Ho shines a light on the hybrid and indeterminate aspects of race, revealing ambiguity to be paramount to a more nuanced understanding both of race and of what it means to be Asian American.
Exploring a variety of subjects and cultural artifacts, Ho reveals how Asian American subjects evince a deep racial ambiguity that unmoors the concept of race from any fixed or finite understanding. For example, the book examines the racial ambiguity of Japanese American nisei Yoshiko Nakamura deLeon, who during World War II underwent an abrupt transition from being an enemy alien to an assimilating American, via the Mixed Marriage Policy of 1942. It looks at the blogs of Korean, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese Americans who were adopted as children by white American families and have conflicted feelings about their “honorary white” status. And it discusses Tiger Woods, the most famous mixed-race Asian American, whose description of himself as “Cablinasian”—reflecting his background as Black, Asian, Caucasian, and Native American—perfectly captures the ambiguity of racial classifications.
Race is an abstraction that we treat as concrete, a construct that reflects only our desires, fears, and anxieties. Jennifer Ho demonstrates in Racial Ambiguity in Asian American Culture that seeing race as ambiguous puts us one step closer to a potential antidote to racism.
Racial Castration, the first book to bring together the fields of Asian American studies and psychoanalytic theory, explores the role of sexuality in racial formation and the place of race in sexual identity. David L. Eng examines images—literary, visual, and filmic—that configure past as well as contemporary perceptions of Asian American men as emasculated, homosexualized, or queer. Eng juxtaposes theortical discussions of Freud, Lacan, and Fanon with critical readings of works by Frank Chin, Maxine Hong Kingston, Lonny Kaneko, David Henry Hwang, Louie Chu, David Wong Louie, Ang Lee, and R. Zamora Linmark. While situating these literary and cultural productions in relation to both psychoanalytic theory and historical events of particular significance for Asian Americans, Eng presents a sustained analysis of dreamwork and photography, the mirror stage and the primal scene, and fetishism and hysteria. In the process, he offers startlingly new interpretations of Asian American masculinity in its connections to immigration exclusion, the building of the transcontinental railroad, the wartime internment of Japanese Americans, multiculturalism, and the model minority myth. After demonstrating the many ways in which Asian American males are haunted and constrained by enduring domestic norms of sexuality and race, Eng analyzes the relationship between Asian American male subjectivity and the larger transnational Asian diaspora. Challenging more conventional understandings of diaspora as organized by race, he instead reconceptualizes it in terms of sexuality and queerness.
In Racial Feelings, Jeffrey Santa Ana examines how Asian American narratives communicate and critique—to varying degrees—the emotions that power the perception of Asians as racially different.
Santa Ana explores various forms of Asian American cultural production, ranging from literature and graphic narratives to film and advertising, to illuminate the connections between global economic relations and the emotions that shape aspirations for the good life. He illustrates his argument with examples including the destitute Filipino immigrant William Paulinha, in Han Ong’s Fixer Chao, who targets his anger on the capitalist forces of objectification that racially exploit him, and Nan and Pingpin in Ha Jin’s A Free Life, who seek happiness and belonging in America.
Racial Feelings addresses how Asian Americans both resist and rely on stereotypes in their writing and art work. In addition, Santa Ana investigates how capitalism shapes and structures an emotional discourse that represents Asians as both economic exemplars and threats.
As he systemically studies the barriers that Asian Americans face in the electoral and legislative processes, Thomas Kim shows how racism is embedded in America's two-party political system.Here Kim examines the institutional barriers that Asian Americans face in the electoral and legislative processes. Utilizing approaches from ethnic studies and political science, including rational choice theory, he demonstrates how the political logic of two-party competition actually works against Asian American political interests. According to Kim, political party leaders recognize that Asian Americans are tagged with "ethnic markers" that label them as immutably "foreign," and as such, parties cannot afford to be too closely associated with (racialized) Asian Americans. In publicly repudiating Asian American efforts to gain political power, Kim asserts, party elites are making rational, strategic calculations.Although other commentators have blamed the diversity of the Asian American population for its lack of political success, Kim argues convincingly that race itself is the chief barrier to political participation—and it will not be overcome simply by electing or appointing more Asian Americans to political office.
In Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation critic David L. Eng and psychotherapist Shinhee Han draw on case histories from the mid-1990s to the present to explore the social and psychic predicaments of Asian American young adults from Generation X to Generation Y. Combining critical race theory with several strands of psychoanalytic thought, they develop the concepts of racial melancholia and racial dissociation to investigate changing processes of loss associated with immigration, displacement, diaspora, and assimilation. These case studies of first- and second-generation Asian Americans deal with a range of difficulties, from depression, suicide, and the politics of coming out to broader issues of the model minority stereotype, transnational adoption, parachute children, colorblind discourses in the United States, and the rise of Asia under globalization. Throughout, Eng and Han link psychoanalysis to larger structural and historical phenomena, illuminating how the study of psychic processes of individuals can inform investigations of race, sexuality, and immigration while creating a more sustained conversation about the social lives of Asian Americans and Asians in the diaspora.
Moving beyond the black-white binary that has long framed racial discourse in the United States, the contributors to this collection examine how the experiences of Latinos and Asians intersect in the formation of the U.S. nation-state. They analyze the political and social processes that have racialized Latinos and Asians while highlighting the productive ways that these communities challenge and transform the identities imposed on them. Each essay addresses the sociopolitical predicaments of both Latinos and Asians, bringing their experiences to light in relation to one another.
Several contributors illuminate ways that Latinos and Asians were historically racialized: by U.S. occupiers of Puerto Rico and the Philippines at the end of the nineteenth century, by public health discourses and practices in early-twentieth-century Los Angeles, by anthropologists collecting physical data—height, weight, head measurements—from Chinese Americans to show how the American environment affected “foreign” body types in the 1930s, and by Los Angeles public officials seeking to explain the alleged criminal propensities of Mexican American youth during the 1940s. Other contributors focus on the coalitions and tensions between Latinos and Asians in the context of the fight to integrate public schools and debates over political redistricting. One addresses masculinity, race, and U.S. imperialism in the literary works of Junot Díaz and Chang-rae Lee. Another looks at the passions, identifications, and charges of betrayal aroused by the sensationalized cases of Elián González, the young Cuban boy rescued off the shore of Florida, and Wen Ho Lee, the Los Alamos physicist accused of spying on the United States. Throughout this volume contributors interrogate many of the assumptions that underlie American and ethnic studies even as they signal the need for a research agenda that expands the purview of both fields.
Contributors. Nicholas De Genova, Victor Jew, Andrea Levine, Natalia Molina, Gary Y. Okihiro, Crystal Parikh, Greg Robinson, Toni Robinson, Leland T. Saito
Despite being far from the norm, interracial relationships are more popular than ever. Racing Romance sheds special light on the bonds between whites and Asian Americans, an important topic that has not garnered well-deserved attention until now. Incorporating life-history narratives and interviews with those currently or previously involved with an interracial partner, Kumiko Nemoto addresses the contradictions and tensionsùa result of race, class, and genderùthat Asian Americans and whites experience.
Similar to black/white relationships, stereotypes have long played crucial roles in Asian American/white encounters. Partners grapple with media representations of Asian women as submissive or hypersexual and Asian men are often portrayed as weak laborers or powerful martial artists. Racing Romance reveals how allegedly progressive interracial relationships remain firmly shaped by the logic of patriarchy and gender inherent to the ideal of marriage, family, and nation in America, even as this ideal is juxtaposed with discourses of multiculturalism and color blindness.
With the recent proliferation of critically acclaimed literature by Asian American writers, this groundbreaking collection of essays provides a unique resource for students, scholars, and the general reading public. The homogeneity implied by the term "Asian American" is replaced in this volume with the rich diversity of highly disparate peoples. Languages, religions, races and cultural and national backgrounds. Examining a century of Asian American literature from the late 19th century up through the contemporary experimental drama of Ping Chong, the contributors address the work of writers with Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino, East Indian, and Pacific Island ancestry. Asian Canadian and Hawaiian literature are also considered.
