Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You and Your Team.

Learn More →

Chinese Americans and the Politics of Race and Culture , and: Contemporary Chinese America: Immigration, Ethnicity, and Community Transformation , and: Chinese Community Leadership: Case Study of Victoria in Canada (review)

Chinese Americans and the Politics of Race and Culture , and: Contemporary Chinese America:... 166 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.18,No.2,2011 SuchengChanandMadelineY.Hsu,editors.Chinese Americans and the Politics of Race and Culture.SeriesonAsianAmericanHistoryand Culture. Philadelphia:TempleUniversityPress,2008.xx,266pp. Hardcover$83.50,isbn978-1-59213-752-7.Paperback$29.95,isbn 978-1-59213-753-4. MinZhou.Contemporary Chinese America: Immigration, Ethnicity, and Community Transformation.SeriesonAsianAmericanHistoryand Culture.Philadelphia:TempleUniversityPress,2009.xvi,310pp. Hardcover$91.50,isbn978-1-59213-857-9.Paperback$29.95,isbn 978-1-59213-858-6. DavidChuenyanLai.Chinese Community Leadership: Case Study of Victoria in Canada.Singapore:WorldScientificPublishingCo.,2010. 284 pp.Hardcover$58.00,isbn978-981-4295-17-8. ThestudyoftheChinesemigrantcommunitieshasalwaysbeenamultidisciplinaryenterprisethatengagesabroadrangeofthehumanitiesandsocialsciences.Thetwosingle-authorbooksunderreviewaretheworksofasociologistand ageographer,respectively.Theotherbook,ananthologyofresearch-basedessays, isfurnishedbyateamofscholarsfromavarietyofdisciplinarybackgrounds, includinghistory,Americanstudies,anthropology,ethnicstudies,andwomenand genderstudies.Whiletheseworksdonotcoheretoanyparticulartheme,together theyshowcasethefruitfulintellectuallaborgroundedinsolidresearch,informed bycriticalconceptsandtheories,andpresentedwithclarity.Moreover,somethree generationsofscholarsarerepresentedintheserecentpublications:seniorscholars whoembarkedonseriousresearchonChinesemigrationinNorthAmericainthe late1960sand1970s,andwhosecontributionshavehelpedlaythefoundationof thisfield;asecondcohortemerginginthelate1980sand1990s,whosescholarly workhasbeeninstrumentalinopeningupunexploredareasforinquiryandwho, intheprocess,haveearnedrecognitionfortheirindividualaccomplishmentsand forthefieldatlarge;andlastbutnotleast,athirdgenerationthathasbeenadding theirfirstresearchmonographstoanexcitinglistofnewscholarshipsincethe beginningofthiscentury. ThecollectionofessaysinChinese Americans and the Politics of Race and Culture, editedbySuchengChanandMadelineHsu,isanexcellentexampleofa collaborationthatinvolvesauthorsacrossgenerations.Chan,aleadingauthorityin AsianAmericanstudies,hasanoutstandingrecordofpartnershipwithcolleagues, manyunderherwing,topresentcutting-edgeresearch.Almosttwodecadesago, thehighlyacclaimedcollectionsheeditedtitledEntry Denied: Exclusion and the Chinese Communities in America, 1882­1943(Philadelphia:TempleUniversity © 2012 by University of Hawai`i Press Reviews 167 Press,1994)wasatrailblazerthatinvitedreaderstoscrutinizetherecordsofthe exclusionera.Subsequently,Chanandhercolleaguescompletedatrilogyonthis periodwithtwomorevolumesofessays:Claiming America: Constructing Chinese American Identities during the Exclusion Era,coeditedwithScottK.Wong(Philadelphia:TempleUniversityPress,1998),andChinese American Transnationalism: The Flow of People, Resources, and Ideas between China and America during the Exclusion Era(Philadelphia:TempleUniversityPress,2005). Thislatestanthology,Chinese Americans and the Politics of Race and Culture, transcendsthetimeframeoftheexclusionperiodwithchaptersrangingfromthe latenineteenthtothebeginningofthetwenty-firstcentury.Championingthe currentpracticeinculturalhistory,theauthorsrejectthenotionofcultureasa seeminglyuniform,unifying,andeventimelesscategorymadeofinheritable items.Instead,theyeach"investigatethemannerinwhichChineseAmericans haveengagedinthepoliticsofraceandculturebydeployingtheir`culture'--their representationsandself-representations--totheirownadvantage,seizingthe highergroundfromtheirhistoricdetractorswhoused`Chineseculture'against themandplacedthemintoaninferiorandracializedslotinthehostsociety" (ChanandHsu,p.xiii).TheemphasisisplacedontheagencyofChineseAmericans,asindividuals,asmenandwomen,asfamilies,asentrepreneurs,asjournalists,aspeoplewithstrong(leftist)politicalviews,asyoungadolescentsbornand/ orraisedintheUnitedStates,orasmembersofamostrecentlylandedChinese immigrantgroup.Forreadersofthisjournal,thisapproachfurnishesaninformativecritiqueoftheessentialismunderlyingsomeofthewritingsontheChinese diasporaandespeciallyinanearliertriumphalistliteratureonConfucian/Chinese capitalism. Beforewelookattheindividualchapters,SuchengChan'slongintroduction onChineseAmericanhistoriographydeservesattention.Chanhaspublisheda numberofstate-of-the-artessaysbefore,andthisone--withalmosttwohundred endnotes--bringsherreviewuptodate.Hercommandoftherapidlygrowing literatureinthefieldismethodical,andhercommentariesonindividualworksare incisive.Herobservationsonscholarlytrendsandpitfallsareequallykeen.For instance,shepointsoutinanimpassionedmannerthatthelatestinterestamong ChineseAmericanistsinembracingtransnationalhistoryandindiscerning culturalresilienceismadepossiblebythesociopoliticalgainsoftheAsianAmericanmovementofthe1960sand1970s"becausetheynowworryalotlessthan they didinthepastaboutthesociopoliticalimplicationsofproclaimingmultiple identitiesandloyalties"(ChanandHsu,p.34).IwouldaddthatofequalimportancetotheevolvingpluralisticlandscapeoftheUnitedStateshasbeentheriseof AsiaPacific--andChinainparticular--andtheeffectsofglobalizationonChinese Americanlife.Chan'spointthatthewriting,andrewriting,ofChineseAmerican historycannotbeseparatedfromthecontemporarypoliticsandtheculturalshifts ofthetimeiswelltaken. 168 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.18,No.2,2011 Thechaptersarewellselectedbytheeditors.In"HistoryasLawandLife," Mae M.Ngaideftlycombineslegalandsocialhistoryinreexaminingthe1885civil rightscaseTape v. Hurley,wheretheCaliforniaSupremeCourtruledthatChinese childrencouldnotbeexcludedfrompublicschools.NotonlyisNgai'streatment conceptuallyrefreshing,sheintroducesnewsourcesfromawiderangeofdocuments,andherreadingofthesesources--suchasherdecodingoftwohistorical photos(ChanandHsu,pp.72­78)andthecommentsontheself-positioningofan aspiringChineseAmericanfamily--isnuancedandinsightful.Herfindings compelustorethinkthelegaltrajectoryofChineseAmericancivilrightsasthe penchantofexclusionandtherealitiesofthepresenceoftheChineseintertwined, andtheformalstatusofChineseAmericansremainedundecidedandcontested. ThesocialhistorypartofNgai'sdiscussiondrawsourattentiontotheroleof brokersinChineseimmigrantcommunities,whoselinguisticskillsandcultural positionspropelledtheirmiddle-classaspirationandacculturationtowardthe mainstream.1 JosephineFowler'sessay,"TheActivismofLeft-WingandCommunistChineseImmigrants,1927­1933,"isbasedonachapterinafull-lengthmonograph, and,unfortunately,thesepublicationsappearedonlyaftertheauthorpassedaway in2006.2Thesubjectofleft-wingactivistsandCommunistsamongtheChinese immigrantswasasensitivetopicwithinthecommunitiesforalongtime,andthe paucityofsourcesposedaserioushindrance.Fowler'sresearchbuiltonthepioneeringworkofaneminenthistorianofChineseAmerica,thelateHimMarkLai, andshemanagedtoexpanditsignificantlybydrawingonnewlyavailablearchival materials,especiallyinMoscow.Herchapterisdocumentedmeticulouslyand bringstolightthestruggleofthisfirstgenerationofleft-wingpoliticalactivists. Veryfewinnumber,theyarrivedasforeignstudentsintheUnitedStateswith left-leaningsentimentsandideologicalcommitments.TheseChineseradicals laboredwithlimitedsuccesstoearntheattentionandsupportoftheCommunist partyestablishmentintheUnitedStates.Theirownprimaryfocusandloyalty largelystayedwiththecourseoftheChineserevolutionbackinChina,even thoughsomeofthemgraduallybegantoreachouttotheircompatriotsinChinatowns.Thelatterwasnoeasytaskastheireducationbackgroundandlackof Cantonese-speakingfacilityhinderedtheireffort. Thefollowingtwochapters,byKarenLeongandJudyWuandbyScottWong, makeanintriguingpair.Bothessayssupporttheviewthatthelate1930sand1940s signifiedanimportantshiftinmainstreamAmericanperceptionsoftheChinese intheUnitedStates.Wong,inhisessay,"FromPariahtoParagon,"highlightsthe dedicationofthefirstgenerationoftheChineseAmericanEnglish-languagepress torectifytheimageofChineseAmericansinthemedia.Thewaryearsgavethe Chineseplentyofopportunitiestodoso,astheydistancedthemselvesfrom JapaneseAmericansandastheybaskedinfavorablepublicitygeneratedfirstby Reviews 169 the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png China Review International University of Hawai'I Press

