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Area and Ethnic Studies > American Studies > Asian American Studies

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Hog’s Exit Cover

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Hog’s Exit

Jerry Daniels, the Hmong, and the CIA

Gayle L. Morrison

It just didn’t sit right. Not with his friends, not with his coworkers, not with his hunting and fishing buddies, and certainly not with his family. The American Embassy in Bangkok had reported the accidental death of Jerry “Hog” Daniels by carbon monoxide poisoning. Three decades later, his family and most of his friends remain unconvinced that the U.S. government told them the truth about his death.
            As a former CIA case officer to legendary Hmong leader General Vang Pao during the “secret war” in Laos, Jerry Daniels was experienced, smart, and careful. Those who knew him well said he wasn’t the type to die as reported. Raising even more doubts, his casket was “Permanently Sealed” by the U.S. State Department before being shipped home to Missoula, Montana, where he was honored with a three-day funeral ceremony organized by his former comrades-in-arms, the Hmong hilltribe warriors from Laos.
            This book examines the unique personality and reported death of a man who was a pivotal agent in U.S./Hmong history. Friends and family share their memories of Daniels growing up in Montana, cheating death in Laos, and carousing in the bars and brothels of Thailand. First-person accounts from Americans and Hmong, ranchers and refugees, State Department officials and smokejumpers capture both human and historical stories about the life of this dedicated and irreverent individual and offer speculation on the unsettling circumstances of his death. Equally important, Hog’s Exit is the first complete account in English to document the drama and beauty of the Hmong funeral process.
            Hog’s Exit provides a fascinating view of a man and the two very different cultures in which he lived.

Hollywood Asian Cover

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Hollywood Asian

Philip Ahn and the Politics of Cross-Ethnic Performance

Hye Seung Chung

From silent films to television programs, Hollywood has employed actors of various ethnicities to represent "Oriental"characters, from Caucasian stars like Loretta Young made up in yellow-face to Korean American pioneer Philip Ahn, whose more than 200 screen performances included roles as sadistic Japanese military officers in World War II movies and a wronged Chinese merchant in the TV show Bonanza. The first book-length study of Korean identities in American cinema and television, Hollywood Asian investigates the career of Ahn (1905-1978), a pioneering Asian American screen icon and son of celebrated Korean nationalist An Ch'ang-ho. In this groundbreaking scholarly study, Hye Seung Chung examines Ahn's career to suggest new theoretical paradigms for addressing cross-ethnic performance and Asian American spectatorship. Incorporating original material from a wide range of sources, including U.S. government and Hollywood screen archives, Chung's work offers a provocative and original contribution to cinema studies, cultural studies, and Asian American as well as Korean history.

Hollywood Goes Oriental Cover

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Hollywood Goes Oriental

CaucAsian Performance in American Film

Karla Rae Fuller

An in-depth look at the portrayal of Asian characters by non-Asian actors in classical Hollywood film.

Holy Prayers in a Horse's Ear Cover

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Holy Prayers in a Horse's Ear

A Japanese American Memoir

Kathleen Tamagawa, Edited by Greg Robinson and Elena Tajima Creef

Originally published in 1932, Kathleen Tamagawa’s pioneering Asian American memoir is a sensitive and thoughtful look at the personal and social complexities of growing up racially mixed during the early twentieth century. Born in 1893 to an Irish American mother and a Japanese father and raised in Chicago and Japan, Tamagawa reflects on the difficulty she experienced fitting into either parent’s native culture.

            She describes how, in America, her every personal quirk and quality was seen as quintessentially Japanese and how she was met unpredictably with admiration or fear—perceived as a “Japanese doll” or “the yellow menace.” When her family later moved to Japan, she was viewed there as a “Yankee,” and remained an outsider in that country as well. As an adult she came back to the United States as an American diplomat’s wife, but had trouble feeling at home in any place.

            This edition, which also includes Tamagawa’s recently rediscovered short story, “A Fit in Japan,” and a critical introduction, will challenge readers to reconsider how complex ethnic identities are negotiated and how feelings of alienation limit human identification in any society. 

