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Area and Ethnic Studies > American Studies > Asian American Studies

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Coming Home to China Cover

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Coming Home to China

Yi-Fu Tuan

In the summer of 2005, distinguished geographer Yi-Fu Tuan ventured to China to speak at an international architectural conference, returning for the first time to the place he had left as a child sixty-four years before.  He traveled from Beijing to Shanghai, addressing college audiences, floating down the Yangtze River on a riverboat, and visiting his former home in Chongqing. 

 

In this enchanting volume, Tuan’s childhood memories and musings on the places encountered during this homecoming are interspersed with new lectures, engaging overarching principles of human geography as well as the changing Chinese landscape. Throughout, Tuan’s interactions with his hosts, with his colleague’s children, and even with a garrulous tour guide, offer insights into one who has spent his life studying place, culture, and self.

 

At the beginning of his trip, Tuan wondered if he would be a stranger among people who looked like him. By its end, he reevaluates his own self-definition as a hyphenated American and sheds new light on human identity’s complex roots in history, geography, and language.

 

Yi-Fu Tuan is author of Cosmos and Hearth, Dear Colleague, and Space and Place, all from Minnesota. He retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998.

Common Ground Cover

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Common Ground

The Japanese American National Museum and the Culture of Collaborations

By Akemi Kikumura-Yano, Lane R. Hirabayashi, James A. Hirabayashi

"As this collection clearly demonstrates, the Japanese American National Museum rejected the notion of the museum as a fortress of elite culture... [T]he JANM hopes to act as an agent of social change, to both educate and act as a catalyst for community building. Common Ground offers an insider's look at how the [JANM] researches, funds, and creates its exhibits. Unlike other museum studies anthologies . . . this collection does not emphasize academic authors or theoretical framing of issues. . . . The resulting book is written in a highly accessible and, at times, almost journalistic style."— Amerasia Journal

Angeles's Japanese American National Museum, established in 1992, remains the only museum in the United States expressly dedicated to sharing the story of Americans of Japanese ancestry. The National Museum is a unique institution that operates in collaboration with other institutions, museums, researchers, audiences, and funders. In this collection of seventeen essays, anthropologists, art historians, museum curators, writers, designers, and historians provide case studies exploring collaboration with community-oriented partners in order to document, interpret, and present their histories and experiences and provide a new understanding of what museums can and should be in the United States. Current scholarship in museum studies is generally limited to interpretations by scholars and curators. Common Ground brings descriptive data to the intellectual canon and illustrates how museum institutions must be transformed and recreated to suit the needs of the twenty-first century.

Confinement and Ethnicity Cover

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Confinement and Ethnicity

An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites

by Jeffery F. Burton, Mary M. Farrell, Florence B. Lord, and Richard W. Lord

Based on archival research, field visits, and interviews with former residents, this remarkable volume documents in unprecedented detail the various facilities in which persons of Japanese descent living in the western U.S. were confined during World War II. It provides an overview of the architectural remnants, archeological features, artifacts from the various sites, and both historic and present-day photographs.

Consoling Ghosts Cover

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Consoling Ghosts

Stories of Medicine and Mourning from Southeast Asians in Exile

Jean M. Langford

In conversation with emigrants from Laos and Cambodia, Jean M. Langford repeatedly met with spirits: the wandering souls of the seriously ill, dangerous ghosts of those who died by violence, restless ancestors displaced from their homes. For these emigrants, the dead not only appear in memories, safely ensconced in the past, but also erupt with a physical force into the daily life and dreams of the present.

Inspired by these conversations, Consoling Ghosts is a sustained contemplation of relationships with the dying and the dead. At their heart, as Langford’s work reveals, emigrants’ stories are parables not of cultural difference but rather of life and death. Langford inquires how and why spirits become implicated in remembering and responding to violence, whether the bloody violence of war or the more structural violence of social marginalization and poverty. What is at stake, she asks, when spirits break out of their usual confinement as symbolic figures for history, heritage, or trauma to haunt the corridors of hospitals and funeral homes? Emigrants’ theories and stories of ghosts, Langford suggests, inherently question the metaphorical status of spirits, in the process challenging both contemporary bioethics of dying and dominant styles of mourning. Consoling Ghosts explores the possibilities opened up by a more literal existence of ghosts, from the confrontation of shades of past violence through bodily ritual to rites of mourning that unfold in acts of material care for the dead instead of memorialization.

Ultimately the book invites us to consider alternate ways of facing death, conducting relationships with the dead and dying, and addressing the effects of violence that continue to reverberate in bodies and social worlds.

Constructing the Enemy Cover

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Constructing the Enemy

Empathy/Antipathy in U.S. Literature and Law

Rajini Srikanth

In her engaging book, Constructing the Enemy, Rajini Srikanth probes the concept of empathy, attempting to understand its different types and how it is—or isn't—generated and maintained in specific circumstances.

