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.
During the past twenty years, the world’s most renowned critical theorist—the scholar who defined the field of postcolonial studies—has experienced a radical reorientation in her thinking. Finding the neat polarities of tradition and modernity, colonial and postcolonial, no longer sufficient for interpreting the globalized present, she turns elsewhere to make her central argument: that aesthetic education is the last available instrument for implementing global justice and democracy.
Spivak’s unwillingness to sacrifice the ethical in the name of the aesthetic, or to sacrifice the aesthetic in grappling with the political, makes her task formidable. As she wrestles with these fraught relationships, she rewrites Friedrich Schiller’s concept of play as double bind, reading Gregory Bateson with Gramsci as she negotiates Immanuel Kant, while in dialogue with her teacher Paul de Man. Among the concerns Spivak addresses is this: Are we ready to forfeit the wealth of the world’s languages in the name of global communication? “Even a good globalization (the failed dream of socialism) requires the uniformity which the diversity of mother-tongues must challenge,” Spivak writes. “The tower of Babel is our refuge.”
In essays on theory, translation, Marxism, gender, and world literature, and on writers such as Assia Djebar, J. M. Coetzee, and Rabindranath Tagore, Spivak argues for the social urgency of the humanities and renews the case for literary studies, imprisoned in the corporate university. “Perhaps,” she writes, “the literary can still do something.”
There have been few book-length engagements with the question of sexuality in Africa, let alone African homosexuality. African Intimacies simultaneously responds to the public debate on the “Africanness” of homosexuality and interrogates the meaningfulness of the terms “sexuality” and “homosexuality” outside Euro-American discourse. Speculating on cultural practices interpreted by missionaries as sodomy and resistance to colonialism, Neville Hoad begins by analyzing the 1886 Bugandan martyrs incident—the execution of thirty men in the royal court. Then, in a series of close readings, he addresses questions of race, sex, and globalization in the 1965 Wole Soyinka novel The Interpreters, examines the emblematic 1998 Lambeth conference of Anglican bishops, considers the imperial legacy in depictions of the HIV/AIDS crisis, and reveals how South African writer Phaswane Mpe’s contemporary novel Welcome to Our Hillbrow problematizes notions of African identity and cosmopolitanism.Hoad’s assessment of the historical valence of homosexuality in Africa shows how the category has served a key role in a larger story, one in which sexuality has been made in line with a vision of white Western truth, limiting an understanding of intimacy that could imagine an African universalism.Neville Hoad is assistant professor of English at the University of Texas, Austin.
The African Union’s Africa: New Pan-African Initiatives in Global Governance examines the initiatives of the Pan-African global governance institution the African Union (AU) as the organization and its precursor commemorate their Jubilee as international actors. Taking a unique approach, the book seeks to explain the AU through a theoretical framework referred to as “the African Union phenomenon,” capturing the international organization’s efforts to transform the national politics of Africa as well as to globalize the practice of African politics. The authors examine Africa’s self-determined international norms and values such as Pan-Africanism, African Solutions to African Problems, Hybrid Democracy, Pax Africana, and the African Economic Community to demonstrate that Africa—the world’s least developed region—is composed of crucial values, institutions, agents, actors, and forces that are, through the AU, contributing to the advancement of contemporary global development. The book reveals how in the areas of cultural identity, democracy, security, and economic development Africans are infusing new politics, economics, and cultures into globalization representing the collective will and imprint of African agency, decisions, ideas, identities, practices, and contexts. Via a Pan-African vision, the AU is having both regional and global impact, generating exciting possibilities and complicated challenges.
From Thomas Piketty to David Harvey, scholars are increasingly questioning whether we are entering into a post-capitalist era. If so, does this new epoch signal the failure of capitalism and emergence of alternative systems? Or does it mark the ultimate triumph of capitalism as it evolves into an unstoppable entity that takes new forms as it engulfs its opposition?
After Capitalism brings together leading scholars from across the academy to offer competing perspectives on capitalism’s past incarnations, present conditions, and possible futures. Some contributors reassess classic theorizations of capitalism in light of recent trends, including real estate bubbles, debt relief protests, and the rise of a global creditocracy. Others examine Marx’s writings, unemployment, hoarding, “capitalist realism,” and coyote (trickster) capitalism, among many other topics. Media and design trends locate the key ideologies of the current economic moment, with authors considering everything from the austerity aesthetics of reality TV to the seductive smoothness of liquid crystal.
