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Intersections: Asian and Pacific American Transcultural studies

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Intersections: Asian and Pacific American Transcultural studies

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The Blind Writer

Stories and a Novella

Sameer Pandya

Together, the five stories and novella in this collection follow the lives of first- and second-generation Indian Americans living in contemporary California. The characters share a similar sensibility: a sense that immigration is a distant memory, yet an experience that continues to shape the decisions they make in subtle and surprising ways as they go about the complicated business of everyday living. The collection is anchored by the title novella about a love triangle between an aging, blind writer, his younger beautiful wife, and a young man desperate to start a writing life. Over several months, the three will get to know one another and move toward a moment that will change the lives of each of them forever.

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The Dance of Identities

Korean Adoptees and Their Journey toward Empowerment

by John D. Palmer

Korean adoptees have a difficult time relating to any of the racial identity models because they are people of color who often grew up in white homes and communities. Biracial and nonadopted people of color typically have at least one parent whom they can racially identify with, which may also allow them access to certain racialized groups. When Korean adoptees attempt to immerse into the Korean community, they feel uncomfortable and unwelcome because they are unfamiliar with Korean customs and language. The Dance of Identities looks at how Korean adoptees "dance," or engage, with their various identities (white, Korean, Korean adoptee, and those in between and beyond) and begin the journey toward self-discovery and empowerment. Throughout the author draws closely on his own experiences and those of thirty-eight other Korean adoptees, mainly from the U.S. Chapters are organized according to major themes that emerged from interviews with adoptees. "Wanting to be like White" examines assimilation into a White middle-class identity during childhood. Although their White identity may be challenged at times, for the most part adoptees feel accepted as "honorary" Whites among their families and friends. "Opening Pandora’s Box" discusses the shattering of adoptees’ early views on race and racism and the problems of being raised colorblind in a race-conscious society. "Engaging and Reflecting" is filled with adoptee voices as they discover their racial and transracial identities as young adults. During this stage many engage in activities that they believe make more culturally Korean, such as joining Korean churches and Korean student associations in college. "Questioning What I Have Done" delves into the issues that arise when Korean adoptees explore their multiple identities and the possible effects on relationships with parents and spouses. In "Empowering Identities" the author explores how adoptees are able to take control of their racial and transracial identities by reaching out to parents, prospective parents, and adoption agencies and by educating Korean and Korean Americans about their lives. The final chapter, "Linking the Dance of Identities Theory to Life Experiences," reiterates for adoptees, parents, adoption agencies, and social justice activists and educators the need for identity journeys and the empowered identities that can result. The Dance of Identities is an honest look at the complex nature of race and how we can begin to address race and racism from a fresh perspective. It will be well received by not only members of the Korean adoption community and transracial parents, but also Asian American scholars, educators, and social workers.

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From Okinawa to the Americas

Hana Yamagawa and Her Reminiscences of a Century

Edited by Akiko Yamagawa Hibbett

Between 1889 and 1940 more than 40,000 Okinawan contract laborers emigrated to plantations in Hawaii, Brazil, the Philippines, and Peru. In 1912 seventeen-year-old Hana Kaneshi accompanied her husband and brother to South America and dreamed of returning home in two years’ time a wealthy young woman. Edited by her daughter Akiko, Hana’s richly detailed memoir is a rare, first-hand account of the life of a female Okinawan immigrant in the New World. It spans nearly a century, from Hana’s early life in a small village not long after the Ryukyu Kingdom’s annexation to Japan; to a sugar plantation in Peru and its capital, Lima; to her dangerous trek through Mexico and the California desert to enter the U.S. and start a new life, this time in the Imperial Valley and finally Los Angeles. Hana’s story comes full circle when she returns briefly, after forty-seven years, to Okinawa during the postwar American Occupation. From Okinawa to the Americas will appeal to not only students of Asian American and disapora studies, but also those seeking to understand the complexity of Okinawan culture and the networks of family relationships in Okinawa and in its overseas immigrant communities.

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Out of the Dust

New and Selected Poems

by Janice Mirikitani

Out of the Dust is a collection of new poems by activist, leader, poet, and editor Janice Mirikitani. After being named San Francisco’s second Poet Laureate in 2000, this fifth book of poems from Mirikitani was written in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Drawing from her own background as a Sansei (third generation) Japanese American, Mirikitani reflects on the many ways we connect through the dust and our ability to rise and renew ourselves from this place. From the dust of the World Trade Center in New York to the retaliatory ashes of the dead in America’s war in Afghanistan, the poems in this volume seek to explicate the connections of our humanity to the reactionary profiling of people of Middle Eastern descent and different ethnicities, comparing these choices to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

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Romancing Human Rights

Gender, Intimacy, and Power between Burma and the West

Tamara C. Ho

Highlighting and critiquing Burma's fraught terrain, Ho’s Romancing Human Rights maps “Burmese women” as real and imagined figures across the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century. More than a recitation of “on the ground” facts, Ho’s groundbreaking scholarship—the first monograph to examine Anglophone literature and dynamics of gender and race in relation to Burma—brings a critical lens to contemporary literature, film, and politics through the use of an innovative feminist/queer methodology. She crosses intellectual boundaries to illustrate how literary and gender analysis can contribute to discourses surrounding and informing human rights—and in the process offers a new voice in the debates about representation, racialization, migration, and spirituality.

