- Editor's Note
The five essays in this issue exemplify the types of transnational interdisciplinary scholarship in which our editorial board is particularly invested. Conceptually ambitious, methodologically innovative, and analytically original, these essays represent the state of the field, and they are also impressive in their thematic, chronological, and geographic spread and their relevance to contemporary politics both domestic and global.
Kendall A. Johnson's "The Sacred Fonts and Racial Frames of the American Mission Press: Mongolian Type, Chinese Exclusion, and the Transnational Figuration of Savagery" is especially remarkable in its historical and geographic scope. Johnson discusses the print evangelism of mid-nineteenth-century American missionaries in South China and its international circuitry as well as the racialist ideas underpinning the mission that resurfaced during the debates over the exclusion of Chinese immigrants to the United States. Leslie Bow looks at a much different type of transnational circulation of "Asian thing" a century and a half later through her analysis of affect involved in Asian American spectatorship of cute racial kitsch. Looking at "unfunny jokes" about America that circulated in Turkey in the mid-twentieth century, Perin E. Gürel traces how culture travels across nation-states situated in uneven relations of power, specifically when the United States sought to establish itself as a benevolent world power while also driving economic and cultural change in newly independent nations. In "Like a Refugee: Veterans, Vietnam, and the Making of a False Equivalence," Joseph Darda presents an incisive analysis of the narrative that compares veterans to refugees that emerged in the wake of the Vietnam War and how it erased real Southeast Asian refugees while bolstering pro-veteran and anti-refugee policies. Sarah Lopez examines the construction and design of immigration detention centers in Texas since the 1960s in relation to immigration and private prison practices, showing the material reality of criminalization of migration and its long-term consequences.
The forum, "Centering Pleasure and Anti-Respectability in Black Studies," convened by Christina Carney, pulls together an exciting array of essays that address sexuality and pleasure, topics that have been difficult to tackle in black studies. Building on Stacey Patton's important essay and the discussions at the conference held at the University of Missouri in October 2017, the essays examine the workings of the politics of respectability and heteropatriarchy in both antiblackness and within the black community. The compilation of diverse [End Page vii] ideas and voices in the forum advances the conversations on race, sexuality, and pleasure in critical ways.
The three book reviews, by Gabriella Friedman, Karen Buenavista Hanna and Mark John Sanchez, and Esmat Elhalaby, discuss new works on speculation, cultures of empire and international solidarity, and the role of area studies in the United States and the world. In Event Reviews, A. B. Wilkinson discusses the exhibit on Sally Hemings at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, and Dorinne Kondo reviews David Henry Hwang's groundbreaking new musical, Soft Power. Digital Project Reviews features three works: Donna Arkee discusses the Hackers of Resistance, a multimedia performance art collective that explores the realities of cis and trans women of color in a neoliberal surveillance state; Carly A. Kocurek reviews Baltimore '68: Riots and Rebirth, an online archive of the multifaceted project reflecting on the city in what is commonly understood as a tumultuous watershed moment in world history. Finally, Jim McGrath discusses the digital project Newest Americans, which presents polyvocal narratives and images of the emerging minority-majority population of Newark, New Jersey. [End Page viii]