Assembling Asian/American Naturecultures: Orientalism and Invited Invasions

This essay de-centers the human for a more ecological perspective. Drawing on Haraway’s “naturecultures” and Deleuze and Guattari’s “assemblages,” the authors collaborate across the humanities and sciences to rethink Asian/America as a multispecies, naturecultural, and transnational phenomenon. After offering a theoretical foundation, the essay connects Asian/American Studies to issues in the biological sciences, and discusses how Said’s theory of Orientalism resonates in a multispecies paradigm – specifically, the nativism and xenophobia of “invasion biology” that vilifies foreign species with strident calls for their eradication. Case studies reveal that it is not an essential predilection to invasion, but the conditions of globalization that generate so-called invasions. The authors conclude that solutions must move from targeting species to a reconsideration of the larger forces that “invite” invasions and that assembling Asian/America generate interdisciplinary academic and political partnerships that can better solve the problems of the 21st century.