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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

June 4, 2012

Written by C.N.

Academic Research: Race/Ethnicity, Immigration, & Asian Americans #7

The following is a list of recent academic journal articles and/or doctoral dissertations from scholars in the social/cognitive sciences and humanities that focus on race/ethnicity and/or immigration, with a particular emphasis on Asian Americans. As you can see, the diversity of research topics is a direct reflection of the dynamic and multidimensional nature of people’s lives, experiences, and issues related to race/ethnicity and immigration. Last but not least, congratulations to my new academic colleagues on being “Ph.inally”

The academic journal articles are generally available in the libraries of most colleges and universities and/or through online research databases. The dissertations records are compiled by Dissertation Abstracts International and copies can be obtained through your college’s library or by contacting ProQuest at 789 E. Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346, telephone 800-521-3042, or

The research listed below focus on the social sciences and humanities (other research that will be presented separately focus on the cognitive sciences). As always, works included in this list are for informational purposes only and do not imply an endorsement of their contents.

Tao, Yu. The Earnings of Asian Computer Scientists and Engineers in the United States. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 70, no. 10, pp. 3919, 2010.

  • Abstract: While Asians are overrepresented in science and engineering (S&E), they receive limited scholarly attention in sociology of science. To fill the knowledge gap about this understudied group, this study examines the effects of race, nativity, degree origin, gender, field, employment sector, and national origin on the annualized earnings of Asian computer scientists and engineers working in the U.S. To understand the above effects, this study uses descriptive analyses and quantile regressions. Data are derived from the National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG) conducted by the National Science Foundation. Overall, the findings partly confirm the structural arguments that some groups, notably women, racial/ethnic minorities, and immigrants, are disadvantaged in the U.S. workplace. The degree origin effect in 1993 could be due to the lower quality of degrees obtained from Asian higher education institutions and to the marginalized structural positions of Asian-educated immigrants in the American society. The disappearance of such an effect in 2003 could be due to the interactions between structural forces and human capital. The change of the effect of human capital has to be placed in a context of globalization and the resulting structural changes in various aspects, such as the improvement in higher education in Asia and changes in immigration policies in the U.S.
© Lisa Zador and

Hua, Linh Uyen. Reading Love: Race and the Political Economy of Affect. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 70, no. 11, pp. 4211, 2010.

  • Abstract: Adjoining a history of love to a history of racial violence, Reading Love begins at the height of the transatlantic slave trade when the nature of intimate exchange becomes irreparably sutured to the economic value of racial blackness. Employing the five senses as the analytic structure of its literary analysis, the dissertation investigates the ramifications of this global restructuring of love as accumulation for post-1914 American social and political culture. Focused on African American and Asian American texts from Nella Larsen’s Passing (1929) to Chang-rae Lee’s Native Speaker (1995), Reading Love reformulates the terms of call-and-response from the perspective of the Unlovable, an ideological and material orientation that disrupts compulsory participation in affective speculation by evidencing an ethics of anti-accumulation. Collectively, the chapters examine narrative and narrative interpretation, individual practice, and disciplinary formulation as crucial sights for reading love. The concerns of Reading Love are current to American Studies, which has seen exponential growth in scholarship on affect and intimacy in the last quarter century owing largely to the emergent institutional authority of queer theory, psychoanalysis, and gender and feminist studies. Reading Love contributes to this academic archive by reading love in twentieth-century texts through the transformative cash nexus of the transatlantic slave trade and liberal philosophy. The analytic framework of political economy — which includes the emergence of modern structures of public and private, liberty and love, and capital investments in citizenship — sustains the critical race and feminist interventions that characterize Reading Love’s agenda. The dissertation forces intra-racial (rather than inter-racial) accountability into the lexicon of American Studies and, in doing so, underscores its claim that critical investigations of assimilation and gentrification conventionally relegated to race and ethnic studies are symptomatic of a history of affective reformulation that is personal, national, global, and historic in its ramifications. The theoretical concerns of Reading Love remain faithful to the question of subjugated identities taken up in feminist scholarship and ethnic studies. The chapters telescope intra-community paralyses of ambivalence, sentimental intention, and assimilative distantiation symptomatic of a cultural logic that treats affect as a tacit form of economic and political speculation. The sum of this dissertation develops initial parameters for a theory of the Unlovable, a theory that emphasizes anti-speculative practice and anti-accumulative investment. It reformulates the call-and-response dynamic by turning responses into first order calls and diverges, in this way, from Gayatri Spivak’s caution against hegemonic appropriation of subaltern voices. Argued throughout Reading Love, an anti-speculative, anti-accumulative posture — a posture of Unlove — is possible and serves well as an element of radical reading and practice.

Park Nelson, Kim Ja. Korean Looks, American Eyes: Korean American Adoptees, Race, Culture and Nation. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 01, pp. 0236, 2010.

