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.
In this book, Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas explores how Puerto Ricans in Chicago construct and perform nationalism. Contrary to characterizations of nationalism as a primarily unifying force, Ramos-Zayas finds that it actually provides the vocabulary to highlight distinctions along class, gender, racial, and generational lines among Puerto Ricans, as well as between Puerto Ricans and other Latino, black, and white populations.
Drawing on extensive ethnographic research, Ramos-Zayas shows how the performance of Puerto Rican nationalism in Chicago serves as a critique of social inequality, colonialism, and imperialism, allowing barrio residents and others to challenge the notion that upward social mobility is equally available to all Americans—or all Puerto Ricans. Paradoxically, however, these activists' efforts also promote upward social mobility, overturning previous notions that resentment and marginalization are the main results of nationalist strategies.
Ramos-Zayas's groundbreaking work allows her here to offer one of the most original and complex analyses of contemporary nationalism and Latino identity in the United States.
In the United States, Native peoples must be able to demonstrably look and act like the Natives of U.S. national narrations in order to secure their legal rights and standing as Natives. How they choose to navigate these demands and the implications of their choices for Native social formations are the focus of this powerful critique. Joanne Barker contends that the concepts and assumptions of cultural authenticity within Native communities potentially reproduce the very social inequalities and injustices of racism, ethnocentrism, sexism, homophobia, and fundamentalism that define U.S. nationalism and, by extension, Native oppression. She argues that until the hold of these ideologies is genuinely disrupted by Native peoples, the important projects for decolonization and self-determination defining Native movements and cultural revitalization efforts are impossible. These projects fail precisely by reinscribing notions of authenticity that are defined in U.S. nationalism to uphold relations of domination between the United States and Native peoples, as well as within Native social and interpersonal relations. Native Acts is a passionate call for Native peoples to decolonize their own concepts and projects of self-determination.
Beliefs and feelings about language vary dramatically within and across Native American cultural groups and are an acknowledged part of the processes of language shift and language death. This volume samples the language ideologies of a wide range of Native American communities--from the Canadian Yukon to Guatemala--to show their role in sociocultural transformation.
These studies take up such active issues as "insiderness" in Cherokee language ideologies, contradictions of space-time for the Northern Arapaho, language socialization and Paiute identity, and orthography choices and language renewal among the Kiowa. The authors--including members of indigenous speech communities who participate in language renewal efforts--discuss not only Native Americans' conscious language ideologies but also the often-revealing relationship between these beliefs and other more implicit realizations of language use as embedded in community practice.
The chapters discuss the impact of contemporary language issues related to grammar, language use, the relation between language and social identity, and emergent language ideologies themselves in Native American speech communities. And although they portray obvious variation in attitudes toward language across communities, they also reveal commonalities--notably the emergent ideological process of iconization between a language and various national, ethnic, and tribal identities.
As fewer Native Americans continue to speak their own language, this timely volume provides valuable grounded studies of language ideologies in action--those indigenous to Native communities as well as those imposed by outside institutions or language researchers. It considers the emergent interaction of indigenous and imported ideologies and the resulting effect on language beliefs, practices, and struggles in today's Indian Country as it demonstrates the practical implications of recognizing a multiplicity of indigenous language ideologies and their impact on heritage language maintenance and renewal.
The Native Americans
Elizabeth Glenn and Stewart Rafert Indiana Historical Society Press, 2009 Library of Congress E78.I53G54 2009 | Dewey Decimal 305.8009772
In the second volume of the IHS Press’s Peopling Indiana Series, anthropologist Elizabeth Glenn and ethnohistorian Stewart Rafert put readers in touch with the first people to inhabit the Hoosier state, exploring what it meant historically to be an Indian in this land and discussing the resurgence of native life in the state today. Many natives either assimilated into white culture or hid their Indian identity. World War II dramatically changed this scenario when Native Americans served in the U.S. military and on the home front. Afterward, Indians from many tribal lineages flocked to Indiana to find work. Along with Indiana's Miami and Potawatomi, they are creating a diverse Indian culture that enriches the lives of all Hoosiers.
Most Native Americans in the United States live in cities, where many find themselves caught in a bind, neither afforded the full rights granted U.S. citizens nor allowed full access to the tribal programs and resources—particularly health care services—provided to Native Americans living on reservations. A scholar and a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, Renya K. Ramirez investigates how urban Native Americans negotiate what she argues is, in effect, a transnational existence. Through an ethnographic account of the Native American community in California’s Silicon Valley and beyond, Ramirez explores the ways that urban Indians have pressed their tribes, local institutions, and the federal government to expand conventional notions of citizenship.
Ramirez’s ethnography revolves around the Paiute American activist Laverne Roberts’s notion of the “hub,” a space that allows for the creation of a sense of belonging away from a geographic center. Ramirez describes “hub-making” activities in Silicon Valley, including sweat lodge ceremonies, powwows, and American Indian Alliance meetings, gatherings at which urban Indians reinforce bonds of social belonging and forge intertribal alliances. She examines the struggle of the Muwekma Ohlone, a tribe aboriginal to the San Francisco Bay area, to maintain a sense of community without a land base and to be recognized as a tribe by the federal government. She considers the crucial role of Native women within urban indigenous communities; a 2004 meeting in which Native Americans from Mexico and the United States discussed cross-border indigenous rights activism; and the ways that young Native Americans in Silicon Valley experience race and ethnicity, especially in relation to the area’s large Chicano community. A unique and important exploration of diaspora, transnationalism, identity, belonging, and community, Native Hubs is intended for scholars and activists alike.
