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Where Is West Asia in Asian America?: "Asia" and The Politics of Space in Asian America

Where Is West Asia in Asian America?: "Asia" and The Politics of Space in Asian America Social Text 86, Vol. 24, No. 1, Spring 2006. © 2006 by Duke University Press. Sridevi Menon Whereas India and West Asia are central conceptual sites of Europe’s Asia, in America’s Asia India occupies a liminal space, and West Asia is absent. “dot-busters,” neo-Nazi youth had attacked South Asian immigrants and their stores. The irony of Tripathi’s suggestion was of course lost on the Indian consul-general. Tripathi’s remarks reveal his naïveté about U.S. racial formation as well as the arrogance of a Hindu nationalist imaginary that equates “Indianness” with a Hindu ethnicity. The experiences of South Asian Americans and immigrants after 9/11 underscore the irrelevance of such endogenous assertions of ethnicity, particularly at a time of American national crisis. Moreover, the attempt to distance a Hindu ethnicity from a Muslim and Arab other draws attention to the precarious place of South Asians in the U.S. imaginary. At a time when Asian American difference was subsumed by the anxiety about the Muslim and Arab other, South Asians found that the Asian pan-ethnicity they had assumed and claimed as “Asian Americans” did not prevent the blurring of their identity with those of immigrants and American citizens of Middle Eastern descent. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Text Duke University Press

Where Is West Asia in Asian America?: "Asia" and The Politics of Space in Asian America

Social Text , Volume 24 (1 86) – Mar 1, 2006

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2006 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0164-2472
eISSN
1527-1951
DOI
10.1215/01642472-24-1_86-55
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Social Text 86, Vol. 24, No. 1, Spring 2006. © 2006 by Duke University Press. Sridevi Menon Whereas India and West Asia are central conceptual sites of Europe’s Asia, in America’s Asia India occupies a liminal space, and West Asia is absent. “dot-busters,” neo-Nazi youth had attacked South Asian immigrants and their stores. The irony of Tripathi’s suggestion was of course lost on the Indian consul-general. Tripathi’s remarks reveal his naïveté about U.S. racial formation as well as the arrogance of a Hindu nationalist imaginary that equates “Indianness” with a Hindu ethnicity. The experiences of South Asian Americans and immigrants after 9/11 underscore the irrelevance of such endogenous assertions of ethnicity, particularly at a time of American national crisis. Moreover, the attempt to distance a Hindu ethnicity from a Muslim and Arab other draws attention to the precarious place of South Asians in the U.S. imaginary. At a time when Asian American difference was subsumed by the anxiety about the Muslim and Arab other, South Asians found that the Asian pan-ethnicity they had assumed and claimed as “Asian Americans” did not prevent the blurring of their identity with those of immigrants and American citizens of Middle Eastern descent.

Journal

Social TextDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2006

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