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U.S. Imperialism and the Problem of the Color Line
Indian Dance as Transnational Labor
A groundbreaking book that seeks to understand dance as labor, Sweating Saris examines dancers not just as aesthetic bodies but as transnational migrant workers and wage earners who negotiate citizenship and gender issues.
Srinivasan merges ethnography, history, critical race theory, performance and post-colonial studies among other disciplines to investigate the embodied experience of Indian dance. The dancers’ sweat stained and soaked saris, the aching limbs are emblematic of global circulations of labor, bodies, capital, and industrial goods. Thus the sweating sari of the dancer stands in for her unrecognized labor.
Srinivasan shifts away from the usual emphasis on Indian women dancers as culture bearers of the Indian nation. She asks us to reframe the movements of late nineteenth century transnational Nautch Indian dancers to the foremother of modern dance Ruth St. Denis in the early twentieth century to contemporary teenage dancers in Southern California, proposing a transformative theory of dance, gendered-labor, and citizenship that is far-reaching.
The Chinatowns of Portland, Oregon
Drawing on immigration and other records, Wong chronicles the history of Portland’s Chinatowns from their early beginnings in the 1850s until the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in the 1940s. She clarifies the role that the early Chinese immigrants played in determining their own community destiny and the development of their Chinatown in urban form and vernacular architectural expression.
Asian American Women Writers and the Politics of Speech
Tell This Silence by Patti Duncan explores multiple meanings of speech and silence in Asian American women's writings in order to explore relationships among race, gender, sexuality, and national identity. Duncan argues that contemporary definitions of U.S. feminism must be expanded to recognize the ways in which Asian American women have resisted and continue to challenge the various forms of oppression in their lives. There has not yet been adequate discussion of the multiple meanings of silence and speech, especially in relation to activism and social-justice movements in the U.S. In particular, the very notion of silence continues to invoke assumptions of passivity, submissiveness, and avoidance, while speech is equated with action and empowerment.
However, as the writers discussed in Tell This Silence suggest, silence too has multiple meanings especially in contexts like the U.S., where speech has never been a guaranteed right for all citizens. Duncan argues that writers such as Maxine Hong Kingston, Mitsuye Yamada, Joy Kogawa, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Nora Okja Keller, and Anchee Min deploy silence as a means of resistance. Juxtaposing their “unofficial narratives” against other histories—official U.S. histories that have excluded them and American feminist narratives that have stereotyped them or distorted their participation—they argue for recognition of their cultural participation and offer analyses of the intersections among gender, race, nation, and sexuality.
Tell This Silence offers innovative ways to consider Asian American gender politics, feminism, and issues of immigration and language. This exciting new study will be of interest to literary theorists and scholars in women's, American, and Asian American studies.
History and Hybridity in Vietnamese American Literature
In the first book-length study of Vietnamese American literature, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud probes the complexities of Vietnamese American identity and politics. She provides an analytical introduction to the literature, showing how generational differences play out in genre and text. In addition, she asks, can the term Vietnamese American be disassociated from representations of the war without erasing its legacy?
Pelaud delineates the historical, social, and cultural terrains of the writing as well as the critical receptions and responses to them. She moves beyond the common focus on the Vietnam war to develop an interpretive framework that integrates post-colonialism with the multi-generational refugee, immigrant, and transnational experiences at the center of Vietnamese American narratives.
Her readings of key works, such as Andrew Pham's Catfish and Mandala and Lan Cao's Monkey Bridge show how trauma, racism, class and gender play a role in shaping the identities of Vietnamese American characters and narrators.
The Chinese Literary Diaspora and the Politics of Global Culture
An exciting analysis of the myriad literary effects of Tiananmen, Belinda Kong's Tiananmen Fictions Outside the Square is the first full-length study of fictions related to the 1989 movement and massacre. More than any other episode in recent world history, Tiananmen has brought a distinctly politicized Chinese literary diaspora into stark relief.
Kong redefines Tiananmen's meaning from an event that ended in local political failure to one that succeeded in producing a vital dimension of contemporary transnational writing today. She spotlights key writers-Gao Xingjian, Ha Jin, Annie Wang, and Ma Jian-who have written and published about the massacre from abroad. Their outsider/distanced perspectives inform their work, and reveal how diaspora writers continually reimagine Tiananmen's relevance to the post-1989 world at large.
Compelling us to think about how Chinese culture, identity, and politics are being defined in the diaspora, Tiananmen Fictions Outside the Square candidly addresses issues of political exile, historical trauma, global capital, and state biopower.
Iranian dissident and exile Shahrnush Parsipur uses magical realism and Persian myths to distill the first eight decades of the 20th century in Iran, including British and Russian imperialism, the reigns of two shahs – which a U.S.-backed coup ended – and the advent of the Islamic Revolution. Touba, the main character, marries at 14 to provide for her family, delves into sufism, marries and divorces a prince, participates in an honor killing and is haunted by the social and political traumas of the modern era.
How Feminism and Diversity are Making a Difference
Gender roles are changing dramatically in modern Japan. LGBT people are coming out of the closet; single mothers are an expanding population; ethnic minorities are mobilizing for change; women are becoming political leaders and even professional wrestlers. And some Japanese men are taking on the role of househusband. This is a comprehensive collection of essays from Japanese scholars and activists exploring gender, sexuality, race, discrimination, power, and human rights.
Challenging Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia in the Academy
People outside and within colleges and universities often view these institutions as fair and reasonable, far removed from the inequalities that afflict society in general. Despite greater numbers of women, working class people, and people of color—as well as increased visibility for LGBTQ students and staff—over the past fifty years, universities remain “ivory towers” that perpetuate institutionalized forms of sexism, classism, racism, and homophobia. Transforming the Ivory Tower builds on the rich legacy of historical struggles to open universities to dissenting voices and oppressed groups. Each chapter is guided by a commitment to praxis—the idea that theoretical understandings of inequality must be applied to concrete strategies for change. The common misconception that racism, sexism, and homophobia no longer plague university life heightens the difficulty to dismantle the interlocking forms of oppression that undergird the ivory tower. Contributors demonstrate that women, LGBTQ people, and people of color continue to face systemic forms of bias and discrimination on campuses throughout the U.S. Curriculum and pedagogy, evaluation of scholarship, and the processes of tenure and promotion are all laden with inequities both blatant and covert. The contributors to this volume defy the pressure to assimilate by critically examining personal and collective struggles. Speaking from different social spaces and backgrounds, they analyze antiracist, feminist, and queer approaches to teaching and mentoring, research and writing, academic culture and practices, growth and development of disciplines, campus activism, university-community partnerships, and confronting privilege. Transforming the Ivory Tower will be required reading for all students, faculty, and administrators seeking to understand bias and discrimination in higher education and to engage in social justice work on and off college campuses. It offers a proactive approach encompassing institutional and cultural changes that foster respect, inclusion, and transformation.
Remapping the Americas and the Pacific