Asian American: historical crossings of a racial frontier by David Palumbo-Liu PDF

By David Palumbo-Liu

This ebook argues that the discovery of Asian American identities serves as an index to the old formation of recent the USA. via tracing buildings of “Asian American” to an interpenetrating dynamic among Asia and the US, the writer obtains a deeper realizing of key concerns in American tradition, heritage, and society.The formation of the United States within the 20th century has had every little thing to do with “westward growth” around the “Pacific frontier” and the stream of Asians onto American soil. After the passage of the final piece of anti-Asian laws within the 1930’s, the us came upon it needed to grapple with either the presence of Asians already in the USA and the crucial to strengthen its neocolonial pursuits in East Asia. the writer argues that, below those double imperatives, an outstanding wall among “Asian” and “American” is developed accurately whilst the 2 threatened to merge. but the very incompleteness of yank identification has allowed particular and contingent fusion of “Asian” and “American” at specific ancient junctures.From the importation of Asian exertions within the mid-nineteenth century, the territorialization of Hawaii and the Philippines within the late-nineteenth century, via wars with Japan, Korea, and Vietnam and the chilly battle with China, to today’s Asian Pacific monetary Cooperation crew, the U.S. within the smooth age has noticeable its nationwide id as strongly hooked up to the Pacific. As this has taken position, so has the formation of a number of Asian American identities. every one features a particular concept of the United States and divulges a selected notion of “Asian” and “American.”Complicating the standard suggestion of “identity politics” and drawing on quite a lot of writings—sociological, old, cultural, scientific, anthropological, geographic, financial, journalistic, and political—the writer experiences either how the formation of those identifications discloses the reaction of the United States to the presence of Asians and the way Asian americans themselves have inhabited those roles and resisted such categorizations, inventing their very own specific subjectivities as americans.

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Additional info for Asian American: historical crossings of a racial frontier

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This aesthetic is read within various historical occasions of migrancy, from mid-century to the present day. Here the body is seen as a reproductive entity whose decisions and actions sexually reflect the specific character of Asian migration and assimilation, and dramatize the cultural tension of modern migrancy in racial terms, specifically as these new negotiations impact upon the "face" of the nation. I pay particular attention to the new techniques of plastic and reconstructive surgery developed in the mid-twentieth century, as they are deployed to hasten the slow physical transformation of immigrants into Americans.

How do these national places bear the specifying marks of race and ethnicity, and how is place inflected by different identificatory desires? How is it possessed differently? Chapter 8, "Demarcations and Fissures: Reconstructing Space," looks at the restructuring of urban and suburban space in the postwar years, specifically as new transnational economies penetrate the local and give rise to a set of anxieties regarding this particularly visible appearance of Asian America. This notion takes as its evidence the more pronounced presence of ethnic populations in assumed "American" spacestheir storefronts, products, commodities, and bodies are all taken as signs of America's inability to maintain its borders and to sustain itself.

These changes evince specific, historicized political economies whose complexities appear in a revised notion of hybridity driven by modernity. The very integrity of America is now seen as open to a particularly modern kind of penetration, one that broke up apparent purities and mixed them with foreign elements. The result, in American bodies, psyches, and spaces, constitutes a particular facet of Asian America. "Hybridity" here designates a specific, temporalized dialectic, viewed not so much as America "absorbing'' the foreign (in the usual model of assimilation), as it is at once an integrative and reformulative model, in which both the "domestic" and "foreign" are constantly revised.

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