Romancing Human Rights demonstrates how Burmese women break out of prisons, both real and discursive, by writing themselves into being. Ho assembles an eclectic archive that includes George Orwell, Aung San Suu Kyi, critically acclaimed authors Ma Ma Lay and Wendy Law-Yone, and activist Zoya Phan. Her close readings of literature and politicized performances by women in Burma, the Burmese diaspora, and the United States illuminate their contributions as authors, cultural mediators, and practitioner-citizens. Using flexible, polyglot rhetorical tactics and embodied performances, these authors creatively articulate alter/native epistemologies—regionally situated knowledges and decolonizing viewpoints that interrogate and destabilize competing transnational hegemonies, such as U.S. moral imperialism and Asian militarized dictatorship.

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Rosebud and Other Stories

Wakako Yamauchi and edited by Lillian Howan

Secret desires, unfulfilled longing, and irrepressible humor flow through the stories of Wakako Yamauchi, writings that depict the lives of Nisei, second-generation Japanese Americans. Through the medium of Yamauchi’s storytelling, readers enter the world of desert farmers, factory workers, gamblers, housewives, con artists, and dreamers. Elegantly simple in words and complex in resonance, her stories reveal hidden strength, resilience, and the persistence of hope.

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Ship of Fate

Memoir of a Vietnamese Repatriate

Trần Đình Trụ, translated by Bac Hoai Tran and Jana K. Lipman

Ship of Fate tells the emotionally gripping story of a Vietnamese military officer who evacuated from Saigon in 1975 but made the dramatic decision to return to Vietnam for his wife and children, rather than resettle in the United States without them. Written in Vietnamese in the years just after 1991, when he and his family finally immigrated to the United States, Trần Đình Trụ’s memoir provides a detailed and searing account of his individual trauma as a refugee in limbo, and then as a prisoner in the Vietnamese reeducation camps.

In April 1975, more than 120,000 Indochinese refugees sought and soon gained resettlement in the United States. While waiting in the Guam refugee camps, however, approximately 1,500 Vietnamese men and women insisted in no uncertain terms on being repatriated back to Vietnam. Trần was one of these repatriates. To resolve the escalating crisis, the U.S. government granted the Vietnamese a large ship, the Việt Nam Thương Tín. An experienced naval commander, Trần became the captain of the ship and sailed the repatriates back to Vietnam in October 1975. On return, he was imprisoned and underwent forced labor for more than twelve years.

Trần’s account reveals a hidden history of refugee camps on Guam, internal divisions among Vietnamese refugees, political disputes between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the U.S. government, and the horror of the postwar “reeducation” camps. While there are countless books on the U.S. war in Vietnam, there are still relatively few in English that narrate the war from a Vietnamese perspective. This translation adds new and unexpected dimensions to the U.S. military’s final withdrawal from Vietnam.

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Tomorrow's Memories

A Diary, 1924-1928

by Angeles Monrayo and edited by Rizaline R. Raymundo

Angeles Monrayo (1912–2000) began her diary on January 10, 1924, a few months before she and her father and older brother moved from a sugar plantation in Waipahu to Pablo Manlapit’s strike camp in Honolulu. Here for the first time is a young Filipino girl’s view of life in Hawaii and central California in the first decades of the twentieth century—a significant and often turbulent period for immigrant and migrant labor in both settings. Angeles’ vivid, simple language takes us into the heart of an early Filipino family as its members come to terms with poverty and racism and struggle to build new lives in a new world. But even as Angeles recounts the hardships of immigrant life, her diary of "everyday things" never lets us forget that she and the people around her went to school and church, enjoyed music and dancing, told jokes, went to the movies, and fell in love. Essays by Jonathan Okamura and Dawn Mabalon enlarge on Angeles’ account of early working-class Filipinos and situate her experience in the larger history of Filipino migration to the United States.

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Transforming the Ivory Tower

Challenging Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia in the Academy

edited by Brett C. Stockdill and Mary Yu Danico

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.

Contributors: Michael Armato , Rick Bonus, Jose Guillermo Zapata Calderon, Mary Yu Danico, Christina Gómez , David Naguib Pellow, Brett C. Stockdill, Linda Trinh Võ.

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What Is Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics?

by Tat-siong Benny Liew

This is the first single-authored book on Asian American biblical interpretation. It covers all of the major genres within the New Testament and broadens biblical hermeneutics to cover not only the biblical texts, but also Asian American literature and current films and events like genome research and September 11. Despite its range, the book is organized around three foci: methodology (the distinguishing characteristics or sensibilities of Asian American biblical hermeneutics), community (the politics of inclusion and exclusion), and agency. The work intentionally affirms Asian America as a panethnic coalition while acknowledging the differences within it. In other words, it attempts to balance Asian American panethnicity and heterogeneity, or coalition building and identity politics.

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