Chinese Americans and the Politics of Race and Culture , and: Contemporary Chinese America: Immigration, Ethnicity, and Community Transformation , and: Chinese Community Leadership: Case Study of Victoria in Canada (review)

China Review International , Volume 18 (2) – Sep 19, 2011

Loading next page...
 
/lp/university-of-hawai-i-press/chinese-americans-and-the-politics-of-race-and-culture-and-9KShCah5MU
Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9367
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

166 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.18,No.2,2011 SuchengChanandMadelineY.Hsu,editors.Chinese Americans and the Politics of Race and Culture.SeriesonAsianAmericanHistoryand Culture. Philadelphia:TempleUniversityPress,2008.xx,266pp. Hardcover$83.50,isbn978-1-59213-752-7.Paperback$29.95,isbn 978-1-59213-753-4. MinZhou.Contemporary Chinese America: Immigration, Ethnicity, and Community Transformation.SeriesonAsianAmericanHistoryand Culture.Philadelphia:TempleUniversityPress,2009.xvi,310pp. Hardcover$91.50,isbn978-1-59213-857-9.Paperback$29.95,isbn 978-1-59213-858-6. DavidChuenyanLai.Chinese Community Leadership: Case Study of Victoria in Canada.Singapore:WorldScientificPublishingCo.,2010. 284 pp.Hardcover$58.00,isbn978-981-4295-17-8. ThestudyoftheChinesemigrantcommunitieshasalwaysbeenamultidisciplinaryenterprisethatengagesabroadrangeofthehumanitiesandsocialsciences.Thetwosingle-authorbooksunderreviewaretheworksofasociologistand ageographer,respectively.Theotherbook,ananthologyofresearch-basedessays, isfurnishedbyateamofscholarsfromavarietyofdisciplinarybackgrounds, includinghistory,Americanstudies,anthropology,ethnicstudies,andwomenand genderstudies.Whiletheseworksdonotcoheretoanyparticulartheme,together theyshowcasethefruitfulintellectuallaborgroundedinsolidresearch,informed bycriticalconceptsandtheories,andpresentedwithclarity.Moreover,somethree generationsofscholarsarerepresentedintheserecentpublications:seniorscholars whoembarkedonseriousresearchonChinesemigrationinNorthAmericainthe late1960sand1970s,andwhosecontributionshavehelpedlaythefoundationof thisfield;asecondcohortemerginginthelate1980sand1990s,whosescholarly workhasbeeninstrumentalinopeningupunexploredareasforinquiryandwho, intheprocess,haveearnedrecognitionfortheirindividualaccomplishmentsand forthefieldatlarge;andlastbutnotleast,athirdgenerationthathasbeenadding theirfirstresearchmonographstoanexcitinglistofnewscholarshipsincethe beginningofthiscentury. ThecollectionofessaysinChinese Americans and the Politics of Race and Culture, editedbySuchengChanandMadelineHsu,isanexcellentexampleofa collaborationthatinvolvesauthorsacrossgenerations.Chan,aleadingauthorityin AsianAmericanstudies,hasanoutstandingrecordofpartnershipwithcolleagues, manyunderherwing,topresentcutting-edgeresearch.Almosttwodecadesago, thehighlyacclaimedcollectionsheeditedtitledEntry Denied: Exclusion and the Chinese