front cover of Mediating the South Korean Other
Mediating the South Korean Other
Representations and Discourses of Difference in the Post/Neocolonial Nation-State
David C. Oh, Editor
University of Michigan Press, 2022
Multiculturalism in Korea formed in the context of its neoliberal, global aspirations, its postcolonial legacy with Japan, and its subordinated neocolonial relationship with the United States. The Korean ethnoscape and mediascape produce a complex understanding of difference that cannot be easily reduced to racism or ethnocentrism. Indeed the Korean word, injongchabyeol, often translated as racism, refers to discrimination based on any kind of “human category.” Explaining Korea’s relationship to difference and its practices of othering, including in media culture, requires new language and nuance in English-language scholarship.

This collection brings together leading and emerging scholars of multiculturalism in Korean media culture to examine mediated constructions of the “other,” taking into account the nation’s postcolonial and neocolonial relationships and its mediated construction of self. “Anthrocategorism,” a more nuanced translation of injongchabyeol, is proffered as a new framework for understanding difference in ways that are locally meaningful in a society and media system in which racial or even ethnic differences are not the most salient. The collection points to the construction of racial others that elevates, tolerates, and incorporates difference; the construction of valued and devalued ethnic others; and the ambivalent construction of co-ethnic others as sympathetic victims or marginalized threats.
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Messy Beginnings
Postcoloniality and Early American Studies
Edited by Malini Johar Schueller and Edward Watts
Rutgers University Press, 2003

When exploring the links between America and postcolonialism, scholars tend to think either in terms of contemporary multiculturalism, or of imperialism since 1898.  This narrow view has left more than the two prior centuries of colonizing literary and political culture unexamined.

Messy Beginnings challenges the idea of early America’s immunity from issues of imperialism, that its history is not as “clean” as European colonialism.  By addressing  the literature ranging from the diaries of American women missionaries in the Middle East to the work of Benjamin Franklin and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and through appraisals of key postcolonial theorists such as Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, and Homi Bhabha, the contributors to this volume explore the applicability of their models to early American culture. 

 Messy Beginnings argues against the simple concept that the colonization of what became the United States was a confrontation between European culture and the “other.”  Contributors examine the formation of America through the messy or unstable negotiations of the idea of “nation.” 

The essays forcefully show that the development of  “Americanness” was a raced and classed phenomenon, achieved through a complex series of violent encounters, legal maneuvers, and political compromises.   The complexity of early American colonization, where there was not one coherent “nation” to conquer, contradicts the simple label of imperialism used in other lands. The unique approach of Messy Beginnings will reshape both pre-conceived notions of postcolonialism, and how postcolonialists think about the development of the American nation.

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Model-Minority Imperialism
Victor Bascara
University of Minnesota Press, 2006
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.
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Mongrel Nation
Diasporic Culture and the Making of Postcolonial Britain
Ashley Dawson
University of Michigan Press, 2007

Mongrel Nation surveys the history of the United Kingdom’s African, Asian, and Caribbean populations from 1948 to the present, working at the juncture of cultural studies, literary criticism, and postcolonial theory. Ashley Dawson argues that during the past fifty years Asian and black intellectuals from Sam Selvon to Zadie Smith have continually challenged the United Kingdom’s exclusionary definitions of citizenship, using innovative forms of cultural expression to reconfigure definitions of belonging in the postcolonial age. By examining popular culture and exploring topics such as the nexus of race and gender, the growth of transnational politics, and the clash between first- and second-generation immigrants, Dawson broadens and enlivens the field of postcolonial studies.

Mongrel Nation gives readers a broad landscape from which to view the shifting currents of politics, literature, and culture in postcolonial Britain. At a time when the contradictions of expansionist braggadocio again dominate the world stage, Mongrel Nation usefully illuminates the legacy of imperialism and suggests that creative voices of resistance can never be silenced.Dawson

“Elegant, eloquent, and full of imaginative insight, Mongrel Nation is a refreshing, engaged, and informative addition to post-colonial and diasporic literary scholarship.”

—Hazel V. Carby, Yale University

“Eloquent and strong, insightful and historically precise, lively and engaging, Mongrel Nation is an expansive history of twentieth-century internationalist encounters that provides a broader landscape from which to understand currents, shifts, and historical junctures that shaped the international postcolonial imagination.”

—May Joseph, Pratt Institute

Ashley Dawson is Associate Professor of English at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center and the College of Staten Island. He is coeditor of the forthcoming Exceptional State: Contemporary U.S. Culture and the New Imperialism.

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