  • Abstract: This project positions Korean adoptees as transnational citizens at intersections within race relations in the United States, as emblems of international geopolitical relationships between the United States and South Korea, and as empowered actors, organizing to take control of racial and cultural discourses about Korean adoption. I make connections between transnational exchanges, American race relations, and Asian American experiences. I argue that though the contradictory experience of Korean adoptees, at once inside and outside bounded racial and national categories of “Asian,” “White,” “Korean,” and “American,” the limits of these categories may be explored and critiqued. In understanding Korean adoptees as transnational subjects, single-axis racial and national identity are challenged, where individuals have access to membership and/or face exclusion in more than one political or cultural nation. In addition, this work demonstrates the effects of American political and cultural imperialism both abroad and domestically, by elucidating how the acts of empire-building nations are mapped onto individuals though the regulation of immigration and family formation. My methods are interdisciplinary, drawing from traditions that include ethnography, primary historical sources, and literature. My dissertation work uses Korean adoptees’ own life stories that I have collected and recorded in three locations: (1) Minnesota, home to the largest concentration of Korean adoptees in the U.S.; (2) the Pacific Northwest, home to the many of the “first wave” of the oldest living Korean adoptees now in their 40s and 50s; and, (3) Seoul, Korea, home to hundreds of adult Korean adoptees who have traveled back to South Korea to live and work. In addition, I use Korean adoptee published narratives, archive materials documenting the early history of transnational adoption, and secondary sources in sociology, social work, psychology and cultural studies to uncover the many layers of national, racial and cultural belonging and significance for and of Korean adoptees.

Nguyen, Thanh-Nghi Bao. Vietnamese Manicurists: The Making of an Ethnic Niche. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 03, pp. 0992, 2010.

  • Abstract: The study provides a sociological analysis of the overrepresentation of Vietnamese immigrants in the manicuring business, and of the mechanisms through which the ethnic nail niche is sustained. The geographical focus is Boston, and elsewhere in New England. It is the most comprehensive study to date of the manicure sector and the role of Vietnamese in it. Vietnamese immigrants are shown to have been in a favored position to work in the niche, at a time when technological changes in the nail industry made manicuring more affordable and allowed for an expansion of service offerings. Vietnamese fitted the racial profile for low-skill manual service work in America, and were seen as deft in performing nail care. Also, they settled mainly in urban areas, where demand for nail services was greatest. Furthermore, they had extensive ethnic resources on which to draw. Through ethnic networks they acquired the necessary skills to perform the work, they secured employment, they pooled capital to go into business for themselves, and they found reliable workers in turn. Meanwhile, as poor immigrants, they were impressed with the earnings they could make as manicurists. The study makes use of historical and statistical sources, participant observation and key informants, and secondary sources. The data show Vietnamese domination of employment and ownership in an expanding manicure industry, and conflict and competition as well as cooperation among Vietnamese employed in the sector. Yet, Vietnamese prove to get disillusioned with work in the sector over the years, as a recession reduces demand for their services, as the growing supply of Vietnamese manicurists drives down earnings that can be made for their services, and as they are increasingly exposed to unhealthy chemicals in the course of their work. The findings have policy implications. With improved understanding of conditions in the sector government agencies can upgrade labor and health conditions in salons.

Almandrez, Mary Grace A. History in the Making: Narratives of Selected Asian Pacific American Women in Leadership. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 08, pp. 2943, 2011.

  • Abstract: The commitment of Asian Pacific American (APA) women to communities of color is not unique. However, their passions, experiences, and narratives have not been widely shared and are rarely considered in the study of leadership. Conventional notions of leadership as gendered, racialized, hierarchical, and individual-focused experiences do not necessarily reflect Asian Pacific American women’s leadership. This research inquiry calls for a paradigm shift where leadership is grounded in identity and being. This study employed a participatory inquiry protocol with an orientation in critical hermeneutics (Herda 1999) to account for the sociocultural complexity involved with Asian Pacific American women’s experiences. The data was created in a collaborative partnership between the participants and researcher. Data analysis drew upon the works of Ricoeur (1984, 1992), Kearney (1998, 2002), and Herda (1999) with specific focus on narrative identity, mimesis, and imagination. Through the exchange of stories and ideas, self-reflection, and continuous re-interpretation, both the participants and the researcher reached new understandings. The narratives of select Asian Pacific American women revealed four key findings. First, identity and being cannot be separated from leadership. Research participants revealed that founding events, cultural traditions, and relationships with others influenced the ways they led and served their communities. Second, Asian Pacific American women feel an ethical responsibility to carry on their legacies of leadership. They expressed a sense of responsibility to both honor the past and develop future leaders. Third, images of leadership can and do change over time. As Asian Pacific American women continue to share their stories, they provide educators, scholars, and communities with diverse images of leadership. Fourth, Asian Pacific American women place solicitude at the heart of ethical action. Participants considered recognition, reciprocity, and solicitude in their leadership. The appropriation of identity through the medium of leadership is rarely, if ever, considered by scholars. Understanding how identity informs leadership and leadership influences identity may provide insight on the varied ways that Asian Pacific American women lead and inspire their communities.

Yamauchi, Elyse M. Counterstories: Uncovering History within the Stories of Faculty of Color. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 09, pp. 3169, 2011.

  • Abstract: Through counterstorytelling (Solrzano & Yosso, 2002b), the methodological approach that is informed by critical race theory (CRT), an elegant platform and enlightening lens allows for the amplification of the narratives of faculty of color in predominantly White institutions of higher education (PWIs). Eight faculty of color, four women and four men, who identify as Chicano /a, Native American, Asian, and African American, were interviewed. They represented two institutions of higher education in a western state. Five of the counterstorytellers were tenured full professors, and the other three were non-tenured or tenure-track assistant professors. Their counterstories challenge the dominant master narrative that argues that in a post-racial and post-civil rights nation, issues of discrimination, racism, oppression, and White privilege have essentially been neutralized. However, their counterstories revealed painful historical experiences, legal decisions, and laws that have profoundly impacted their lives and scholarly pursuits. Their counterstories spoke to the racism that they have experienced where racism may not have been apparent to their White counterparts. From the powerful counterstories, the faculty of color revealed their perspectives and lived experiences of existing in divergent cultural worlds (Sadao, 2003), the cultures of their ethnic world and of the university. Their counterstories further reveal that faculty of color not only live in the borderlands between cultures, but often they face a separate reality in terms of mentoring, tenure, white privilege, and institutional racism. Finally, master narratives have an extensive and overarching historical and systemic impact upon their experiences at multiple levels.

