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 Filipino American population in the U.S. is expected to reach more than two million by the next century. Yet many Filipino Americans contend that years of formal and covert exclusion from mainstream political, social, and economic institutions on the basis of their race have perpetuated racist stereotypes about them, ignored their colonial and immigration history, and prevented them from becoming fully recognized citizens of the nation. Locating Filipino Americans shows how Filipino Americans counter exclusion by actively engaging in alternative practices of community building.
Locating Filipino Americans, an ethnographic study of Filipino American communities in Los Angeles and San Diego, present a multi-disciplinary cultural analysis of the relationship between ethnic identity and social space. Author Rick Bonus argues that alternative community spaces enable Filipino Americans to respond to and resist the ways in which the larger society has historically and institutionally rendered them invisible, silenced, and racialized. Bonus focuses on the "Oriental" stores, the social halls and community centers, and the community newspapers to demonstrate how ethnic identities are publicly constituted and communities are transformed. Delineating the spaces formed by diasporic consciousness, Bonus shows how community members appropriate elements from their former homeland and from their new settlements in ways defined by their critical stances against racism, homogenization, complete assimilation, and exclusionary citizenship. Locating Filipino Americans is one of the few books that offers a grounded approach to theoretical analyses of ethnicity and contemporary culture in the U.S.
In The Ocean in the School Rick Bonus tells the stories of Pacific Islander students as they and their allies struggled to transform a university they believed did not value their presence. Drawing on dozens of interviews with students he taught, advised, and mentored between 2004 and 2018 at the University of Washington, Bonus outlines how, despite the university's promotion of diversity and student success programs, these students often did not find their education to be meaningful, leading some to leave the university. As these students note, they weren't failing school; the school was failing them. Bonus shows how students employed the ocean as a metaphor as a way to foster community and to transform the university into a space that valued meaningfulness, respect, and critical thinking. In sharing these students' insights and experiences, Bonus opens up questions about measuring student success, the centrality of antiracism and social justice to structurally reshaping universities, and the purpose of higher education.