Often thought of as a solitary activity, the practice of reading can in fact encode the complex politics of community formation. Engagement with literary culture represents a particularly integral facet of identity formation--and serves as an expression of a sense of belonging--within the South Asian diaspora in the United States. Tamara Bhalla blends a case study with literary and textual analysis to illuminate this phenomenon. Her fascinating investigation considers institutions from literary reviews to the marketplace and social media and other technologies, as well as traditional forms of literary discussion like book clubs and academic criticism. Throughout, Bhalla questions how her subjects' circumstances, shared race and class, and desires limit the values they ascribe to reading. She also examines how ideology circulating around a body of literature or a self-selected, imagined community of readers shapes reading itself and influences South Asians' powerful, if contradictory, relationship with ideals of cultural authenticity.
As a book about cultural memory and retrieval, this collection of essays asks readers to reconsider who represents Asian America and what constitutes its history. Defining the early period as spanning the nineteenth century and the 1960s, the original essays here speak to the difficulty of recovering a past that was largely unrecorded as well as understanding the varied experiences of peoples of Asian descent. Interdisciplinary in approach, the essays address the Asian American individuals and communities that have been omitted from "official" histories; trace the roots of persistent racial stereotypes and myths; and retrieve artistic production that raises vexed questions of what counts as "art" or as Asian American. By reconsidering the political, cultural, and material history written in the last three decades, this volume contributes to a new understanding of Asian America's past and relationship to the present.
Recovered Legacies: Authority and Identity in Early Asian American Literature employs contemporary and traditional readings of representative works in prose, poetry, and drama to suggest new ways of understanding and appreciating the critically fertile but underexamined body of Asian American writing from the late 1800s to the early 1960s. The essays in this volume engage this corpus—composed of multiple genres from different periods and by authors of different ethnicities—with a strong awareness of historical context and a keen sensitivity to literary form. As a collection, Recovered Legacies re-establishes the rich and diverse literary heritage of Asian America and argues persuasively for the significance of these works to the American literary canon.
In 2012, the Pew Research Center issued a report that named Asian Americans as the “highest-income, best-educated, and fastest-growing racial group in the United States.” Despite this seemingly optimistic conclusion, over thirty Asian American advocacy groups challenged the findings. As many pointed out, the term “Asian American” itself is complicated. It currently denotes a wide range of ethnicities, national origins, and languages, and encompasses a number of significant economic and social disparities. In Redefining Race, sociologist Dina G. Okamoto traces the complex evolution of this racial designation to show how the use of “Asian American” as a panethnic label and identity has been a deliberate social achievement negotiated by members of this group themselves, rather than an organic and inevitable process. Drawing on original research and a series of interviews, Okamoto investigates how different Asian ethnic groups in the U.S. were able to create a collective identity in the wake of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. Okamoto argues that a variety of broad social forces created the conditions for this developing panethnic identity. Racial segregation, for example, shaped how Asian immigrants of different national origins were distributed in similar occupations and industries. This segregation of Asians within local labor markets produced a shared experience of racial discrimination, which encouraged Asian ethnic groups to develop shared interests and identities. By constructing a panethnic label and identity, ethnic group members took part in creating their own collective histories, and in the process challenged and redefined current notions of race. The emergence of a panethnic racial identity also depended, somewhat paradoxically, on different groups organizing along distinct ethnic lines in order to gain recognition and rights from the larger society. According to Okamoto, these ethnic organizations provided the foundation necessary to build solidarity within different Asian-origin communities. Leaders and community members who created inclusive narratives and advocated policies that benefited groups beyond their own were then able to move these discrete ethnic organizations toward a panethnic model. For example, a number of ethnic-specific organizations in San Francisco expanded their services and programs to include other ethnic group members after their original constituencies dwindled. A Laotian organization included refugees from different parts of Asia, a Japanese organization began to advocate for South Asian populations, and a Chinese organization opened its doors to Filipinos and Vietnamese. As Okamoto argues, the process of building ties between ethnic communities while also recognizing ethnic diversity is the hallmark of panethnicity. Redefining Race is a groundbreaking analysis of the processes through which group boundaries are drawn and contested. In mapping the genesis of a panethnic Asian American identity, Okamoto illustrates the ways in which concepts of race continue to shape how ethnic and immigrant groups view themselves and organize for representation in the public arena.
