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Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

David Henry Hwang’s Plays in Chicago

Posted by litdaily on June 26, 2011

Chinglish, the latest play by David Henry Hwang, premieres today at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre with a scheduled run through July 24, 2011. Chinglish takes on a theme that Hwang also explored in his popular Broadway play M. Butterfly: a Western man in China entrapped in his orientalist vision of the East as feminine, mysterious, and at the same time also incomprehensible. Hwang’s latest play is about an American businessman in China and reprises the East-West encounter in the context of fear of a surging Chinese economy. While Gallimard in M. Butterfly was a French diplomat navigating the war theatre in South-east Asia, the changed occupation of the protagonist in Chinglish to a businessman reflects that capitalist economy has replaced the paradigm of militarism as the new frontier that drives the West’s imagination of China. You can find Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones’s preview of Chinglish and an interesting discussion of Hwang’s writing process here.

Another Hwang play Yellow Face is playing at the Silk Road Theatre Company and is produced in collaboration with Goodman. Yellow Face seeks to bring honesty to discussions about the role of race in casting media productions. The play’s context includes Hwang’s role in the controversy surrounding the casting of New York theatre production of Miss Saigon in 1990, when Asian Americans protested the casting of Jonathan Pryce, a Welsh-born white actor, to play an Asian character…more>>


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Eye on India festival, July 8th-17th

Posted by litdaily on June 22, 2011

Eye on India festival will take place from July 8th-17th in Chicago. The festival will showcase a number of events from literature to yoga/ayurveda…find out more>>

In terms of literature, Tarun Tejpal, Hari Kunzru, Shrabani Basu, and Nayantara Sahgal will be discussing their work at the Art Institute of Chicago.

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Aziz Ansari and Russell Peters in Chicago

Posted by litdaily on June 12, 2011

South Asian comedian Aziz Ansari will be performing at Genesee Theatre in suburban Waukegan on June 14 as part of his “Dangerously Delicious” comedy tour.  Ansari’s  roles as Tom Haverford in NBC’s Parks and Recreation and as stand up comedian Randy in Judd Apatow’s Funny People have received critical attention. Both Haverford and Randy are annoying characters, but Ansari makes them funny and memorable through his characteristic deadpan delivery. His material and characters play around with racial identity in interesting ways: his racial status is never denied but also never seems central to his roles…more>>

Russell Peters will be performing with George Lopez at the Rosemont Theatre on June 18 as part of the 2011 TBS Just for Laughs Chicago Festival…more>>

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Tiger Organizers

Posted by litdaily on May 6, 2011

Two recent profiles of Ai-jen Poo and Bhairavi Desai, Asian American community organizers, have received none of the media attention and publicity lavished on the provocative story of  “tiger mother” Amy Chua. Media is much more open to news stories and personal narratives that portray Asian Americans as exceptionally successful in well-paying professions and as model minorities who discipline themselves (and their children) into self-improvement, through harsh means if necessary, instead of complaining about their life conditions. The attention devoted to financially successful Asian Americans is used to disavow the concerns of Filipina maids or South Asian taxi drivers.

These profiles remind us of the history of Asian Americans in activism and their fight for social justice as part of working class inter-racial coalitions. Stories of Asian American labor organizers are invisible because they do not fit neatly into the model minority rubric that defines Asian Americans in public discourse. Barbara Ehrenreich profiles Ai-jen Poo, the founder-director of National Domestic Workers Alliance, and finds her political trajectory an unlikely path for the daughter of Chinese immigrants:

My image of a union organizer, based on extensive personal experience, is a big, loud guy with a bullhorn, not a slender, soft-spoken former women’s studies major whose reflexive response to a crowd is to melt into the sidelines. Nor does Ai-jen Poo look like a typical D.W.U. member, at least no more than Jennifer Lopez looked like a housecleaner in “Maid in Manhattan,” and the incongruities only multiply as you get to know her. She’s the daughter of Chinese immigrants, a neurobiologist and an oncologist, and her original career plan was to be not the scientist or lawyer you might expect from such a lineage but a potter.

more >>

Asian Americans have always been involved in politics and activism, and their participation has increased significantly over the past few years. But this involvement has done little to dislodge the perception of community organizer as an unlikely career for Asian Americans—a testimony to the power of the model minority myth. The myth feeds into the media frenzy that privileges the representation of tiger moms, and denies the labor of domestic workers that makes it possible for the “tiger mom” to sucessfully “juggle” career and children. Poo’s organization fights for the rights of domestic workers, who are mostly immigrants, women, and racial minorities.

