An interdisciplinary reexamination of a fragmented history
Re/collecting Early Asian America
Essays in Cultural History
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edited by Josephine Lee, Imogene L. Lim and Yuko Matsukawa
Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Asian American Studies Conference, 2016
As a book about cultural memory and retrieval, this collection of essays asks readers to reconsider who represents Asian America and what constitutes its history. Defining the early period as spanning the nineteenth century and the 1960s, the original essays here speak to the difficulty of recovering a past that was largely unrecorded as well as understanding the varied experiences of peoples of Asian descent. Interdisciplinary in approach, the essays address the Asian American individuals and communities that have been omitted from "official" histories; trace the roots of persistent racial stereotypes and myths; and retrieve artistic production that raises vexed questions of what counts as "art" or as Asian American. By reconsidering the political, cultural, and material history written in the last three decades, this volume contributes to a new understanding of Asian America's past and relationship to the present.
"[The book] presents us with exciting new scholarship on the period before 1960. Taken together, the volume's cogent introduction and twenty individually authored essays contribute to the field of Asian American studies by reaffirming the worth of studying the past, not only for what it can tell us about the present but also for its own rich, complicated, and intellectually rewarding reasons....As the essays in this volume demonstrate, [this] is worth studying. Re/Collecting Early Asian America thus represents a milestone in the development of a maturing field."
"Defining 'early' as the period beginning in the 1800s with the initial migration of Asians to the Americas and continuing until the dramatic policy changes in the mid-1960s, this collection is organized around four themes. "Locations and Relocations" examines place as constructed, with several essays taking Chinatowns, real or imagined, as their subjects. "Crossings" complicates the popular notion of migration as a movement in one direction, clearly defined in time and space. "Objects" addresses issues of racial stereotype. "Recollections" celebrates early Asian American artists while grappling with questions about what counts as art and who qualifies as Asian American."
"This well-documented compilation of 20 essays, mostly by established scholars in their respective fields, discusses the history, literature, memories, and anthropology of Asians in the Americas....The editors have done a commendable job of selecting a well-balanced, compelling, and fascinating set of essays that are informative, easy to read, and scholarly."
"[F]ascinating...the authors manage to provide new insight that illuminates the tension between the marginalization and disenfranchisement of early Asian Americans and their efforts to challenge institutionalized racism while creating a vibrant cultural space."
"This eclectic volume of quality scholarship mirrors the current state of Asian American studies, capturing dynamic and revisionist attempts to record an inclusive history that recognizes difference while exploring commonalities."
"...the interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary engagements it seeks to make with an 'early Asian America' offer useful correctives, insightful analysis, and food for thought, not only for Asian American studies scholars but also for scholars concerned with 'history' and the processes that connect, imagine, tell, and recollect the past to, and within, the present."
1. Introduction Yuko Matsukawa, Josephine Lee, and Imogene L. Lim
Part I: Locations and Relocations
Part II: Crossings
Part III: Objects
Part IV: Recollecting
Imogene Lim is University-College Professor of Anthroplogy at Malaspina University.
Yuko Matsukawa has taught American literature and women's studies at Rhode Island College, Tufts University, and the State University of New York at Brockport.
Contributors: Guy Beauregard, Tina Chen, Fabiana Chiu-Rinaldi, Catherine Ceniza Choy, Robert Cooperman, Helena Grice, Lane Ryo Hirabayshi, Amy Ling, Edward Marx, Adam McKeown, Mae M. Ngai, Jeanette Roan, Randal Rohe, Rajini Srikanth, Emma J. Teng, Guanhua Wang, Meredith Wood, and the editors.
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.