Domingo, Ligaya Rene. Building a Movement: Filipino American Union and Community Organizing in Seattle in the 1970s. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 09, pp. 3324, 2011.

  • Abstract: The Asian American Movement emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s inspired by the Civil Rights Movement, Antiwar Movement, Black Liberation Movement, and struggles for liberation in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Activists, including college students and community members throughout the United States, used amass linea tactics to raise political awareness, build organizations, address community concerns, and ultimately to serve their communities. While the history of the Asian American Movement has been chronicled, the scholarship has been analytically and theoretically insufficient -and in some cases nonexistent- in terms of local struggles, how the movement unfolded, and the role of Filipino Americans. This dissertation focuses on one, untold story of the Asian American Movement: the role of activists in Seattle, Washington who were concerned with regional injustices affecting Filipino Americans. I argue that this local struggle in the Pacific Northwest not only demonstrates the diversity of action and strategy within the Asian American Movement but also deepens our understanding of the broader movement as both local and transnational a unique in its local strategies yet closely aligned with the goals of the eraas social movements. Based on both historical and qualitative data, this dissertation uses a Gramscian framework to explore the possibilities and limitations of using civil society as instruments for social change. Specifically, I examine the efforts by a group of local activists in the 1970s to seek redress for the exclusion, discrimination and social dislocation experienced by Filipino Americans. I explore two local Asian American Movement case studies in which activists worked within two preexisting organizational formations of civil society, the Alaska Cannery Workeras Union and the Filipino Community of Seattle, to achieve their goals. Ultimately, the findings of this study challenge previous claims that the Asian American Movement was either reformist or radical. In this case study of Filipino American activists in Seattle, the data demonstrates that they were agents for social reform and also revolutionaries, not one or the other. The findings of this study point to the need for more nuanced and complex frameworks for understanding social change processes and organizing strategies.

Chunyu, Miao. A Comparative Study of Chinese and Mexican Immigrants’ Economic Incorporation in the United States. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 10, pp. 3809, 2011.

  • Abstract: This dissertation research is a comparative study of the economic incorporation of the unskilled Chinese and Mexican immigrants in the United States. This comparative approach is justified by the fact that these two groups share striking similarities in human capital, social networks, and immigrant flow patterns, whereas they also differ significantly in their migration cost, transnational practice, and reception in the U.S. labor market. This research investigates three specific aspects of their labor market experience: participation in self-employment, job transition, and earnings growth. Essentially I hope to find out whether these immigrants can achieve economic mobility over time and in what forms. To explain the variation in immigrants’ labor market performance, I examine the effects of a series of factors, including assimilation, transnationalism, and other factors pertaining to the contexts of exit and reception. One particular point of inquiry is immigrants’ job placement in nontraditional destination areas and the economic consequences associated with that movement. This is mainly a quantitative study, using data from the Mexican Migration Project (MMP) and the China International Migration Project (CIMP). Besides descriptive statistics I employ a series of multivariate methods in my analyses, including logistic regression, discrete-time logit model, event history proportional hazard model, and fixed-effects and random-effects models. In addition, I utilize the qualitative information collected from the in-depth interviews with select Chinese immigrants in New York City in order to corroborate and complement the quantitative results. This study finds many similarities between the two groups’ labor market experience. These include their occupational status, patterns of job transitions within the U.S., and the influence of pre-migration endowment on their entrepreneurial attainment in the host society. Furthermore, both groups show an increasing trend of working in their nontraditional destination areas, very likely due to the reduced job competition and higher wages there. But they differ vastly in their labor market niches, including participation in self-employment and employment by coethnics, which lead to important differences in their economic well-being. In addition, intensive transnational practice and exorbitant migration cost constitute unique forces in affecting the incorporation experiences of Mexican and Chinese immigrants respectively.

Fino, Michelle. Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Exercise Practices of College Students of Color. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 11, pp. 3916, 2011.

  • Abstract: Chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are the leading causes of death in the United States, with people of color experiencing higher rates than the general population. Like most adults, college students typically do not adhere to nutrition and exercise recommendations that are in place to reduce the risks of chronic illnesses and promote good health. With increasing numbers of students of color attending college today, colleges must address their health and wellness needs. The purpose of this dissertation was to study the exercise behaviors and fruit and vegetable intake of college students of color by determining if relationships exist between various characteristics of students of color and their health habits. This study used a subsample of 5,587 African American, Asian American, Latina/o and Native American college students of color from the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment fall 2008 nationwide college health survey. The results of this study indicate African American, Asian American, Latina/o and Native American college students do not meet current exercise or fruit and vegetable intake recommendations, with female students in all groups exercising less than their male counterparts. The results also indicated that distinct factors predicted fruit and vegetable intake and exercise practices for African American, Asian American, Latina/o and Native American college students. This study proposes a research-based Healthy Campus Committee model designed to improve the nutrition practices and increase exercise activity among African American, Asian American, Latina/o and Native American college students.