There are interesting parallels between the details that Ehrenreich draws on to write about Ai-jen Poo and Lizzie Widdicombe’s profile of Bhairavi Desai, the executive director of yellow-taxi drivers’ union New York Taxi Workers Alliance, in The New Yorker issue of April 18, 2011. Like Ehrenreich, Widdicombe chronicles Desai’s struggles in terms of organizing employees in an industry where individuals work for themselves rather than in a shared workplace. The taxi drivers are mostly men, immigrants from South Asia and Africa, and the task of organizing them includes navigating racial strife. Both Poo and Desai arrive at their advocacy roles through their academic background in women’s studies. The profiles also note that Poo’s and Desai’s presence in labor activism carries the element of unexpectedness on account of both their race and gender. Widdicombe writes the following about Bhairavi Desai:

The T.W.A. first came to prominence in 1998, when Desai initiated a strike that, to protest new rules imposed by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, kept most of the city’s twelve thousand yellow cabs off the street for a day. Since then, her group has grown, and it now claims fifteen thousand members, almost a third of the city’s licensed cabdrivers. Desai can often be seen on the local news, or at public hearings, making passionate arguments on behalf of cabdrivers that are seasoned with statistics and left-wing rhetoric. She is an anomaly in the male-dominated taxi industry (she has a degree in women’s studies and history from Rutgers). A girlish thirty-eight, she is five feet two, with big eyes and a high-pitched voice (72).


So the next time people ask me about the “wealthy and professionally-qualified” Asian American doctors and engineers that they encounter everywhere, I will be happy to point out these latest media profiles of women labor organizers, two recent additions to a long but mostly invisible history of Asian American activism. And then perhaps I can imagine the day when tiger organizers’ work would be considered not anomalous but significant, valid and visible, and as much a marker of Asian American success as wealth and professional qualifications.

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Asian American Short Story Contest

Posted by litdaily on April 5, 2011

Asian American Writers’ Workshop and Hyphen are accepting submissions for their 2011 Asian American Short Story Contest. The winner of the contest will receive a $1000 cash prize along with publication in Hyphen.  The deadline is May 16. For more information, visit or

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Muslim Americans and Border Security

Posted by litdaily on March 10, 2011

NPR gives voice to the plight of Muslim Americans who cross U.S. borders…>>

While the article is certainly interesting (and nothing new in the state of affairs for Muslim Americans or those who appear Muslim), I think the picture they have posted captures it all.  A white, male, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer, looking larger than life itself, polices the border.  While his formidable expression, determined gait, and giant presence may make Americans feel more secure, it presents a threatening figure for the Others that want to encroach upon American soil.

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Conversations: Karen Tei Yamashita’s “Tropic of Orange”

Posted by litdaily on March 9, 2011

SM: I first read Yamashita’s book Tropic of Orange during my first semester as a graduate student. Every time I have read it again, I have experienced new pleasures in its complexity. Yamashita’s deeply entangled web of the narratives of seven characters spanning seven days belies the order and coherence of the grid of “Hypercontexts,” with which the book opens up. The book presents complex, overlapping and ever-changing mapping grids as the dominant metaphor for the American multicultural city in the moment of globalization. Manzanar has the following vision of the city: “There are maps and there are maps and there are maps. The uncanny thing was that he could see all of them at once, filter some, pick them out like transparent windows and place them even delicately and consecutively in a complex grid of pattern, spatial discernment, body politic” (Yamashita 57). If the global city’s realities are magical, how do we read this novel: as a realist or a magical realist representation?

SD: There are many scholars who argue against a dichotomous and antithetical relationship between the real and magical.  For example, Kum Kum Sangari in “The Politics of the Possible,” makes the connection between the real, the marvelous, and the truth. She says: “If the real is historically structured to make invisible the foreign locus of power, if the real may thus be other than what is generally visible, if official versions are just as visible and visibly ‘real’ as unofficial versions, and if even the potentially real is a compound of the desired and the undesirable, than marvelous realism tackles the problem of truth at a level that reinvents a more acute and comprehensive mode of referentiality” (163).  This statement can easily be applied to Tropic of Orange where the distinction between real and marvelous or magical cannot be made with regards to the experience of internment, mobility, labor, and imperialism.  Manzanar, for all purposes, simultaneously exists within and outside of the grid due to the historical and official invisibility of internment.  The lack of linearity that his figure invokes alludes to a different kind of historical consciousness.