Using literary texts to illuminate issues of power and discussions of law, Srikanth focuses on two case studies— the internment of Japanese citizens and Japanese Americans in World War II, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the detainment of Muslim Americans and individuals from various nations in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Through primary documents and interviews that reveal why and how lawyers become involved in defending those who have been designated “enemies,” Srikanth explores the complex conditions under which engaged citizenship emerges. Constructing the Enemy probes the seductive promise of legal discourse and analyzes the emergence and manifestation of empathy in lawyers and other concerned citizens and the wider consequences of this empathy on the institutions that regulate our lives.

Contemporary Asian American Communities: Intersections And Divergences Cover

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Contemporary Asian American Communities: Intersections And Divergences

Once thought of in terms of geographically bounded spaces, Asian America has undergone profound changes as a result of post-1965 immigration as well as the growth and reshaping of established communities. This collection of original essays demonstrates that conventional notions of community, of ethnic enclaves determined by exclusion and ghettoization, now have limited use in explaining the dynamic processes of contemporary community formation.Writing from a variety of perspectives, these contributors expand the concept of community to include sites not necessarily bounded by space; formations around gender, class, sexuality, and generation reveal new processes as well as the demographic diversity of today's Asian American population. The case studies gathered here speak to the fluidity of these communities and to the need for new analytic approaches to account for the similarities and differences between them. Taken together, these essays forcefully argue that it is time to replace the outworn concept of a monolithic Asian America.

Contemporary Chinese America: Immigration, Ethnicity, and Community Transformation Cover

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Contemporary Chinese America: Immigration, Ethnicity, and Community Transformation

Contemporary Chinese America is the most comprehensive sociological investigation of the experiences of Chinese immigrants to the United States—and of their offspring—in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The author, Min Zhou, is a well-known sociologist of the Chinese American experience. In this volume she collects her original research on a range of subjects, including the causes and consequences of emigration from China, demographic trends of Chinese Americans, patterns of residential mobility in the U.S., Chinese American “ethnoburbs,” immigrant entrepreneurship, ethnic enclave economies, gender and work, Chinese language media, Chinese schools, and intergenerational relations. The concluding chapter, “Rethinking Assimilation,” ponders the future for Chinese Americans. Also included are an extensive bibliography and a list of recommended documentary films.

 

While the book is particularly well-suited for college courses in Chinese American studies, ethnic studies, Asian studies, and immigration studies, it will interest anyone who wants to more fully understand the lived experience of contemporary Chinese Americans.

Cosmopolitan Publics Cover

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Cosmopolitan Publics

Anglophone Print Culture in Semi-Colonial Shanghai

Shuang Shen

Cosmopolitan Publics focuses on China's "cosmopolitans"-Western-educated intellectuals who returned to Shanghai in the late 1920s to publish in English and who, ultimately, became both cultural translators and citizens of the wider world. Shuang Shen highlights their work providing readers with a broader understanding of the role and function of cultural mixing, translation, and multilingualism in China's cultural modernity. Shen's encompassing study revisits and presents the experience of Chinese modernity as far more heterogeneous, emergent, and transnational than it has been characterized until now.

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The Crucible

An Autobiography by Colonel Yay, Filipina American Guerrilla

Yay Panlilio and Edited and with an Introduction by Denise Cruz

In this 1950 memoir, The Crucible: An Autobiography by Colonel Yay, Filipina American Guerrilla, Panlilio narrates her experience as a journalist, triple agent, leader in the Philippine resistance against the Japanese, and lover of the guerrilla general Marcos V. Augustin, from the war-torn streets of Japanese-occupied Manila, to battlegrounds in the countryside, and the rural farmlands of central California. Denise Cruz's introduction imparts key biographical, historical, and cultural contexts.

Culinary Fictions: Food in South Asian Diasporic Culture Cover

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Culinary Fictions: Food in South Asian Diasporic Culture

For South Asians, food regularly plays a role in how issues of race, class, gender, ethnicity, and national identity are imagined as well as how notions of belonging are affirmed or resisted. Culinary Fictions provides food for thought as it considers the metaphors literature, film, and TV shows use to describe Indians abroad. When an immigrant mother in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake combines Rice Krispies, Planters peanuts, onions, salt, lemon juice, and green chili peppers to create a dish similar to one found on Calcutta sidewalks, it evokes not only the character’s Americanization, but also her nostalgia for India.

Food, Anita Mannur writes, is a central part of the cultural imagination of diasporic populations, and Culinary Fictions maps how it figures in various expressive forms. Mannur examines the cultural production from the Anglo-American reaches of the South Asian diaspora. Using texts from novels—Chitra Divakaruni’s Mistress of Spices and Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night—and cookbooks such as Madhur Jaffrey’s Invitation to Indian Cooking and Padma Lakshmi’s Easy Exotic, she illustrates how national identities are consolidated in culinary terms.

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