Native Space explores how indigenous communities and individuals sustain and create geographies through place-naming, everyday cultural practices, and artistic activism, within the boundaries of the settler colonial nation of the United States. Diverging from scholarship that tends to treat indigenous geography as an analytical concept, Natchee Blu Barnd instead draws attention to the subtle manifestations of everyday cultural practices—the concrete and often mundane activities involved in the creation of indigenous space.
What are the limits and potentials of indigenous acts of spatial production? Native Space argues that control over the notion of “Indianness” still sits at the center of how space is produced in a neocolonial nation, and shows how non-indigenous communities uniquely deploy Native identities in the direct construction of colonial geographies. In short, “the Indian” serves to create White space in concrete ways. Yet, Native geographies effectively reclaim indigenous identities, assert ongoing relations to the land, and refuse the claims of settler colonialism.
Barnd creatively and persuasively uses original cartographic research and demographic data, a series of interrelated stories set in the Midwestern Plains states of Kansas and Oklahoma, an examination of visual art by contemporary indigenous artists, and discussions of several forms of indigenous activism to support his argument. With its highly original, interdisciplinary approach, Native Space makes a significant contribution to the literature in cultural and critical geography, comparative ethnic studies, indigenous studies, cultural studies, American Studies, and related fields.
In Bolivia today, the ability to speak an indigenous language is highly valued among educated urbanites as a useful job skill, but a rural person who speaks a native language is branded with lower social status. Likewise, chewing coca in the countryside spells “inferior indian,” but in La Paz jazz bars it’s decidedly cool. In the Andes and elsewhere, the commodification of indianness has impacted urban lifestyles as people co-opt indigenous cultures for qualities that emphasize the uniqueness of their national culture.
This volume looks at how metropolitan ideas of nation employed by politicians, the media and education are produced, reproduced, and contested by people of the rural Andes—people who have long been regarded as ethnically and racially distinct from more culturally European urban citizens. Yet these peripheral “natives” are shown to be actively engaged with the idea of the nation in their own communities, forcing us to re-think the ways in which indigeneity is defined by its marginality.
The contributors examine the ways in which numerous identities—racial, generational, ethnic, regional, national, gender, and sexual—are both mutually informing and contradictory among subaltern Andean people who are more likely now to claim an allegiance to a nation than ever before. Although indians are less often confronted with crude assimilationist policies, they continue to face racism and discrimination as they struggle to assert an identity that is more than a mere refraction of the dominant culture. Yet despite the language of multiculturalism employed even in constitutional reform, any assertion of indian identity is likely to be resisted. By exploring topics as varied as nation-building in the 1930s or the chuqila dance, these authors expose a paradox in the relation between indians and the nation: that the nation can be claimed as a source of power and distinct identity while simultaneously making some types of national imaginings unattainable.
Whether dancing together or simply talking to one another, the people described in these essays are shown creating identity through processes that are inherently social and interactive. To sing, to eat, to weave . . . In the performance of these simple acts, bodies move in particular spaces and contexts and do so within certain understandings of gender, race and nation. Through its presentation of this rich variety of ethnographic and historical contexts, Natives Making Nation provides a finely nuanced view of contemporary Andean life.
In the continuing debates on the topic of racial and ethnic identity in the United States, there are some that argue that ethnicity is an ascribed reality. To the contrary, others claim that individuals are becoming increasingly active in choosing and constructing their ethnic identities.Focusing on second-generation South Asian Americans, Bandana Purkayastha offers fresh insights into the subjective experience of race, ethnicity, and social class in an increasingly diverse America. The young people of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Nepalese origin that are the subjects of the study grew up in mostly white middle class suburbs, and their linguistic skills, education, and occupation profiles are indistinguishable from their white peers. By many standards, their lifestyles mark them as members of mainstream American culture. But, as Purkayastha shows, their ethnic experiences are shaped by their racial status as neither “white” nor “wholly Asian,” their continuing ties with family members across the world, and a global consumer industry, which targets them as ethnic consumers.”
Drawing on information gathered from forty-eight in-depth interviews and years of research, this book illustrates how ethnic identity is negotiated by this group through choice—the adoption of ethnic labels, the invention of “traditions,” the consumption of ethnic products, and participation in voluntary societies. The pan-ethnic identities that result demonstrate both a resilient attachment to heritage and a celebration of reinvention.
Lucidly written and enriched with vivid personal accounts, Negotiating Ethnicity is an important contribution to the literature on ethnicity and racialization in contemporary American culture.