SM: It is interesting that the elements that make readers think of the novel as a magical realist one are manifested in its spatial representations: from the above example of Manzanar’s ability to visualize multiple maps at the same time, to Rafaela’s experience of the “elasticity of the land and of time” as she sees Gabriel’s property walls as “not straight,” and Arcangel’s pushing the Tropic of Cancer “ever northward” by means of “hooks and cables” in his skin (Yamashita 150, 152, 212). Parallel to your point that Yamashita does not portray the marvelous and the “real” as opposed categories, I would also suggest that in her representation of L.A. as the global city, she refuses “utopia” and “dystopia” as binary opposites. The freeway crisis in the novel illustrates this point. The space of the freeway is crucial to the geography of a city that wants to be a serious participant in globalization (Yamashita 82). When the freeway is brought to a standstill by an accident that brings together disparate plot elements, it is understood as chaos and disorder of dystopia by the car owners who are forced to abandon their cars and incur economic loss. But what is seen as crisis by the state and the wealthy is seen as utopia by the homeless, for whom the crisis presents an opportunity to claim for themselves the urban space that is responsible for their displacement and homelessness.

Yamashita’s compelling characters come from various racial backgrounds. But I wonder if it is taught as much in other ethnic studies courses as it is in Asian American Studies courses. Is there something in the text, besides the author’s racial heritage, that marks the text as Asian American? Also, Yamashita represents a moment when multiculturalism was still cool? Do you think we are beyond that moment in our culture and literature?

SD: Your insightful inquiries regarding multiculturalism and its tangibility in the present moment has prompted me to reconsider the years since Yamashita published her novel.  In the context of the Pacific coast, multiculturalism may still resonate because the population stems from a history of internal colonization, regional imperialism, and border crossings.  The sheer visibility of these histories in that region may positively impact the literary and cultural production that invokes images of Latino immigration into the United States. Recently, Alex Rivera produced a film titled, Sleep Dealer (2008), which deals with virtual labor and a global digital network that cuts across borders.  We will continue to see these kinds of representations about the influx of different kinds of subjects in the United States; however, I don’t think that these representations will necessarily lead people to think about their linkages with multiculturalism.

Also, precisely because of varying histories, certain cultures are granted more space in the American imaginary.  While Yamashita focuses heavily on trafficking between Mexico and California, I don’t think she is widely read in Latin American courses. This is certainly a problem of stereotyping where the author’s ethnicity hinders the reception of the novel.

Although I hope that we are not “beyond” multiculturalism in the United Sates, cultural and ethnic differences seem to either be contained within rigid structures or negated completely.  Isn’t this exactly what Yamashita counters with the powerful image of an orange that links different geographical spaces and people across non-linear time?

Works Cited:

Yamashita, Karen Tei. Tropic of Orange. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 1997.

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New Alderman in Town — Ameya Pawar

Posted by litdaily on February 25, 2011

Ameya Pawar, a program assistant at Northwestern, has won the title of the first Asian American alderman in Chicago…>>

Over the past several months, there have been many “first” positions in politics that have been filled by Asian Americans.  What does this political visibility mean for Asian Americans who have typically been behind the scenes, so to speak?

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Chicago Literary Events

Posted by litdaily on February 2, 2011

Since it’s a “snow day” for fellow Chicagoans, I thought I would post some local literary events that might compel us to make plans outside our homes. Even though it’s been such a cold, dismal winter, there have been several interesting literary events and there are more still to come.

On February 17th, Elizabeth Taylor will interview Amy Chua at the Chicago Tribune Tower.

On March 31, Joyce Carol Oates returns to Chicago to discuss her memoir at Harold Washington Library.

For more on these events…>>

I attended the SAJA event last Saturday, which featured a panel of very successful South Asian journalists in the media, such as Ameet Sachdev, Bobby Ghosh, Ravi Baichwal, and S. Mitra Kalita.     In particular, there was one interesting point made about race and occupation. While one panelist said that he didn’t want to be pigeon-holed as the “South Asian” journalist that works on South Asian news, another felt that his identity as “South Asian” helped in getting certain assignments.

For me, it was nice to get out of the world of academia and see how writers in the “real” world engage with the cultural issues that I’m interested in exploring.  But always from behind my desk and from endless piles of theoretical texts.

Kudos to those who can get the stories and bring them to us.  For anyone interested, SAJA has a really interesting set of media covers they’ve archived, which details how South Asia has been imagined in Western media…>>

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Second Tier Universities – If Academia Ranks, Why Shouldn’t Corporate?

