Essays by ethnographers researching their own ethnic groups
Ethnographic Explorations of Asian America
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edited by Martin F. Manalansan, IV
Cultural Studies Book Award, given by the Association for Asian American Studies, 2000
Cultural Compass rewrites the space of Asian Americans. Through innovative studies of community politics, gender, family and sexual relations, cultural events, and other sites central to the formation of ethnic and citizen identity, contributors reconfigure ethnography according to Asian American experiences in the United States. In these eleven essays, scholars in anthropology, sociology, ethnic studies, and Asian American studies reconsider traditional models for ethnographic research.
Drawing upon recent theoretical discussions and methodological innovations, the contributors explore the construction and displacement of self, community, and home integral to Asian American cultural journeys in the late twentieth century. Some discuss the unique situation of doing ethnographic work "at home"that is researching one's own ethnic group or another group within Asian America. Others draw on rich and diverse field experiences. Whether they are doing homework or fieldwork, contributors reflect on the ways that particular matters of identitygender, class, sexuality, ethnicity, ageplay out between researchers and informants. Individual essays and the book as a whole challenge the notion of a monolithic, spatially bounded Asian American community, pointing the way to multiple sites of political struggle, cultural critique, and social change.
"Cultural Compass is a thought-provoking collection that effectively stages ethnography as a means of interrogating bounded notions of community and identity, setting new terrains of debate for the geographies of transnationalism and its study. It promises to be of great value not only for Asian American Studies and Anthropology, but for interdisciplinary work in Cultural Studies, Ethnic Studies and Diaspora Studies as well."
"Innovative, informative, and intelligent, the essays in the collection reconfigure ethnography according to the experiences of Asians in the United States. Individually, they provide incisive portraits of the various Asian American communities; collectively, they chart new directions for a critical Asian American ethnography that attends to multiple strategies and readings and to multiple sites of political struggles, cultural practices, and social activism."
Part I: Writing Asian America: Locating the Field and the Home
Part II: The Sites of Identity and Community
Part III: Beyond Asian America and Back
Martin F. Manalansan is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Contributors: Linda Trinh Vő, Miliann Kang, Andrea Louie, Rick Bonus, Aihwa Ong, Gina Masequesmay, Benito M. Vergara Jr., Kyeyoung Park, Karen Leonard, Louisa Schein, and Timothy Keeyen Choy.
In the series
Asian American History and Culture, edited by Sucheng Chan, David Palumbo-Liu, Michael Omi, K. Scott Wong, and Linda Trinh Vő.
The "standard" written histories of Asian immigrants to the United States have been imbued with Western cultural biases. As a critique and corrective to earlier work, Asian American History and Culture, edited by Sucheng Chan, David Palumbo-Liu, Michael Omi, K. Scott Wong, and Linda Trinh Vő, aims to develop a history of Asian Americans that is compatible with their own experience, that treats Asian Americans as agents of historical change and as creators of a new culture. In addition, this series intends to focus on the groups that are flourishing in the contemporary U.S.Filipinos, Koreans, Vietnameseabout whom little has been written as well as to add to the substantial work done on the Chinese and Japanese in this country.