Asian American rhetorics, produced through cultural contact between Asian traditions and US English, also comprise a dynamic influence on the cultural conditions and practices within which they move. Though always interesting to linguists and "contact language" scholars, in an increasingly globalized era, these subjects are of interest to scholars in a widening range of disciplines—especially those in rhetoric and writing studies.
Mao, Young, and their contributors propose that Asian American discourse should be seen as a spacious form, one that deliberately and selectively incorporates Asian “foreign-ness” into the English of Asian Americans. These authors offer the concept of a dynamic “togetherness-in-difference” as a way to theorize the contact and mutual influence. Chapters here explore a rich diversity of histories, theories, literary texts, and rhetorical practices. Collectively, they move the scholarly discussion toward a more nuanced, better balanced, critically informed representation of the forms of Asian American rhetorics and the cultural work that they do.
Tiger Mom. Asian patriarchy. Model minority children. Generation gap. The many images used to describe the prototypical Asian family have given rise to two versions of the Asian immigrant family myth. The first celebrates Asian families for upholding the traditional heteronormative ideal of the “normal (white) American family” based on a hard-working male breadwinner and a devoted wife and mother who raises obedient children. The other demonizes Asian families around these very same cultural values by highlighting the dangers of excessive parenting, oppressive hierarchies, and emotionless pragmatism in Asian cultures.
Saving Face cuts through these myths, offering a more nuanced portrait of Asian immigrant families in a changing world as recalled by the people who lived them first-hand: the grown children of Chinese and Korean immigrants. Drawing on extensive interviews, sociologist Angie Y. Chung examines how these second-generation children negotiate the complex and conflicted feelings they have toward their family responsibilities and upbringing. Although they know little about their parents’ lives, she reveals how Korean and Chinese Americans assemble fragments of their childhood memories, kinship narratives, and racial myths to make sense of their family experiences. However, Chung also finds that these adaptive strategies come at a considerable social and psychological cost and do less to reconcile the social stresses that minority immigrant families endure today.
Saving Face not only gives readers a new appreciation for the often painful generation gap between immigrants and their children, it also reveals the love, empathy, and communication strategies families use to help bridge those rifts.
In Soundtracks of Asian America, Grace Wang explores how Asian Americans use music to construct narratives of self, race, class, and belonging in national and transnational spaces. She highlights how they navigate racialization in different genres by considering the experiences of Asians and Asian Americans in Western classical music, U.S. popular music, and Mandopop (Mandarin-language popular music). Her study encompasses the perceptions and motivations of middle-class Chinese and Korean immigrant parents intensely involved in their children's classical music training, and of Asian and Asian American classical musicians whose prominence in their chosen profession is celebrated by some and undermined by others. Wang interviews young Asian American singer-songwriters who use YouTube to contest the limitations of a racialized U.S. media landscape, and she investigates the transnational modes of belonging forged by Asian American pop stars pursuing recording contracts and fame in East Asia. Foregrounding musical spaces where Asian Americans are particularly visible, Wang examines how race matters and operates in the practices and institutions of music making.
Cynthia Wu’s provocative Sticky Rice examines representations of same-sex desires and intraracial intimacies in some of the most widely read pieces of Asian American literature. Analyzing canonical works such as John Okada’s No-No Boy, Monique Truong’s The Book of Salt, H. T. Tsiang’s And China Has Hands, and Lois-Ann Yamanaka’s Blu’s Hanging, as well as Philip Kan Gotanda’s play, Yankee Dawg You Die, Wu considers how male relationships in these texts blur the boundaries among the homosocial, the homoerotic, and the homosexual in ways that lie beyond our concepts of modern gay identity.
The “sticky rice” of Wu’s title is a term used in gay Asian American culture to describe Asian American men who desire other Asian American men. The bonds between men addressed in Sticky Rice show how the thoughts and actions founded by real-life intraracially desiring Asian-raced men can inform how we read the refusal of multiple normativities in Asian Americanist discourse. Wu lays bare the trope of male same-sex desires that grapple with how Asian America’s internal divides can be resolved in order to resist assimilation.