Posted by litdaily on January 21, 2011

In The Chronicle of Higher Education, an article titled, “Brown and Cornell are Second Tier” discusses the elite companies’ desire to recruit from the best universities.  Apparently, even Brown and Cornell don’t cut it…>>

Of course, it’s a “culture insanely obsessed with pedigree” and the Chronicle shouldn’t have to look too far away from higher education to make this claim.  If academia rolls with the same ideology, why shouldn’t corporate? Why wouldn’t investment banking firms and top notch consulting companies look for students at Harvard and Yale when our university systems functions entirely the same way.

It’s almost impossible to get a job in academics (at least in the humanities) without attending one of the elite universities. Yes, you may have to sell a liver, a couple of eggs, and donate your body to science in order to make the high tuition rates, but you’ll get a job so that the ten years you spend on your PhD will actually translate into a career.

It’s too easy to critique corporate culture.  It’s about time higher education publications interrogated the underside, the business of, academia.

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Asian Americans: “Missing in History”

Posted by litdaily on January 20, 2011

A new website Fuck Yeah Asian/Pacific Islander History takes to heart Helen Zia’s suggestion that Asian Americans have been rendered MIH or “Missing in History,” and seeks to secure their rightful place in American history through photographs. The website’s juxtaposition of pictures is compelling because it conveys the range and depth of Asian American contributions, from excellence in sports to struggles in labor movements. For example, the following photographs of California Sikh Community parade in Stockton, California on May 11, 1945, and that of Asian Pacific Sisters from 1994 highlight a sense of pride and community.

The photographs are an appropriate collage of Asian/Pacfic Islander (API) diversity, documenting various ethnic groups—Chinese, Filipino, South Asian, Hmong, Cambodian, Vietnamese—in a way that makes us think about why such distinct histories are also the basis of a connected racial experience as Asian Americans. I always feel the need to emphasize to students that we should not view Asian American history (or the history of minority racial groups) as just an add-on, and therefore external to “American history.” Instead, we should examine how analysis of Asian American experience fundamentally transforms our understanding of American history. In other words, Asian American history is not additive but transformative.

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Workplace Culture in Academia

Posted by litdaily on January 18, 2011

Earlier this week, The Chronicle of Higher Education published an article on faculty members requesting time off after having a baby. Mary Ann Mason reports, in the article, that University of California at Berkeley has instituted family-friendly programs for faculty members who need relief from teaching duties or extensions in time-to-tenure…more>>

This article is certainly hopeful that Berkeley has been and will continue to be a family friendly academic environment. However, the picture it paints is skewed.  Berkeley constitutes very few of the tenure-track professors, graduate students, and adjunct faculty members that flood higher education today. Many new parents in these roles struggle with the demands of academia alongside raising a family without much economic support or professional support. While in the private sector, many companies offer childcare on site (along with larger sums of compensation for labor), academia still sees parenting and a family as detrimental to achieving scholarly success.

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The Courage of No-No Boys

Posted by litdaily on December 30, 2010

It is heartening to see The New York Times’ Editorial/Appreciation for Frank Emi, a Japanese American interned after the Pearl Harbor bombing and a no-no boy, who passed away on December 1…more>>

Frank Emi was one of the founding members of the Fair Play Committee that argued that the internment camps were betrayals of the Constitution and of American values. The Fair Play Committee’s declaration is a reminder that far from being cowards, no-no boys were courageous, patriotic Americans who fought for liberty and justice when it was the toughest to do so:

We, the members of the FPC, are not afraid to go to war. We are not afraid to risk our lives for our country. We would gladly sacrifice our lives to protect and uphold the principles and ideals of our country as set forth in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, for on its inviolability depends the freedom, liberty, justice, and protection of all people, including Japanese-Americans and all other minority groups.

But have we been given such freedom, such liberty, such justice, such protection? NO!!

This editorial, like John Okada’s novel No-No Boy, which we had recently blogged about here, suggests that the no-no boys’ response to betrayal by their nation was as American as the decision of Japanese Americans to fight in the army. In the Preface to No-No Boy, Okada demonstrates that the no-no boys’ response was similar to what any other American racial minority or the dominant whites would have done in the situation. When a Japanese American soldier tells a fellow soldier, a “blond giant from Nebraska,” about “the removal of the Japanese from the Coast, which was called the evacuation, and about the concentration camps, which were called relocation centers,” the blond soldier refuses to believe at first (Okada x-xi). When the blond soldier acknowledges the reality of Japanese American internment, he says, “Hell’s bells…if they’d done that to me, I wouldn’t be sitting in the belly of a broken-down B-24 going back to Guam from a reconnaissance mission to Japan” (Okada xi).