Even as it draws momentous conclusions about global economic phenomena, After Capitalism also pays close attention to locales as varied as Cuba, India, and Latvia, examining the very different ways that economic conditions have affected the relationship between the state and its citizens. Collectively, these essays raise provocative questions about how we should imagine capitalism in the twenty-first century. Will capitalism, like all economic systems, come to an end, or does there exist in history or elsewhere a hidden world that is already post-capitalist, offering alternative possibilities for thought and action?
Alongside unprecedented improvements in longevity and material well-being, the twentieth century saw the rise of fascism and communism and a second world war followed by a cold war. Governments with market economies won the battle against these competing systems by combining growth and efficiency with greater equality of opportunity and outcome.
In The Already Dead, Eric Cazdyn examines the ways that contemporary medicine, globalization, politics, and culture intersect to produce a condition and concept that he names "the new chronic." Cazdyn argues that just as contemporary medicine uses targeted drug therapies and biotechnology to manage rather than cure diseases, global capitalism aims not for resolution but rather for a continual state of crisis management that perpetuates the iniquities of the status quo. Engaging critical theory, philosophy, and psychoanalysis, he explores the ways that crisis affects perceptions of time and denies alternative ways of being and thinking.
To resist the exploitative crisis state, which Cazdyn terms "the global abyss," he posits the concept of "the already dead," a condition in which the subject (medical, political, psychological) has been killed but has yet to die. Embracing this condition, he argues, allows for a revolutionary consciousness open to a utopian future. Woven into Cazdyn's analysis are personal anecdotes about his battle with leukemia and his struggle to obtain Canadian citizenship during his illness. These narratives help to illustrate his systemic critique, one that reconfigures the relationship between politics, capitalism, revolution, and the body.
The Anarchist Roots of Geography sets the stage for a radical politics of possibility and freedom through a discussion of the insurrectionary geographies that suffuse our daily experiences. By embracing anarchist geographies as kaleidoscopic spatialities that allow for nonhierarchical connections between autonomous entities, Simon Springer configures a new political imagination.
Experimentation in and through space is the story of humanity’s place on the planet, and the stasis and control that now supersede ongoing organizing experiments are an affront to our survival. Singular ontological modes that favor one particular way of doing things disavow geography by failing to understand the spatial as a mutable assemblage intimately bound to temporality. Even worse, such stagnant ideas often align to the parochial interests of an elite minority and thereby threaten to be our collective undoing. What is needed is the development of new relationships with our world and, crucially, with each other.
By infusing our geographies with anarchism we unleash a spirit of rebellion that foregoes a politics of waiting for change to come at the behest of elected leaders and instead engages new possibilities of mutual aid through direct action now. We can no longer accept the decaying, archaic geographies of hierarchy that chain us to statism, capitalism, gender domination, racial oppression, and imperialism. We must reorient geographical thinking towards anarchist horizons of possibility. Geography must become beautiful, wherein the entirety of its embrace is aligned to emancipation.
Appropriately Indian is an ethnographic analysis of the class of information technology professionals at the symbolic helm of globalizing India. Comprising a small but prestigious segment of India’s labor force, these transnational knowledge workers dominate the country’s economic and cultural scene, as do their notions of what it means to be Indian. Drawing on the stories of Indian professionals in Mumbai, Bangalore, Silicon Valley, and South Africa, Smitha Radhakrishnan explains how these high-tech workers create a “global Indianness” by transforming the diversity of Indian cultural practices into a generic, mobile set of “Indian” norms. Female information technology professionals are particularly influential. By reconfiguring notions of respectable femininity and the “good” Indian family, they are reshaping ideas about what it means to be Indian.
Radhakrishnan explains how this transnational class creates an Indian culture that is self-consciously distinct from Western culture, yet compatible with Western cosmopolitan lifestyles. She describes the material and symbolic privileges that accrue to India’s high-tech workers, who often claim ordinary middle-class backgrounds, but are overwhelmingly urban and upper caste. They are also distinctly apolitical and individualistic. Members of this elite class practice a decontextualized version of Hinduism, and they absorb the ideas and values that circulate through both Indian and non-Indian multinational corporations. Ultimately, though, global Indianness is rooted and configured in the gendered sphere of home and family.