Communities in America, 1882­1943(Philadelphia:TempleUniversity © 2012 by University of Hawai`i Press Reviews 167 Press,1994)wasatrailblazerthatinvitedreaderstoscrutinizetherecordsofthe exclusionera.Subsequently,Chanandhercolleaguescompletedatrilogyonthis periodwithtwomorevolumesofessays:Claiming America: Constructing Chinese American Identities during the Exclusion Era,coeditedwithScottK.Wong(Philadelphia:TempleUniversityPress,1998),andChinese American Transnationalism: The Flow of People, Resources, and Ideas between China and America during the Exclusion Era(Philadelphia:TempleUniversityPress,2005). Thislatestanthology,Chinese Americans and the Politics of Race and Culture, transcendsthetimeframeoftheexclusionperiodwithchaptersrangingfromthe latenineteenthtothebeginningofthetwenty-firstcentury.Championingthe currentpracticeinculturalhistory,theauthorsrejectthenotionofcultureasa seeminglyuniform,unifying,andeventimelesscategorymadeofinheritable items.Instead,theyeach"investigatethemannerinwhichChineseAmericans haveengagedinthepoliticsofraceandculturebydeployingtheir`culture'--their representationsandself-representations--totheirownadvantage,seizingthe highergroundfromtheirhistoricdetractorswhoused`Chineseculture'against themandplacedthemintoaninferiorandracializedslotinthehostsociety" (ChanandHsu,p.xiii).TheemphasisisplacedontheagencyofChineseAmericans,asindividuals,asmenandwomen,asfamilies,asentrepreneurs,asjournalists,aspeoplewithstrong(leftist)politicalviews,asyoungadolescentsbornand/ orraisedintheUnitedStates,orasmembersofamostrecentlylandedChinese immigrantgroup.Forreadersofthisjournal,thisapproachfurnishesaninformativecritiqueoftheessentialismunderlyingsomeofthewritingsontheChinese diasporaandespeciallyinanearliertriumphalistliteratureonConfucian/Chinese capitalism. Beforewelookattheindividualchapters,SuchengChan'slongintroduction onChineseAmericanhistoriographydeservesattention.Chanhaspublisheda numberofstate-of-the-artessaysbefore,andthisone--withalmosttwohundred endnotes--bringsherreviewuptodate.Hercommandoftherapidlygrowing literatureinthefieldismethodical,andhercommentariesonindividualworksare incisive.Herobservationsonscholarlytrendsandpitfallsareequallykeen.For instance,shepointsoutinanimpassionedmannerthatthelatestinterestamong ChineseAmericanistsinembracingtransnationalhistoryandindiscerning culturalresilienceismadepossiblebythesociopoliticalgainsoftheAsianAmericanmovementofthe1960sand1970s"becausetheynowworryalotlessthan they didinthepastaboutthesociopoliticalimplicationsofproclaimingmultiple identitiesandloyalties"(ChanandHsu,p.34).IwouldaddthatofequalimportancetotheevolvingpluralisticlandscapeoftheUnitedStateshasbeentheriseof AsiaPacific--andChinainparticular--andtheeffectsofglobalizationonChinese Americanlife.Chan'spointthatthewriting,andrewriting,ofChineseAmerican historycannotbeseparatedfromthecontemporarypoliticsandtheculturalshifts ofthetimeiswelltaken. 