Kamimura, Mark Allen. Multiracial College Students: Understanding Interpersonal Self-Concept in the First Year. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 11, pp. 3923, 2011.

  • Abstract: This purpose of this study was to explore the differences between mixed and single race students in the factors that contribute to an interpersonal self-concept. The data in this study are drawn from a national longitudinal survey, Your First College Year (YFCY), from 2004-2005 and includes mixed race Black and Asian students in comparison to their single race Black and Asian single race peers to explore interpersonal self-concept. The results suggest that mixed and single race Asian and Black students have different pre-college and first year experiences. Only mixed race Black students were found to develop a significantly higher interpersonal self-concept after their first-year than their single race peers. However, most importantly for mixed and single race students are their interactions with diverse peers. For all groups, both negative and positive interactions based on race within the college environment directly impact interpersonal self-concept. First-year college experiences (Positive Ethnic/Racial Relations, Racial Interactions of a Negative Quality, Leadership Orientation, Sense of Belonging, Campus Racial Climate, Self-Assessed Cognitive Development) were the most significant contributors to the development of an interpersonal self-concept in comparison to pre-college experiences. The slight differences between Black and Asian interpersonal self-concept are discussed. The findings in this study expand the literature on multiracial college students and provide empirical evidence to support institutional practices that aim to promote a positive interpersonal self-concept in the first college year.

Samura, Michelle A. Architecture of Diversity: Dilemmas of Race and Space for Asian American Students in Higher Education. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 11, pp. 3927, 2011.

  • Abstract: This mixed methods study examines the contradictory experiences of Asian American college students who are simultaneously experiencing the benefits of academic success, including socioeconomic mobility and, to a certain extent, social inclusion, yet are unable to escape racialization. Conceptually, this study both incorporates and challenges recent work on Asian American identity and racial politics. Empirically, this investigation examines the uncertainties and varying experiences of Asian American college students “from below.” That is, rather than assuming that Asian Americans students, and Asian Americans more generally, are already located within the contemporary US racial order, my perspective emphasizes their efforts to position themselves. Asian American college students’ experiences are examined in depth by using a unique combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, spatial theory, and visual sociology. A symbolic interactionist approach is employed to understand how they situate themselves within the rapidly changing dynamics of Asian American racialization today. Qualitative analysis of interviews and quantitative analysis of data from a large scale longitudinal survey of undergraduate students’ experiences, combined with analysis of student-created photographs reveal that many Asian American college students are grappling with a series of dilemmas and tensions. These dilemmas are a result of the conflicting messages they are receiving about the role of higher education in their lives and the fluctuating levels of salience of Asian American racial identity. Furthermore, membership within the pan-ethnic racial category of “Asian American” is not assumed for many of these students. In fact, a number of the participants in this study are unsure about the importance of their Asian American racial identity and frequently contesting, negotiate, and, in some cases, ignore (or at least attempt to ignore) their racial identifications.

Lim, Jeehyun. Between foreigners and citizens: Bilinguals in Asian American and Latino literature, 1960–2000. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 11, pp. 4024, 2011.

  • Abstract: The immigration reform of 1965 ushered in a tide of multiculturalism in the U.S. The new immigration changed the demographics of the U.S. as Asians and Latinos came to form the two largest groups of immigrants in the post-1965 era. The social debates on bilingualism between 1967, when bilingual education was first debated in Congress, and 1998, when Proposition 227 banned bilingual education from public schools in California, illustrate the negotiations around the incorporation of Asian Americans and Latinos into the national body. While the popular understanding of bilingualism in the 1960s viewed it as a disadvantage — a euphemism for linguistic handicap — the liberal approach to bilingualism tried to turn the liability of bilingualism into an asset. The two faces of bilingualism as liability and asset correspond to the oscillating position of Asian Americans and Latinos as racialized subjects and exemplary multicultural subjects in multiculturalism. In this dissertation, I place a number of well-known Asian American literary texts in dialogue with the debates on bilingualism to examine what the social discourse of bilingualism can offer for understanding of these texts and to see what the literary representations of bilinguals can show about the psychology and affective landscape of bilingualism that often go unnoted in the social discourse of bilingualism. I argue that the representation of bilinguals in Asian American and Latino literature shows the social negotiations around bilingualism that either result in the bilingual’s becoming an exemplary citizen-subject or her perpetual relegation to a realm outside the social norms. The writers I examine, including Maxine Hong Kingston, Helena Maria Viramontes, Richard Rodriguez, Chang-rae Lee, Julia Alvarez, and Ha Jin, show the depth and breadth of a literary imagination that reaches into the heart of the psychological and social experiences of bilinguals. In their writings, the bilingual characters ruminate on the meaning of language and belonging, negotiate their state of racialization in and between two languages, and configure the place of language between identity and commodity. The literary bilingual’s navigation of the various social values accorded bilingualism demonstrates the place of the Asian American and Latino subject within a managerial multiculturalism.

Schiff, Sarah Eden. Word of Myth: Critical Stories in Minority American Literature. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 11, pp. 4026, 2011.