 

How to Be South Asian in America: Narratives of Ambivalence and Belonging Cover

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How to Be South Asian in America: Narratives of Ambivalence and Belonging

Providing a useful analysis of and framework for understanding immigration and assimilation narratives, anupama jain's How to Be South Asian in America considers the myth of the American Dream in fiction (Meena Alexander's Manhattan Music), film (American Desi, American Chai), and personal testimonies. By interrogating familiar American stories in the context of more supposedly exotic narratives, jain illuminates complexities of belonging that also reveal South Asians' anxieties about belonging, (trans)nationalism, and processes of cultural interpenetration.

jain argues that these stories transform as well as reflect cultural processes, and she shows just how aspects of identity—gender, sexual, class, ethnic, national—are shaped by South Asians' accommodation of and resistance to mainstream American culture.

Imprisoned Apart Cover

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Imprisoned Apart

The World War II Correspondence of an Issei Couple

Louis Fiset

Scholar Iwao Matsushita was interned as an enemy alien at Fort Missoula in Montana, his wife Hanaye at the Minidoka Relocation Center in southwestern Idaho. Their letters tell a poignant story of ignominy and despair.

In Defense of Justice Cover

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In Defense of Justice

Joseph Kurihara and the Japanese American Struggle for Equality

Eileen H. Tamura

As a leading dissident in the World War II concentration camps for Japanese Americans, the controversial figure Joseph Yoshisuke Kurihara stands out as an icon of Japanese American resistance. In this astute biography, Kurihara's life provides a window into the history of Japanese Americans during the first half of the twentieth century. Born in Hawai'i to Japanese parents who immigrated to work on the sugar plantations, Kurihara Kurihara was transformed by the forced removal and incarceration of ethnic Japanese during World War II. As an inmate at Manzanar in California, Kurihara became one of the leaders of a dissident group within the camp and was implicated in the Manzanar incident, a serious civil disturbance that erupted on December 6, 1942. In 1945, after three years and seven months of incarceration, he renounced his U.S. citizenship and boarded a ship for Japan, never to return to the United States. Shedding light on the turmoil within the camps as well as the sensitive and formerly unspoken issue of citizenship renunciation among Japanese Americans, In Defense of Justice explores one man's struggles with the complexities of loyalty and resistance.

In Pursuit of Gold Cover

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In Pursuit of Gold

Chinese American Miners and Merchants in the American West

Sue Fawn Chung

Both a history of an overlooked community and a well-rounded reassessment of prevailing assumptions about Chinese immigrants in the American West, In Pursuit of Gold brings to life the world of turn-of-the-century mining towns in the Northwest. Sue Fawn Chung meticulously recreates the lives of Chinese immigrants, miners, merchants, and others who populated these towns and interacted amicably with their white and Native American neighbors, defying the common perception of nineteenth-century Chinese communities as insular enclaves subject to increasing prejudice and violence. Peppered with fascinating details about these communities from the intricacies of Chinese gambling games to the techniques of hydraulic mining, In Pursuit of Gold draws on a wealth of historical materials, including immigration records, census manuscripts, legal documents, newspapers, memoirs, and manuscript collections.

Indian Accents Cover

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Indian Accents

Brown Voice and Racial Performance in American Television and Film

Shilpa S. Dave

Amid immigrant narratives of assimilation, Indian Accents focuses on the representations and stereotypes of South Asian characters in American film and television. Exploring key examples in popular culture ranging from Peter Sellers' portrayal of Hrundi Bakshi in the 1968 film The Party to contemporary representations such as Apu from The Simpsons and characters in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, Shilpa S. Dave develops the ideas of "accent," "brownface," and "brown voice" as new ways to explore the racialization of South Asians beyond just visual appearance. Dave relates these examples to earlier scholarship on blackface, race, and performance to show how "accents" are a means of representing racial difference, national origin, and belonging, as well as distinctions of class and privilege. While focusing on racial impersonations in mainstream film and television, Indian Accents also amplifies the work of South Asian American actors who push back against brown voice performances, showing how strategic use of accent can expand and challenge such narrow stereotypes.

Ingratitude Cover

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Ingratitude

The Debt-Bound Daughter in Asian American Literature

erin Ninh, 0, 0

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