“Africa is an artificial entity,” notes Ruth Mayer, “invented and conceived by colonialism.” In this wide-ranging study, Mayer explores the ways in which Western, and especially American, popular culture has manufactured and deployed various images of “Africa,” and how those changing constructions have reflected Western social and political concerns from the era of colonialism to the age of globalization. Mayer mines an enormous array of sources to expose the diverse images and narrative strategies that have been prominent in Western representations of Africa. She ranges authoritatively from King Solomon’s Mines and Tarzan to Khartoum and Greystoke, from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to Nicholas Roeg’s film version, from Isak Dinesen and Ernest Hemingway to Ishmael Reed and Charles Johnson, from comic books to hip hop acts. In the process, she shows how seemingly stable cultural stereotypes have actually been transformed to reflect changing attitudes, conditions, and fears in the West, “adjusting the symbolic repertory of yesterday to the conceptual and ideological frameworks of today.” Dividing her work into “African Adventures” and “Alternative Africas,” Mayer not only restores an international context to American cultural history, but also shows the ways in which these images have functioned within both white and African American communities. With a deft command of both cultural source materials and current debates, Mayer explores the complex and powerful roles these “artificial Africas” have played in Western culture.
France is often depicted as the model of assimilationist or republican integration in the international literature on immigration. However, rarely have surveys drilled down to provide individual responses from a double representative sample. In As French as Everyone Else?, Sylvain Brouard and Vincent Tiberj provide a comprehensive assessment of the state of integration in France and challenge the usual crisis of integration by systematically comparing the "new French" immigrants, as well as their children and grandchildren born in France, with a sample of the French general population.
The authors' survey considers a wide range of topics, including religious affiliation and religiosity, political attitudes and political efficacy, value systems (including gender roles, work ethics, and anti-Semitism), patterns of integration, multiple identities and national belongings, and affirmative action. As the authors show, despite existing differences, immigrants of Maghrebin, African, and Turkish origin share a wide scope of commonality with other French citizens.
Centering his analysis in the dynamic forces of modern East Asian history, Kuan-Hsing Chen recasts cultural studies as a politically urgent global endeavor. He argues that the intellectual and subjective work of decolonization begun across East Asia after the Second World War was stalled by the cold war. At the same time, the work of deimperialization became impossible to imagine in imperial centers such as Japan and the United States. Chen contends that it is now necessary to resume those tasks, and that decolonization, deimperialization, and an intellectual undoing of the cold war must proceed simultaneously. Combining postcolonial studies, globalization studies, and the emerging field of “Asian studies in Asia,” he insists that those on both sides of the imperial divide must assess the conduct, motives, and consequences of imperial histories.
Chen is one of the most important intellectuals working in East Asia today; his writing has been influential in Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and mainland China for the past fifteen years. As a founding member of the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society and its journal, he has helped to initiate change in the dynamics and intellectual orientation of the region, building a network that has facilitated inter-Asian connections. Asia as Method encapsulates Chen’s vision and activities within the increasingly “inter-referencing” East Asian intellectual community and charts necessary new directions for cultural studies.
Asian Alleyways: An Urban Vernacular in Times of Globalization critically explores "Global Asia" and the metropolization process, specifically from its alleyways, which are understood as ordinary neighbourhood landscapes providing the setting for everyday urban life and place-based identities being shaped by varied everyday practices, collective experiences and forces. Beyond the mainstream, standardising vision of the metropolization process, Asian Alleyways offers a nuanced overview of urban production in Asia at a time of great changes, and will be welcomed by an array of scholars, students, and all those interested in the modern transformation of Asian
cities and their urban cultures.
The country’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, its interventions around the world, and its global military presence make war, the military, and militarism defining features of contemporary American life. The armed services and the wars they fight shape all aspects of life—from the formation of racial and gendered identities to debates over environmental and immigration policy. Warfare and the military are ubiquitous in popular culture.
At War offers short, accessible essays addressing the central issues in the new military history—ranging from diplomacy and the history of imperialism to the environmental issues that war raises and the ways that war shapes and is shaped by discourses of identity, to questions of who serves in the U.S. military and why and how U.S. wars have been represented in the media and in popular culture.