Longstanding Mexican and Puerto Rican populations have helped make people of mixed nationalities—MexiGuatamalans, CubanRicans, and others—an important part of Chicago's Latina/o scene. Intermarriage between Guatemalans, Colombians, and Cubans have further diversified this community-within-a-community. Yet we seldom consider the lives and works of these Intralatino/as when we discuss Latino/as in the United States.In Negotiating Latinidad, a cross-section of Chicago's second-generation Intralatino/as offer their experiences of negotiating between and among the national communities embedded in their families. Frances R. Aparicio's rich interviews reveal Intralatino/as proud of their multiplicity and particularly skilled at understanding difference and boundaries. Their narratives explore both the ongoing complexities of family life and the challenges of fitting into our larger society, in particular the struggle to claim a space—and a sense of belonging—in a Latina/o America that remains highly segmented in scholarship. The result is an emotionally powerful, theoretically rigorous exploration of culture, hybridity, and transnationalism that points the way forward for future scholarship on Intralatino/a identity.
Despite great ethnic and racial diversity, ethnicity in Brazil is often portrayed as a matter of black or white, a distinction reinforced by the ruling elite’s efforts to craft the nation’s identity in its own image—white, Christian, and European. In Negotiating National Identity Jeffrey Lesser explores the crucial role ethnic minorities from China, Japan, North Africa, and the Middle East have played in constructing Brazil’s national identity, thereby challenging dominant notions of nationality and citizenship. Employing a cross-cultural approach, Lesser examines a variety of acculturating responses by minority groups, from insisting on their own whiteness to becoming ultra-nationalists and even entering secret societies that insisted Japan had won World War II. He discusses how various minority groups engaged in similar, and successful, strategies of integration even as they faced immense discrimination and prejudice. Some believed that their ethnic heritage was too high a price to pay for the “privilege” of being white and created alternative categories for themselves, such as Syrian-Lebanese, Japanese-Brazilian, and so on. By giving voice to the role ethnic minorities have played in weaving a broader definition of national identity, this book challenges the notion that elite discourse is hegemonic and provides the first comprehensive look at Brazilian worlds often ignored by scholars. Based on extensive research, Negotiating National Identity will be valuable to scholars and students in Brazilian and Latin American studies, as well as those in the fields of immigrant history, ethnic studies, and race relations.
In 1900 over five million Jews lived in the Russian empire; today, there are four times as many Russian-speaking Jews residing outside the former Soviet Union than there are in that region. The New Jewish Diaspora is the first English-language study of the Russian-speaking Jewish diaspora. This migration has made deep marks on the social, cultural, and political terrain of many countries, in particular the United States, Israel, and Germany. The contributors examine the varied ways these immigrants have adapted to new environments, while identifying the common cultural bonds that continue to unite them.
Assembling an international array of experts on the Soviet and post-Soviet Jewish diaspora, the book makes room for a wide range of scholarly approaches, allowing readers to appreciate the significance of this migration from many different angles. Some chapters offer data-driven analyses that seek to quantify the impact Russian-speaking Jewish populations are making in their adoptive countries and their adaptations there. Others take a more ethnographic approach, using interviews and observations to determine how these immigrants integrate their old traditions and affiliations into their new identities. Further chapters examine how, despite the oceans separating them, members of this diaspora form imagined communities within cyberspace and through literature, enabling them to keep their shared culture alive.
Above all, the scholars in The New Jewish Diaspora place the migration of Russian-speaking Jews in its historical and social contexts, showing where it fits within the larger historic saga of the Jewish diaspora, exploring its dynamic engagement with the contemporary world, and pointing to future paths these immigrants and their descendants might follow.
An examination of Italian immigrants and their children in the early twentieth century, A New Language, A New World is the first full-length historical case study of one immigrant group's experience with language in America. Incorporating the interdisciplinary literature on language within a historical framework, Nancy C. Carnevale illustrates the complexity of the topic of language in American immigrant life. By looking at language from the perspectives of both immigrants and the dominant culture as well as their interaction, this book reveals the role of language in the formation of ethnic identity and the often coercive context within which immigrants must negotiate this process.
In this compelling look at second-generation Indian Americans, Khyati Y. Joshi draws on case studies and interviews with forty-one second-generation Indian Americans, analyzing their experiences involving religion, race, and ethnicity from elementary school to adulthood. As she maps the crossroads they encounter as they navigate between their homes and the wider American milieu, Joshi shows how their identities have developed differently from their parents’ and their non-Indian peers’ and how religion often exerted a dramatic effect.
The experiences of Joshi’s research participants reveal how race and religion interact, intersect, and affect each other in a society where Christianity and whiteness are the norm. Joshi shows how religion is racialized for Indian Americans and offers important insights in the wake of 9/11 and the backlash against Americans who look Middle Eastern and South Asian.
Through her candid insights into the internal conflicts contemporary Indian Americans face and the religious and racial discrimination they encounter, Joshi provides a timely window into the ways that race, religion, and ethnicity interact in day-to-day life.
Jere Takahashi Temple University Press, 1998 Library of Congress E184.J3T316 1997 | Dewey Decimal 305.8956073
A thorough examination of the diverse political styles of second and third generation Japanese Americans and their resonance within the changing racial dynamics and political complexities in the United States.