Both Okada’s novel and The New York Times’ editorial are hopefully a part of the long arc of history that is going to judge the no-no boys’ anger not as an aberration but as an American fight for justice.

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Macleans Lets “Too Asian” Stick, Refusing to Apologize

Posted by litdaily on December 27, 2010

Scholars shouldn’t have to look too far from their academic spaces in order to delineate the messy, complicated, and shifting boundaries and hierarchical power relations between “white” and “Asian”.  An article posted by Macleans in November about enrollment of Asian students and white students generated much controversy due to the offensive signifiers associated with the term, “Asian”…>> We can pretty much guess what these are —  over-achievers, studious, etc.

Although there has been controversy, the magazine refuses to apologize for its racial profiling of Asian American students that attend institutions such as University of Toronto, which is known for academic excellence.  One reporter believes that the controversy, which has elicited a heated response from municipal politics, is ridiculous, asserting that governmental politics needs to concern itself with issues such as “transportation” rather than “race”…more>>

Wow. Where to begin?  If politics doesn’t take up the issue of race within its educational institutions, what exactly is the political relevance of government and state?

My initial reading of this controversy involved some serious eye-rolling. After all, it seems like another lame attempt of the media to generate publicity by throwing in an offensive stereotype of “Asian,” the minority least likely to object. Besides, Asians could signify much worse things, such as laziness, filth, vagracy, criminality.  Oh yeah, they have been stereotyped as those things as well.

But upon some consideration, the issues it brings up are complicated. Should the government be involved in such debates (yes!).  Should the press apologize for its article or should it stick to its offensive categorizations of Asians as studious and Whites as fun-loving, frolicking students out to get alcohol instead of an education? What if these comparisons included Blacks and Whites instead of Asians and Whites? Would the uproar be worse and would Macleans take it back then?

Aside from the debate itself, none of the writers and articles consider how this affects the status and role of education.  It’s certainly problematic that “White” students are depicted as only wanting to socialize rather than gain an education.  Why has socializing become the key criteria in selecting educational facilities? Thinking about it as an Asian mother of a preschooler, socializing seems to be the most important factor in selecting schools.  While other children in countries like China and India are learning to read, add and subtract at the same age, the kids in the First World are still attempting to determine their options for friends.

Whether its early childhood education or higher education, the trend towards “learning through play” or “socializing” will cease to demarcate the educational space as one of privilege and merit.  So, this debate is more than just about race. It’s about the larger structures that govern our understanding of what education is and what it should be.



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The Endless Scandal of Arundhati Roy

Posted by litdaily on December 22, 2010

Every few months, the global media reports on the controversial politics centering around Arundhati Roy. Since publishing God of Small Things, Roy has been a force to be reckoned with, not just in the literary field, but also in the parameters of the Indian national government and/or world politics.  In many ways, she is what Salman Rushdie couldn’t be – a celebrity that disturbs the boundaries of cultural production and capitalizes on her sudden literary fame for the masses.

Roy has often been attacked by the Indian government and media for advocating violence.  Recently, Hari Kunzru posted an article on his blog about Roy’s response to the way that the media colludes with parties actually responsible for violence.  In her letter to Kunzru, Roy discusses the relationship between mobs and media…>>

And a couple of days ago, Rupa Dehejia, a blogger on Wall Street Journal, hypothetically asks what it would mean for someone like Roy to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She reports on the numerous objections that people had regarding her comparison of Roy to Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo…>>

Dehejia obviously seems reluctant to be outright supportive or critical of Roy but does make a strong claim for interrogating the role of violence with regards to an oppressive state in the realm politics, and not just philosophy and political theory.  She asks: why is Xiaobo a worthy recipient and not Roy, since Roy is ranked as one of the “world’s most inspiring women” (apparently, she is just behind Angelina Jolie, which seems like a joke and needs its own blog entry)?

My own question about Roy is very similar to Dehejia’s question. What is so threatening about Roy?  Why is the violence that she advocates different than the violence that someone like Frantz Fanon advocated in order to overthrow oppression?  I agree that Roy is much hailed in the First World as a political activist. In academic terms, she might be considered a revolutionary figure – a “Third World Marxist Feminist” providing a voice to the subaltern.  Regardless of how we term or categorize her, it doesn’t matter because she isn’t located in the First World where the internet has taken the role of protest movements and donating some coins in the grocery store counts as making a difference.

