November 9, 2010
Written by C.N.
As part of this blog’s ongoing mission of making academic research and data more easily accessible, understandable, and applicable to a wider audience, and for readers who like to keep on top of the latest sociological research, I highlight new research and studies in academic journals about Asian Americans and other racial/ethnic groups as I hear about them. An article’s inclusion is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily mean a full endorsement of its complete contents.
The following articles focus on emerging issues related to Asian Australians and their transnational connections with Asian Americans.
The UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press announces Amerasia Journal’s latest issue: “Asian Australia and Asian America: Making Transnational Connections.” Guest edited by Jacqueline Lo, Dean Chan, and Tseen Khoo, with former Center Director Don T. Nakanishi of UCLA, the issue connects scholars, writers, and cultural critics working in Asian American Studies with their counterparts in Asian Australian Studies. The issue provides a full sampling of topics from community politics to local film, media, and literature.
In his introductory essay, Don T. Nakanishi illuminates the important demographic, political, and historical conditions that have shaped Asian Australia and the possibilities for comparative approaches with Asian American Studies. . . The issue offers a transnational study of similarities and differences between Asian Australia and Asian America. As the guest editors write, “By bringing Asian America and Asian Australia together in conversation in this volume, we hope to provide new insights into the study of Asian diasporas in western developed societies that go beyond the dominant perspective of Asian diasporics as domestic(ated) racialized minority subjects within the nation-state.”
The issue is capped by commentaries from Ien Ang and Henry Yu on the significance of transnational perspectives to the Asian diaspora from Australian and North American vantage points. The topics covered in this special issue include:
Local Community Politics
This section explores the relationship between local politics and transnational identities from various perspectives. These include Ashley Carruthers’s anthropological study of Lao Australians, a discussion of diasporic Vietnamese literature by Scott Brook and Caitlin Nunn, and Audrey Yue’s detailed account of the production of underground “westie” martial arts films in the suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney. The essays reveal the way working-class Lao immigrants view their homeland as more cosmopolitan than the Australian neighborhoods in which they now live or how “westie” films enable Vietnamese Australian youths an opportunity to self-fashion their identities in ways that challenge both Australian and ethnic ideologies of masculinity.
Jacqueline Lo and visual artist Mayu Kanamori elaborate on the ways in which Asian Australians, Aboriginal Australians, and Anglo Australians are represented through the arts. Lo discusses the dramatic production Burning Daylight, which explores Asian-Indigenous encounters that are typically left out of official Australian histories. Kanamori provides a powerful personal narrative that looks at the issue of settlement from Japanese immigrant and Aboriginal points of view.
Comparative Asian Diasporas
Olivia Khoo, Kim Cheng Boey, and Iyko Day do comparative work on Asian Australian Studies and Asian American Studies. Khoo’s novel concept of the “shrimp Western” explores the influence of American movie genre par excellence, the Western, on Asian Australian films, raising questions on how to define minority cinemas. Kim Cheng Boey examines the complexities of poetics by immigrant poets, comparing the returns to Malaysia, both physical and psychological, in the works of Chinese Australian poet Ee Tiang Hong and Chinese American writer and scholar Shirley Lim Geok-lin. Iyko Day compares the experiences of internment endured by Japanese Americans, Japanese Canadians, and Japanese Australians.
Literature and Arts from Asian Australia
Amerasia is pleased to include the writings and mixed media work of some of Asian Australia’s leading artists. In addition to Mayu Kanamori’s discussion of her photographic series, this issue features “Cocooning,” a short story by award-winning author Simone Lazaroo, and a poem “This is where it begins,” by acclaimed writer Merlinda Bobis. Thought-provoking images are provided by Matt Huynh and Jason Wing.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Academic Research: Asian Australians" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2010/11/academic-research-asian-australians/> ().
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