  • Abstract: Since the 1960s, African American, Native American, Asian American, and Chicano/a literatures have captivated the national imagination. “Word of Myth” contends that minority authors’ pervasive use of myth has been foundational to this boom in literary production. Because it imposes order on the unknown and makes what is historically specific seem natural and timeless, myth has proven invaluable for minority authors to challenge master narratives while simultaneously reconstructing marginalized ones. Though myth is conventionally understood as a politically conservative narrative form, I argue that it can both conserve and liberate, sanction and qualify. In myth, minority writers found the means to transmit cultural values, intellectual traditions, and silenced histories while retaining an oppositional political stance. To map the ways crosscultural US literatures deploy myth, I draw on a broad spectrum of myth theory, from mid-century structuralists Carl Jung and Mircea Eliade to more recent scholars of religion and philosophy such as Paul Ricoeur and Wendy Doniger. Considering texts by contemporaneous authors across cultural divides, each chapter of my dissertation identifies formal dynamics by which US literatures of race and ethnicity forge symbolic space for alternate mythologies in order to confront the leviathan of American exceptionalism. Because myth appears in all cultures but demands cultural context to be understood, it proves to be an especially useful theoretical lens for comparative American literary studies. By making myth a central critical category, “Word of Myth” identifies literary strategies used in common by authors of disparate racial backgrounds, explains the significance of these connections in the context of national politics, and thereby revises the prevailing narrative of American literary history. Rather than a series of unconnected movements or an assortment of multicultural tokens, post-1960s US minority literature, through its emplotment of alternate origin stories, has fundamentally changed the imagination of Americans — both how we imagine and who we imagine Americans to be.

Li, Shijian. When Does Social Capital Matter for Health? The Moderating Roles of Ethnicity, Income and Gender. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 11, pp. 4181, 2011.

  • Abstract: Many empirical studies have suggested that social capital is positively related to health. However, little research has been conducted into how social capital is distributed and whether social capital matters for health uniformly or differentially across socio-economic statuses or racial/ethnic groups in the United States. This research seeks to address the gaps by examining the distribution of social capital across racial/ethnic, income, education and gender groups in the general population as well as among three Asian American subpopulations. It investigates whether social capital is associated with Asian Americans’ health, and, if so, whether such associations are moderated by ethnicity, income or gender. The research draws data from two nationally representative surveys: the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), and the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS). Exploratory factor analysis is used to generate social capital indicators from respondents’ social networks and their subjective evaluations of family and neighborhood life. Dependent variables include both physical and mental health outcomes as well as health behavior. Findings reveal that Whites, females and individuals with higher incomes and more education have higher levels of social capital. Logistic regression analysis shows that while social capital, in particular structural social capital, is generally associated with better health outcomes, some dimensions of social capital are associated with an increased risk of smoking. More importantly, the study finds that social capital and health associations are moderated by ethnicity, income and gender, with Vietnamese and low-income individuals receiving higher returns from social capital. Additionally, the negative effect of social capital on smoking is much stronger for women than for men. The findings of this study provide empirical evidence for a new line of reasoning which views the value of social capital for health as contingent on social context. Future research should take social context into account when examining the health effects of social capital. Additionally, social work practitioners should consider tailored interventions for targeted populations in order to maximize the benefits of social capital while minimizing its negative effects. As empirical investigations in this field are relatively new, additional research is needed to advance theory, research and practice.

Lee, Sharon S. (Un)seen and (Un)heard: The Struggle for Asian American “Minority” Recognition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1968-1997. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 12, pp. 4305, 2011.

  • Abstract: Are Asian American college students “minorities”? Using a measure of statistical parity of a student body compared to a state’s demographics, Asian Americans have often been excluded from minority student status because they are “overrepresented.” As a result, universities overlook their need for culturally and racially relevant curricula and support services. Unable to argue that they are underrepresented and depicted as the “model minority,” Asian American students have struggled to have their educational needs seen and heard. This dissertation examines the historical development of academic and support services for Asian American students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) from 1968 to 1997. UIUC is home to the largest Asian American Studies program and Asian American cultural center in the Midwest, products of years of activism by Asian American students who challenged university discourses that they were not minorities. By investigating archival and oral evidence, the complex and nuanced experiences of Asian American students are revealed, beyond misperceptions of their seamless integration in predominantly white universities and beyond model minority stereotypes. This study of Asian American students offers a broader concept of “minority status” that is currently limited by a statistical focus and a black/white racial lens.

Fung, Catherine Minyee. Perpetual Refugee: Memory of the Vietnam War in Asian American Literature. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 12, pp. 4392, 2011.

  • Abstract: This dissertation investigates the ways in which the refugee provides a counternarrative to models of citizenship that privilege immigration and assimilation. I treat the refugee as a figure that is suspended between citizen and alien, and that is at once constructed by state apparatuses and deployed in order to reify or contest what the nation supposedly stands for. Refugee status is granted with adherence to specific laws and regulations set by the US and the international community. At the same time, the “success” or “failure” of refugees’ resettlement is often used to both rewrite the US’s involvement in past wars and justify its involvement in current ones. For example, the narrative of the “good refugee,” which valorizes capitalism and equates “freedom” with upward mobility, is now often used to fold the Vietnam War into the United States’ list of “good wars.” Rather than view the refugee as a mere byproduct of war, I argue for a method of treating the refugee as a rubric upon which the United States constructs its collective history. Thus Perpetual Refugee offers a critical examination of how the Vietnam War serves as a condition that allows for refugees to be represented, as well as of the terms of citizenship that the war negotiates. Chapter One examines Vietnamese American cultural production, focusing on the ways in which memoirs written by second-generation Vietnamese Americans channel memory of the war, and the loss that it produced, through tropes of wounding, which become the condition that grants visibility for refugees in the United States. Chapter Two expands upon this issue of nationalism and visibility through an examination of a refugee group that is “nation-less” and largely invisible: the Hmong who fought as allies to the U.S. during the “Secret War” in Laos and Cambodia. Chapter Three unpacks the category of the refugee as it is mediated through literary, psychological and legal discourses. Chapter Four challenges the genre of “Vietnam War literature” by reading Monique Truong’s The Book of Salt as a novel that relies on memory of the war in producing its meaning.