168 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.18,No.2,2011 Thechaptersarewellselectedbytheeditors.In"HistoryasLawandLife," Mae M.Ngaideftlycombineslegalandsocialhistoryinreexaminingthe1885civil rightscaseTape v. Hurley,wheretheCaliforniaSupremeCourtruledthatChinese childrencouldnotbeexcludedfrompublicschools.NotonlyisNgai'streatment conceptuallyrefreshing,sheintroducesnewsourcesfromawiderangeofdocuments,andherreadingofthesesources--suchasherdecodingoftwohistorical photos(ChanandHsu,pp.72­78)andthecommentsontheself-positioningofan aspiringChineseAmericanfamily--isnuancedandinsightful.Herfindings compelustorethinkthelegaltrajectoryofChineseAmericancivilrightsasthe penchantofexclusionandtherealitiesofthepresenceoftheChineseintertwined, andtheformalstatusofChineseAmericansremainedundecidedandcontested. ThesocialhistorypartofNgai'sdiscussiondrawsourattentiontotheroleof brokersinChineseimmigrantcommunities,whoselinguisticskillsandcultural positionspropelledtheirmiddle-classaspirationandacculturationtowardthe mainstream.1 JosephineFowler'sessay,"TheActivismofLeft-WingandCommunistChineseImmigrants,1927­1933,"isbasedonachapterinafull-lengthmonograph, and,unfortunately,thesepublicationsappearedonlyaftertheauthorpassedaway in2006.2Thesubjectofleft-wingactivistsandCommunistsamongtheChinese immigrantswasasensitivetopicwithinthecommunitiesforalongtime,andthe paucityofsourcesposedaserioushindrance.Fowler'sresearchbuiltonthepioneeringworkofaneminenthistorianofChineseAmerica,thelateHimMarkLai, andshemanagedtoexpanditsignificantlybydrawingonnewlyavailablearchival materials,especiallyinMoscow.Herchapterisdocumentedmeticulouslyand bringstolightthestruggleofthisfirstgenerationofleft-wingpoliticalactivists. Veryfewinnumber,theyarrivedasforeignstudentsintheUnitedStateswith left-leaningsentimentsandideologicalcommitments.TheseChineseradicals laboredwithlimitedsuccesstoearntheattentionandsupportoftheCommunist partyestablishmentintheUnitedStates.Theirownprimaryfocusandloyalty largelystayedwiththecourseoftheChineserevolutionbackinChina,even thoughsomeofthemgraduallybegantoreachouttotheircompatriotsinChinatowns.Thelatterwasnoeasytaskastheireducationbackgroundandlackof Cantonese-speakingfacilityhinderedtheireffort. Thefollowingtwochapters,byKarenLeongandJudyWuandbyScottWong, makeanintriguingpair.Bothessayssupporttheviewthatthelate1930sand1940s signifiedanimportantshiftinmainstreamAmericanperceptionsoftheChinese intheUnitedStates.Wong,inhisessay,"FromPariahtoParagon,"highlightsthe dedicationofthefirstgenerationoftheChineseAmericanEnglish-languagepress torectifytheimageofChineseAmericansinthemedia.Thewaryearsgavethe Chineseplentyofopportunitiestodoso,astheydistancedthemselvesfrom JapaneseAmericansandastheybaskedinfavorablepublicitygeneratedfirstby Reviews 169 the

Journal

China Review InternationalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Sep 19, 2011

There are no references for this article.