The first comprehensive study of the peripheral position and invisibility of South Asian perspectives within Asian America
A Part, Yet Apart
South Asians in Asian America
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edited by Lavina Dhingra Shankar and Rajini Srikanth
As people from the cultures of the Indian subcontinent increasingly participate in the complex and often heated debates about race and ethnicity in the United States, they confront questions about naming and claiming an identity that designates their group in this country. To be sure, claiming any single identity omits, perhaps threatens to obliterate, the significant political, historical, economic, and religious differences between their countries of origin. However, the term "South Asian" is growing in acceptance among people in this country who trace their heritage to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Maldives because it acknowledges common interests while it allows for difference.
This construction process parallels the gradual acceptance of the term "Asian American" by peoples primarily of East and Southeast Asian ancestry who found abundant reason to claim a shared identity in dealing with officialdom and an apparently intractable racism in this country. In time, "Asian American" has become a designation of collective pride for a wide range of peoples. In academic institutions and society generally, there are vexed questions about the term's inclusiveness and the dominance of established groups over more recent ones.
A Part, Yet Apart: South Asians in Asian America concerns itself with the extent to which South Asian Americans are and ought to be included within Asian America as that term is applied to academic programs and admission policies; grassroots community organizing and politics more broadly; and critical analyses of cultural products. Taken together these essays form a spirited dialogue on the dilemmas of identity politics, coalition building, and diasporics.
"Given that the dazzling variety of subject positions and intersectionalities constitute a riddle that cannot be solved, this volume drives home the point that since we must continue puzzling, we might as well do it together on all fronts."
Part I: Names and Labels
Part II: The (Dis)Connections of Race
Part III: Topologies of Activism
Part IV: Literary Texts and Diasporics
Lavina Dhingra Shankar is Assistant Professor of English at Bates College, Maine.
In the series
Asian American History and Culture, edited by K. Scott Wong, Linda Trinh Vő, and Cathy Schlund-Vials.
Founded by Sucheng Chan in 1991, the Asian American History and Culture, series has sponsored innovative scholarship that has redefined, expanded, and advanced the field of Asian American studies while strengthening its links to related areas of scholarly inquiry and engaged critique. Like the field from which it emerged, the series remains rooted in the social sciences and humanities, encompassing multiple regions, formations, communities, and identities. Extending the vision of founding editor Sucheng Chan and emeriti editor Michael Omi and David Palumbo-Liu, series editors K. Scott Wong, Linda Trinh Vő, and Cathy Schlund-Vials continue to develop a foundational collection that embodies a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to Asian American studies.