Zhou, Chao. Three Essays on the Economics of Racial and Ethnic Differences. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 12, pp. 4497, 2011.

  • Abstract: The United States contains an enormous variety of racial and ethnic groups, many of which have faced discrimination, both historically and today. My dissertation studies how minority races and ethnic groups were (and are) treated differently and how these treatments affect economic outcomes from different angles, including income, education, employment and health. Historically, blacks were denied access to many hospitals because of their race. Chapter One uses a historical natural experiment — federally-mandated hospital desegregation — to study the impact of access on racial differences in deaths from motor vehicle accidents. Focusing primarily on Mississippi, I use detailed micro-data from the US Vital Statistics matched with race-specific hospital survey information. Combining this data set with a race-specific distance to the nearest hospital before and after integration, I find that, on average, distance to nearest hospital fell by 50 miles for blacks after integration. I also show that distance and accident mortality were positively correlated: increases in distance to the nearest hospital were associated with higher mortality. Chapter Two focuses on a contemporary issue — Racial and ethnic differences in medical utilization. I focus on the heart failure because it is the leading noncancerous diagnosis for patients in hospice care and the leading cause of hospitalization among Medicare beneficiaries. In a national sample of Medicare beneficiaries with heart failure, I find that blacks and Hispanics used hospice care for heart failure less than whites after adjustment for individual and market factors. Blending both historical and contemporary analysis, Chapter 3 studies a previously unnoticed trend — a secular decline from 1960 to 2000 in the relative likelihood that Asian-Americans worked in the public sector. In 1960 Asian Americans were nearly ten percentage points more likely to work in the public sector than were Whites, but by 2000 the gap had declined to two percentage points. I argue that this relative decline in public employment reflects relative improvement over time in labor market outcomes in the private sector for Asian Americans.

Carlisle, Shauna K. From Healthy to Unhealthy: Disaggregating the Relationship between Race, Nativity, Perceived Discrimination, and Chronic Health. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 12, pp. 4565, 2011.

  • Abstract: There is a clear association between race and health outcomes in the United States. Needed is a systematic examination of the relationship between chronic health and race, ethnicity, nativity, and length of residency. Further, the role of perceived discrimination and health decline must be explored beyond broad racial categories with the inclusion of Caribbean ethnic subgroups. Utilizing the linked data from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (CPES), this dissertation addresses the gap in literature by examining differences in reports of chronic cardiovascular, chronic respiratory, and chronic pain conditions across three samples of Asian American (n=1,628), Latino Americans (n=1,940), and Afro-Caribbean American (n=978) respondents. Chapter 2 examines the ethnic subgroup variation in chronic health by comparing self-reports of chronic conditions across diverse subgroups of Asian American (Vietnamese, Filipino, Chinese), Latino American (Cuban, Portuguese, Mexican), and Afro-Caribbean (Haitian, Jamaican, Trinidadian/Tobagonian) respondents. Chi square analysis reveals significant differences by race for chronic cardiovascular [c2 (2, n=4969) 16.77, p< .00001, respiratory [c2 (2, n=4975) 10.23, p<.0001], and pain conditions [c2 (2, n=4973) .22, p>.8]. Logistic regression revealed significant differences in reports of chronic conditions across nine ethnic subgroups Chapter 3 examines the nativity differences in reports of chronic cardiovascular, respiratory, and pain conditions between foreign-born (n=3,579) and native-born (n=1,409) respondents. Results reveal that native-born respondents were significantly more likely to report chronic respiratory [c2(1, n=4958) 30.78, p^,.05] and pain [c2(1, n-4958) 3.77, p^,.05] conditions than were their foreign-born counterparts. Logistic regression models reveal significant associations between chronic conditions, and other demographic factors known to influence immigrant health. Chapter 4 explores the relationship between chronic conditions, nativity, perceived discrimination, and length of residency among the three racial and nine ethnic subgroups. Afro-Caribbean subgroups were more likely to report perceived discrimination than Asian and Latino American subgroups were. However, a significant positive association with perceived discrimination was found only for Latino American respondents (b=.60; P^,01). An interaction term called “exposure” was created to estimate the effects of long-term exposure to perceived discrimination among foreign-born respondents in this study. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine which groups within the model were more likely to report exposure effects.

Jain, Sonali. For Love and Money: Second-Generation Indian American Professionals in the Emerging Indian Economy. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 12, pp. 4579, 2011.