The American Dream of success for many Asian Americans includes the highest levels of education. But what does it mean to live that success? In Straight A’s Asian American students at Harvard reflect on their common experiences with discrimination, immigrant communities, their relationships to their Asian heritage, and their place in the university. They also explore the difficulties of living up to family expectations and the real-world effects of the "model minority" stereotype. While many of the issues they face are familiar to a wide swath of college students, their examinations of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and culture directly speak to the Asian American experience in U.S. higher education. Unique and revealing, intimate and unreserved, Straight A’s furthers the conversation about immigrant histories, racial and ethnic stereotypes, and multiculturalism in contemporary American society.
Human rights violations have always been part of Asian American studies. From Chinese immigration restrictions, the incarceration of Japanese Americans, yellow peril characterizations, and recent acts of deportation and Islamophobia, Asian Americans have consistently functioned as subordinated “subjects” of human rights violations. The Subject(s) of Human Rights brings together scholars from North America and Asia to recalibrate these human rights concerns from both sides of the Pacific.
The essays in this collection provide a sharper understanding of how Asian/Americans have been subjected to human rights violations, how they act as subjects of history and agents of change, and how they produce knowledge around such subjects. The editors of and contributors to The Subject(s) of Human Rights examine refugee narratives, human trafficking, and citizenship issues in twentieth- and twenty-first century literature. These themes further refract issues of American war-making, settler colonialism, military occupation, collateral damage, and displacement that relocate the imagined geographies of Asian America from the periphery to the center of human rights critique.
Largely as a result of multiracial activism, the U.S. Census for 2000 offers people the unprecedented opportunity to officially identify themselves with more than one racial group. Among Asian-heritage people in this country and elsewhere, racial and ethnic mixing has a long but unacknowledged history. According to the last U.S. Census, nearly one-third of all interracial marriages included an Asian-descent spouse, and intermarriage rates are accelerating. This unique collection of essays focuses on the construction of identity among people Asian descent who claim multiple heritages.
In the U.S., discussions of race generally center on matters of black and white; Asian Americans usually figure in conversations about race as an undifferentiated ethnic group or as exotic Eurasians. The contributors to this book disrupt the standard discussions by considering people of mixed Asian ethnicities. They also pay particular attention to non-white multiracial identities to decenter whiteness and reflect the experience of individuals or communities who are considered a minority within a minority. With an entire section devoted to the Asian diaspora, The Sum of Our Parts suggests that questions of multiracial and multiethnic identity are surfacing around the globe. This timely and provocative collection articulates them for social scientists and students.
Transnational Asian American Literature: Sites and Transits examines the diasporic and transnational aspects of Asian American literature and asserts the importance of a globalized imaginary in what has been considered an ethnic subgenre of American literature. The thirteen essays in this volume engage works of prose and poetry as aesthetic articulations of the fluid transnational identities formed by Asian American writers who move within and across national boundaries. With its emphasis on the transmigratory and flexible nature of Asian American literary production, the collection argues for an equally balanced mode of criticism that extends our readings of these works beyond the traditional limits of the American literary canon. Individual chapters feature such writers as Chang-rae Lee, Karen Tei Yamashita, Jhumpa Lahiri, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Ha Jin, with attention to such discourses as gender, space and mobility, transnationalism, identity, genre, and post-coloniality.
As America’s most ethnically diverse foreign-born population, Asian Americans can puzzle political observers. This volume’s multidisciplinary team of contributors employ a variety of methodologies—including quantitative, ethnographic, and historical—to illustrate how transnational ties between the U.S. and Asia have shaped, and are increasingly defining, Asian American politics in our multicultural society.
Original essays by U.S.- and Asian-based scholars discuss Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese communities from Boston to Honolulu. The volume also shows how the grassroots activism of America’s “newest minority” both reflects and is instrumental in broader processes of political change throughout the Pacific. Addressing the call for more global approaches to racial and ethnic politics, contributors describe how Asian immigrants strategically navigate the hurdles to domestic incorporation and equality by turning their political sights and energies toward Asia. These essays convincingly demonstrate that Asian American political participation in the U.S. does not consist simply of domestic actions with domestic ends.
