By David Palumbo-Liu
This ebook argues that the discovery of Asian American identities serves as an index to the ancient formation of recent the United States. via tracing structures of “Asian American” to an interpenetrating dynamic among Asia and the USA, the writer obtains a deeper realizing of key concerns in American tradition, background, and society.The formation of the US within the 20th century has had every little thing to do with “westward growth” around the “Pacific frontier” and the stream of Asians onto American soil. After the passage of the final piece of anti-Asian laws within the 1930’s, the U.S. chanced on it needed to grapple with either the presence of Asians already in the United States and the principal to advance its neocolonial pursuits in East Asia. the writer argues that, lower than those double imperatives, an exceptional wall among “Asian” and “American” is built accurately while the 2 threatened to merge. but the very incompleteness of yank id has allowed particular and contingent fusion of “Asian” and “American” at specific ancient junctures.From the importation of Asian hard work within the mid-nineteenth century, the territorialization of Hawaii and the Philippines within the late-nineteenth century, via wars with Japan, Korea, and Vietnam and the chilly conflict with China, to today’s Asian Pacific fiscal Cooperation workforce, the USA within the sleek age has visible its nationwide id as strongly hooked up to the Pacific. As this has taken position, so has the formation of numerous Asian American identities. every one incorporates a particular concept of the United States and divulges a specific notion of “Asian” and “American.”Complicating the standard idea of “identity politics” and drawing on quite a lot of writings—sociological, historic, cultural, clinical, anthropological, geographic, monetary, journalistic, and political—the writer stories either how the formation of those identifications discloses the reaction of the US to the presence of Asians and the way Asian american citizens themselves have inhabited those roles and resisted such categorizations, inventing their very own specific subjectivities as americans.
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Extra resources for Asian American: historical crossings of a racial frontier
I pay particular attention to the new techniques of plastic and reconstructive surgery developed in the mid-twentieth century, as they are deployed to hasten the slow physical transformation of immigrants into Americans. I then place these practices of body fashioning within the context of the contemporary age, with its own particular anxieties with regard to "diversity," and examine the instantiation of a new aesthetic of symmetry. Rather than similitude, "symmetry'' seeks to entirely bypass the imaging of race.
This constant transitivity evinces precisely the malleability and resistance of "America" with regard to racial reformation. "Asian/American" of course collects together an unwieldy set of points of "origin" traceable to different Asian states (and often enough that "origin" is visible only after tracking complex and heterogeneous diasporic movements). There are significant differences between the histories of these various groups, which become blurred when they are forced together under that single rubric.
I dedicate this book to those without whom this study could never even have been begun, much less been written: I am profoundly grateful to L. Ling-chi Page vi Wang for bringing me into the field at Berkeley more years (indeed, now decades) ago than either of us would want to admit, and for continuing to be a model, mentor, and inspiration; to Sau-ling C. Wong, for being an exemplary reader, critic, colleague, friend, and moral compass; to Sucheng Chan, for her personal support and for her unending sacrifices for and commitment to a field she helped inaugurate; to all those colleagues, students, staff, and community members who have tirelessly worked to further the cause of Asian American studies despite unending frustration; and, finally, to Sylvie and Fabrice for weathering many of these storms with me It is in the hope that this book might be a guidepost to a historical formation that deeply shaped his father's life that I write it for my son.
Asian American: historical crossings of a racial frontier by David Palumbo-Liu