  • Abstract: Against a background of shifting global economic dynamics, this dissertation explores questions raised when an emergent migration stream — that of high-skilled, second-generation Indian American professionals — “returns” to India, even as their parents continue to reside in the US. My analysis draws from qualitative interviews with 48 second-generation Indian Americans working in the Indian cities of New Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad, and I supplement the interviews with ethnographic data. I find that second-generation Indian Americans “return” to take advantage of economic opportunities in the emerging Indian economy and also to emotionally connect or reconnect to the ancestral homeland. Drawing on sociological frameworks of globalization and transnationalism, I examine the lived experiences of second-generation Indian Americans in three spheres in India: home, work and community. My analysis reveals that in the home sphere, even as respondents realize a deepening of their attachments to India, they struggle with the social and cultural realities of living in a “new” and globalized India. Their experiences are shaped in part by their location in a transnational social field spanning the US and India, which affords them the opportunity to constantly juxtapose and compare their lives in both countries. In the work sphere, I find that they strategically emphasize both Indian and American ethnicities. Ethnicity then becomes a powerful tool that respondents selectively deploy in order to accrue advantages in the workplace. As they adapt to life in India, many connect to the country on a more personal level, as manifested by their engagement in the civic sphere. Animated by a desire to contribute to “India”, respondents get involved in civic life in India in a variety of ways, facilitated in part by their embeddedness in transnational networks spanning the US and India. The findings from this dissertation point to the emergence of an important but under-recognized phenomenon in the transnational migration literature. At least for some second-generation immigrant groups, “return” to the ancestral homeland may be a growing phenomenon, with important implications for questions of transnational mobility, belonging and ethnicity.

Kang, Hyeyoung. Exploring Sense of Indebtedness toward Parents among Korean American Youth. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 71, no. 12, pp. 4582, 2011.

  • Abstract: Korean American youth experience immigration-related parent-child challenges including language barriers, generational cultural divides, and parental unavailability. Despite these challenges, studies suggest their lack of negative effects on these youth’s global perception of their parents and an indication of positive relationships in Korean immigrant families. Evidence suggests the important role of Korean American youth’s positive meaning-making in their perceptions of their parents and past family challenges, as well as the salience of their perception of parental sacrifice in the process of positive meaning making. Thus this study proposed Korean American youth’s sense of indebtedness toward parents as an important concept that may be useful to understand the gap between parent-child challenges and their outcome among Korean immigrant families. Using symbolic interactionism theory and grounded theory methods, this exploratory qualitative study examined the role of Korean American youth’s sense of indebtedness toward their parents in understanding the process of positive meaning-making. The findings show that the majority of these youth developed their narrative sense of indebtedness toward parents, in which they incorporated SIP-related perceptions into their own narratives. However, only some youth internalized sense of indebtedness toward parents, making these perceptions integral part of their own beliefs by attributing personal and significant meaning to these perceptions. The findings suggest that Korean American youth’s internalization of sense of indebtedness toward parents may play a role as a protective factor against parent-child challenges by positively affecting the youth in cognitive, affective, and behavioural domain, through which it appeared to help youth overcome parent-child challenges and promote more positive parent-child relationships.

Chatterji, Miabi. The Hierarchies of Help: South Asian Service Workers in New York City. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 72, no. 01, pp. 0248, 2011.

  • Abstract: Services are the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy and are sold to the working class as a source of sustainable employment that will replace manufacturing jobs. Drawing on ethnographic research with South Asian low-wage immigrant workers in three South Asian American commercial enclaves in New York City as well as their managers and Mexican and Central American coworkers, I challenge this vision of the service sector as a new haven of working-class stability. In-person service jobs are chronically contingent, insecure, and idiosyncratically managed, and contemporary urban services are largely unregulated, with weak enforcement of laws for worker protection. This environment leaves low-wage immigrant employees — the backbone of the industry — open to a wide range of abuses. Through analyzing my participants’ everyday conflicts with one another, their narrations of their dating and love lives, and their fraught interactions with their managers, this study shows how recent immigrants run a gauntlet of racialization, gendering, and the molding of class consciousness. In response, they fashion their own informal rules in order to make sense of their work world and define their positions within it. My analysis of their predicament, while extending the scholarship on urban immigrant communities, has critical implications for the politics of multiracial labor in the modern workplace.

Hall, Matthew S. From a World Away to Living Next Door: The Residential Segregation and Attainment of America’s Newest Immigrants. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 72, no. 01, pp. 0379, 2011.

  • Abstract: As the immigrant population in the U.S. swells in size and expands across the geographic landscape, virtually every aspect of contemporary social life is being transformed, influencing natives’ job prospects, the challenges faced by local schools, and America’s ethnic mix and cultural identity. These and other issues are closely related to immigrant settlement patterns across U.S. neighborhoods. Understanding immigrants’ imprint on the residential landscape is thus central to broader debates over how immigration impacts American life and how immigrants fare in their new home. This dissertation seeks to address this important topic by providing a detailed, yet comprehensive account of new immigrants’ residential circumstances. Specifically, I use neighborhood-level data from Census 2000 and household-level data from the American Housing Survey to explore patterns and correlates of residential segregation and attainment for ten new immigrant groups. In sum, I find that the assimilation of new immigrants is clearly underway: Greater socioeconomic resources and acculturation are associated with greater proximity to native-born whites, lower residential isolation, higher-quality housing, and better neighborhoods. On the other hand, my research also points to a rigid racial/ethnic pattern with Asian immigrants being less segregated and occupying superior housing and neighborhood environments than Latin American and Caribbean immigrants. The extraordinarily high levels of segregation for black immigrants are especially disturbing and indicate the continued relevance of the principle of black exceptionalism. I also show that the fairly high levels of immigrant group segregation in established metropolitan areas are being reproduced in new and nongateway metropolitan destinations. Despite some of these troubling patterns, my analysis generally suggests that immigrant segregation does not translate into poor housing and neighborhood outcomes. While I do find that the odds of homeownership are lower for immigrants in segregated contexts, and that segregation is consistently detrimental for Mexican immigrants’ residential attainment, segregation tends to have no effect or exerts positive ones on other measures of housing and neighborhood quality. All in all, this research points not just to the challenges faced by new arrivals in American residential life, but also to the clear signs that new immigrants are participating in the American Dream.