Unfastened examines literary works and films by Asian Americans and Asian Canadians that respond critically to globality—the condition in which traditional national, cultural, geographical, and economic boundaries have been—supposedly—surmounted.
In this wide-ranging exploration, Eleanor Ty reveals how novelists such as Brian Ascalon Roley, Han Ong, Lydia Kwa, and Nora Okja Keller interrogate the theoretical freedom that globalization promises in their depiction of the underworld of crime and prostitution. She looks at the social critiques created by playwrights Betty Quan and Sunil Kuruvilla, who use figures of disability to accentuate the effects of marginality. Investigating works based on fantasy, Ty highlights the ways feminist writers Larissa Lai, Chitra Divakaruni, Hiromi Goto, and Ruth Ozeki employ myth, science fiction, and magic realism to provide alternatives to global capitalism. She notes that others, such as filmmaker Deepa Mehta and performers/dramatists Nadine Villasin and Nina Aquino, play with the multiple identities afforded to them by transcultural connections.
Ultimately, Ty sees in these diverse narratives unfastened mobile subjects, heroes, and travelers who use everyday tactics to challenge inequitable circumstances in their lives brought about by globalization.
In researching accounts of diasporic Chinese offspring who returned to their parents’ ancestral country, author Patricia Chu learned that she was not alone in the experience of growing up in America with an abstract affinity to an ancestral homeland and community. The bittersweet emotions she had are shared in Asian American literature that depicts migration-related melancholia, contests official histories, and portrays Asian American families as flexible and transpacific.
Where I Have Never Been explores the tropes of return, tracing both literal return visits by Asian emigrants and symbolic “returns”: first visits by diasporic offspring. Chu argues that these Asian American narratives seek to remedy widely held anxieties about cultural loss and the erasure of personal and family histories from public memory. In fiction, memoirs, and personal essays, the writers of return narratives—including novelists Lisa See, May-lee Chai, Lydia Minatoya, and Ruth Ozeki, and best-selling author Denise Chong, diplomat Yung Wing, scholar Winberg Chai, essayist Josephine Khu, and many others—register and respond to personal and family losses through acts of remembrance and countermemory.
Writing against Racial Injury recalls the story of Asian American student rhetoric at the site of language and literacy education in post-1960s California. What emerged in the Asian American movement was a recurrent theme in U.S. history: conflicts over language and literacy difference masked wider racial tensions. Bringing together language and literacy studies, Asian American history and rhetoric, and critical race theory, Hoang uses historiography and ethnography to explore the politics of Asian American language and literacy education: the growth of Asian American student organizations and self-sponsored writing; the ways language served as thinly veiled trope for race in the influential Lau v. Nichols; the inheritance of a rhetoric of injury on college campuses; and activist rhetorical strategies that rearticulate Asian American racial identity. These fragments depict a troubling yet hopeful account of the ways language and literacy education alternately racialized Asian Americans while also enabling rearticulations of Asian American identity, culture, and history. This project, more broadly, seeks to offer educators a new perspective on racial accountability in language and literacy education.
In the United States, perhaps no minority group is considered as "model" or successful as the Asian American community. Rather than living in ominous "ghettoes," Asian Americans are described as residing in positive-sounding "ethnic enclaves." Writing the Ghetto helps clarify the hidden or unspoken class inequalities faced by Asian Americans, while insightfully analyzing the effect such notions have had on their literary voices.
Yoonmee Chang examines the class structure of Chinatowns, Koreatowns, Little Tokyos, and Little Indias, arguing that ghettoization in these spaces is disguised. She maintains that Asian American literature both contributes to and challenges this masking through its marginalization by what she calls the "ethnographic imperative." Chang discusses texts from the late nineteenth century to the present, including those of Sui Sin Far, Winnifred Eaton, Monica Sone, Fae Myenne Ng, Chang-rae Lee, S. Mitra Kalita, and Nam Le. These texts are situated in the contexts of the Chinese Exclusion Era, Japanese American internment during World War II, the globalization of Chinatown in the late twentieth century, the Vietnam War, the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and the contemporary emergence of the "ethnoburb."