Maybe what’s so threatening about her (aside from being a woman) is that she is not afraid.  There is no fear in her voice when she combats the violence of the state, the media, or international government. She has never backed down from questioning norms and in this way, her voice does have power.

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Asian Americans Get Less Pay

Posted by litdaily on December 8, 2010

Toronto Sun reports on the gap in pay between Asian American men and white men…>>

Asian American men get:

(1) Overall, up to 29% less than white men

(2) About 8% less for U.S. born citizens who speak fluent English

(3) Up to 30% less for U.S. citizens, born and educated abroad

What’s really interesting about the article is not the disparity in numbers simply because all ethnic minorities should be aware that their labor is valued less than labor produced by white men.  This fact is part of American history – one that our nation doesn’t overtly acknowledge or want to redress.  The interesting part is that the researcher doesn’t know what causes the discrimination even as he relates it to anti-immigrant sentiment.

My question is this – is it too simple, too obvious, or too hard to say that the discrimination in work places are due to racism? All this rhetoric about immigration seems to evade the crux of the matter, which is that we are a racist, exploitative society.

Why would Asian Americans assume that the pay scale is the same when Asian Americans have been orientalized, stigmatized, and marginalized for over a century. Is it because Asian Americans think that their “educational success” erases racism?

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Why Bhangra?

Posted by litdaily on November 16, 2010

Last week, whenever I turned on the television, I was flooded with media coverage on the Obamas doing Bhangra in India with an indiscriminate group of “brown” people.  The scene wasn’t as shocking as it would have been if any of our other presidents (let’s say, Bush) had been dancing to Bhangra simply because it’s easy to align Obama with Indian cultural awareness. After all, he did hire Kal Penn to be his “ambassador” and the only significant White House dinner to be aired on Real Housewives of D.C. centered around Indian subjects.  One particularly despised housewife proudly displayed the bright red Indian sari on national television.  In other words, the link between Obama and “Indian” has been visible since the beginning of his public presidential life in the United States.

This media coverage, however, of the couple dancing obscures significant global political issues that center on East-West and East-East relations.  It hides very real conflicts between India and Pakistan and makes light of United States’ role in their relationship.  It provides a humorous distance from the strategic alliances that the United States’ is trying to foster in a geopolitical climate that is on the verge of drastic change.  Robert Grenier focuses on this very issue in his article, “The U.S. is dancing to India’s Tune”…more>>

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Race and Reality TV

Posted by litdaily on October 13, 2010

In an article posted on Colorlines yesterday, the writer breaks down racial representation on mainstream media and reality television…more>>

Lately, many blogs that lean towards race and gender have focused on racial identity of actors and actresses on television. Although mainstream dating shows like “The Bachelor” have failed to incorporate people of color as candidates, other reality television shows such as “America’s Top Model” often depict stereotypical roles of Asians, Africans, and Latinos.  Either that, or in the case of Asians, these actors are whitened.

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A Writer’s Journey

Posted by litdaily on September 23, 2010

Brad Wong writes about his journey on the Chinese Heritage Tour on the west coast.  The tour remembers early Chinese pioneers who migrated and workered under extremely difficult conditions in mines and agriculture in the 19th century…more>>

This article is one of many heartfelt writings that attempt to recover a forgotten past.  One of these pasts is the history of Asian Americans who have always occupied a dubious and ambiguous position in the American imaginary (culture, economics, politics, media, etc).

These tours are extremely important in providing a way for people to know history. Simply walking through a historic town is enough to remind one that America and American history is multifaceted, complex, and complicated.  The difficult part, though, is figuring out how to get more people involved so that it’s not only the “Chinese” who are taking the tours, but also others who comprise different racial groups.

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From Canefields to Freedom

Posted by litdaily on September 15, 2010

Tribhangi Dance Theatre is currently presenting their new show, From Canefields to Freedom, which chronicles the journey of South Asian migrations to South Africa through performance…more>>

The last ten years has seen an emergence of literature, theatre, and arts that focus on different ways that people have migrated to other places. Some of these stories focus on coolie labor while others focus on merchant classes.  Either way, there is some recognition that transnational mobility didn’t occur in overly simplistic and anglo-centric ways, i.e. from Korea to United States, from India to United States, from Caribbean to United States.

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