Narui, Mitsu. A Foucauldian analysis of Asian/American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Students’ Process of Disclosing their Sexual Orientation and Its Impact on Identity Construction. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 72, no. 02, pp. 0554, 2011.

  • Abstract: In recent years, the number of traditional-aged Asian/American gay, lesbian and bisexual (GLB) college students has steadily increased. Despite this trend, this population has largely been neglected within the research literature. As a group, Asian/American GLB students are distinctively positioned within society, facing pressures from the Asian/American, White, heterosexual, and GLB communities. The purpose of this study was to better understand how and why Asian/American GLB students disclosed their sexual orientation to others during college and the impact of that disclosure on their construction of identity. Methodologically, a Fouaculdian analysis (particularly situational analysis) was conducted with the primary data sources being semi-structured interviews; secondary sources included documents (including blogs, Facebook posts, and personal essays), participant observations, and fieldwork. Overall, the goal of this study was to find out how disclosing one’s sexual orientation affected the study’s participants’ experiences in college.

Guerrero, Perla M. Impacting Arkansas: Vietnamese and Cuban Refugees and Latina/o Immigrants, 1975-2005. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 72, no. 02, pp. 0636, 2011.

  • Abstract: This research considers the effects of the arrival of refugees from Vietnam and Cuba and Latina/o immigrants (mainly ethnic Mexicans) to the U.S. South. I use newspaper articles and state and federal archives to analyze how refugees and immigrants were racialized in the state. I examine each group’s racialization with attention to the historical moment in which they entered homogenously White, Protestant, and Republican northwest Arkansas and I find that contextual forces such as local history, U.S. foreign policy, national political context, social class status, and dominant racial discourses articulated in ways that drew on long-standing ideologies. The racialization of Vietnamese refugees in 1975 was affected by their placement in Arkansas at the end of the Vietnam War, in a moment when the nation was dealing with having lost an exceptionally contentious episode within the ongoing Cold War. Vietnamese were cautiously welcomed with a rhetoric of American values which opposed communism and had to make good on promises to help the United States’ former allies. Their reception was further shaped by their status as largely professionals, college-educated, and English-proficient, nonetheless, fear of “yellow peril” promulgated. In contrast to the Vietnamese, Cuban refugees arrived in 1980 amidst national and international accusations that Fidel Castro’s government had unleashed criminals, prostitutes, and the mentally ill. Given these circumstances, and that this cohort of Cuban refugees was largely working-class, gay, and of African descent, they were constructed as criminal and deviant and Arkansans and their politicians mobilized to remove them from the state. Latinas/os (immigrants and U.S.-born), particularly ethnic Mexicans, began arriving in the early 1990s during a significant economic regional reorganization which provided many of them with low-wage work. They were all quickly constructed as “illegal aliens,” with their behaviors in public and private spaces severely condemned and policed. The history and relationship between the State of Arkansas and the federal government also shaped the reception of the groups in important ways as local (city and state) versus extra-local (federal agencies) control became central to the debates over the changes occurring in northwest Arkansas. Generally, there were hostile reactions toward Vietnamese, Cubans, and ethnic Mexicans because Arkansans deemed the new groups a threat to their community, their way of life, and their country.

Willms, Nicole A. Japanese-American Basketball: Constructing Gender, Ethnicity, and Community. Dissertation Abstracts International: Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 72, no. 03, pp. 0997, 2011.

  • Abstract: This study explores the ways that an ethnic-based sports league organizes and understands itself in the context of larger racial /ethnic and gender hegemonies in sport. Using primarily qualitative data drawn from observations and interviews, augmented by archival and survey research, I analyze the social construction of gender, ethnicity, and community within Japanese-American basketball leagues and tournaments (“J-Leagues”) in the Los Angeles area using a three-level theoretical framework that examines social interactions, structural contexts, and cultural symbols. Japanese-American Basketball is an institution with a unique gender regime that provides a space for and is supported by cultural symbols and social interactions that differ from those typically found in mainstream sports. The core reason for this alternate pattern in gender relations is the importance of community-building for Japanese Americans. Girls and women in the leagues are a necessary component of community-building — their active participation is an important element for maintaining the expansiveness of the leagues. Successful women connected to the J-Leagues also provide symbolic resources for the Japanese-American community that help build ethnic solidarity and that are seen as comparable, if not superior, to those offered by male counterparts. Within this milieu, female athleticism is normalized, encouraged, supported and respected. Outside of the community, however, girls and women often face different reactions. The gender regime in the J-Leagues exists in the context of larger sociohistorical circumstances. Early discriminatory laws and practices punctuated by the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II created the settings, necessity, and desire for a strong ethnic community. These same circumstances also served to erode elements of patriarchy within the Japanese-American family. These structures influenced Japanese Americans to place a high value on institutions that promote community and to be open to active participation by women (particularly when it serves the goals of maintaining community). Furthermore, the enduring racialization of Japanese Americans in the United States as “Asian” involves controlling images that often portray women as small, weak, and feminine while also regarding them as foreign and unassimilable. This study reveals the ways in which engagement with a physical and all-American sport such as basketball contests both types of images. Participation by either sex — and especially successful participation in mainstream environments — feeds this counter-hegemonic project.

Author Citation

Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Academic Research: Race/Ethnicity, Immigration, & Asian Americans #7" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <> ().

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