"For three decades, William Wong has been America's most energetic and entertaining chronicler of the Asian diaspora and its effects on politics, culture, business, sports, dress, diet, and language. Like other great humorists, he exposes the painful absurdities that plague each new wave of immigrant families as they enrich the national character, from Wong's own adventurous parents to Tiger Woods. Some of these pieces offer surprising insights on geopolitics and others explore the legal and social consequences of racial discrimination, but my favorites are the playful essays, including the classic 'So That's Why I Can't Lose Weight.' "
--Jay Mathews, Washington Post reporter and columnist, and author of Class Struggle
Who are Asian Americans? Are they the remnants of the "yellow peril" portrayed in the media through stories on Asian street gangs, unscrupulous political fundraisers, and crafty nuclear spies? Or are they the "model minority" that the media present as consistently outranking European Americans in math scores and violin performances?
In this funny, sobering, and always enlightening collection, journalist William Wong comments on these and other anomalies of the Asian American experience. From its opening tribute to the Oakland Chinatown of Wong's childhood to its closing tribute to Tiger Woods, Yellow Journalist portrays the many-sided legacies of exclusion and discrimination. The stories, columns, essays, and commentaries in this collection tackle such persistent problems as media racism, criminality, inter-ethnic tensions, and political marginalization. As a group, they make a strong case for the centrality of the Asian American historical experiences in U.S. race relations.
The essays cover many subjects, from the personal to policy, from the serious to the silly. You will learn a little Asian American history and a lot about the nuances and complexities of the contemporary Asian American experience. If there is an overriding theme of these stories and essays, it is the multi-faceted adaptation of ethnic Asians to the common American culture, the intriguing roles that they play in our society, and the quality of their achievements to contribute to a better society.
Bill Wong's high school journalism teacher took him aside during his senior year and told him he would have to be "twice as good" to succeed at his chosen profession. Succeed he did, and "twice as good" he is. As Darrell Hamamoto remarks in his Foreword, "'Chinaman,' Chinese American, Asian American; any way you slice it, Bill Wong is one straight-up righteous Yellow Man."
"One of the advantages of having a writer of Bill Wong's talent around is that we don't have to depend upon intermediaries and go-betweens to give us insights about issues affecting Asian-Americans. He is often entertaining, and ironic, but underneath it all is a serious mind devoted to shattering myths about one of our fastest growing minorities."
--Ishmael Reed, author of The Reed Reader
"It is about time that America meet William Wong--an icon in journalism whose experience as a second generation Chinese-American has given him a unique lens through which life in America can be examined. For almost two decades, his columns in the Oakland Tribune and other San Francisco bay area newspapers have captured a different kind of reality about some of our most important social, cultural, and political moments. Wong's readiness to share his family, his community, and his conscience allows readers to cross a bridge into the world of Asian America. Whether it is an analysis of the 1996 campaign finance scandals or a perspective on how parent pressures and bi-cultural conflicts can play out in a young Asian American teen's life, Wong's skillful weaving of humor, irony, and poignant portrayals of the circumstances make each story linger long past the final sentence of his essay."
--Angela E. Oh, Lecturer/Former Advisory Board Member, President's Initiative on Race
"...an anthology of Wong's best writing from the last decade and a half, covering an impressive array of topics and tone."
This dynamic collection explores the life, work, and persona of saxophonist Fred Ho, an unabashedly revolutionary artist whose illuminating and daring work redefines the relationship between art and politics. Scholars, artists, and friends give their unique takes on Ho's career, articulating his artistic contributions, their joint projects, and personal stories. Exploring his musical and theatrical work, his political theory and activism, and his personal life as it relates to politics, Yellow Power, Yellow Soul offers an intimate appreciation of Fred Ho's irrepressible and truly original creative spirit.
Contributors are Roger N. Buckley, Peggy Myo-Young Choy, Jayne Cortez, Kevin Fellezs, Diane C. Fujino, Magdalena Gómez, Richard Hamasaki, Esther Iverem, Robert Kocik, Genny Lim, Ruth Margraff, Bill V. Mullen, Tamara Roberts, Arthur J. Sabatini, Kalamu ya Salaam, Miyoshi Smith, Arthur Song, and Salim Washington.