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In the last fifty years, transnational adoption--specifically, the adoption of Asian children--has exploded in popularity as an alternative path to family making. Despite the cultural acceptance of this practice, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the factors that allowed Asian international adoption to flourish. In Global Families, Catherine Ceniza Choy unearths the little-known historical origins of Asian international adoption in the United States. Beginning with the post-World War II presence of the U.S. military in Asia, she reveals how mixed-race children born of Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese women and U.S. servicemen comprised one of the earliest groups of adoptive children. Based on extensive archival research, Global Families moves beyond one-dimensional portrayals of Asian international adoption as either a progressive form of U.S. multiculturalism or as an exploitative form of cultural and economic imperialism. Rather, Choy acknowledges the complexity of the phenomenon, illuminating both its radical possibilities of a world united across national, cultural, and racial divides through family formation and its strong potential for reinforcing the very racial and cultural hierarchies it sought to challenge.
Relative Histories focuses on the Asian American memoir that specifically recounts the story of at least three generations of the same family. This form of auto/biography concentrates as much on other members of one's family as on oneself, generally collapses the boundaries conventionally established between biography and autobiography, and in many cases--as Rocío G. Davis proposes for the auto/biographies of ethnic writers--crosses the frontier into history, promoting collective memory. Davis centers on how Asian American family memoirs expand the limits and function of life writing by reclaiming history and promoting community cohesion. She argues that identity is shaped by not only the stories we have been told, but also the stories we tell, making these narratives important examples of the ways we remember our family's past and tell our community's story.
"Prisons and Patriots"aprovides a detailed account of forty-one Nisei (second-generation Japanese Americans), known as the Tucsonians, who were imprisoned for resisting the draft during WWII. Cherstin Lyon parallels their courage as resisters with that of civil rights hero Gordon Hirabayashi, well known for his legal battle against curfew and internment, who also resisted the draft. These dual stories highlight the intrinsic relationship between the rights and the obligations of citizenship, particularly salient in times of war. Lyon considers how wartime civil disobedience has been remembered through historyOCohow soldiers have been celebrated for their valor while resisters have been demonized as unpatriotic. Using archival research and interviews, she presents a complex picture of loyalty and conflict among first-generation Issei and Nisei. Lyon contends that the success of the redress movement has made room for a narrative that neither reduces the wartime confinement to a source of shame nor proffers an uncritical account of heroic individuals.
In researching accounts of diasporic Chinese offspring who returned to their parents' ancestral country, author Patricia Chu learned that she was not alone in the experience of growing up in America with an abstract affinity to an ancestral homeland and community. The bittersweet emotions she had are shared in Asian American literature that depicts migration-related melancholia, contests official histories, and portrays Asian American families as flexible and transpacific. Where I Have Never Been explores the tropes of return, tracing both literal return visits by Asian emigrants and symbolic "returns": first visits by diasporic offspring. Chu argues that these Asian American narratives seek to remedy widely held anxieties about cultural loss and the erasure of personal and family histories from public memory. In fiction, memoirs, and personal essays, the writers of return narratives--including novelists Lisa See, May-lee Chai, Lydia Minatoya, and Ruth Ozeki, and best-selling author Denise Chong, diplomat Yung Wing, scholar Winberg Chai, essayist Josephine Khu, and many others--register and respond to personal and family losses through acts of remembrance and countermemory.
Offering a rich and insightful road map of Asian American history as it has evolved over more than 200 years, this book marks the first systematic attempt to take stock of this field of study. It examines, comments, and questions the changing assumptions and contexts underlying the experiences and contributions of an incredibly diverse population of Americans. Arriving and settling in this nation as early as the 1790s, with American-born generations stretching back more than a century, Asian Americans have become an integral part of the American experience; this cleverly organized book marks the trajectory of that journey, offering researchers invaluable information and interpretation. * Part 1 offers a synoptic narrative history, a chronology, and a set of periodizations that reflect different ways of constructing the Asian American past. * Part 2 presents lucid discussions of historical debates--such as interpreting the anti-Chinese movement of the late 1800s and the underlying causes of Japanese American internment during World War II--and such emerging themes as transnationalism and women and gender issues. * Part 3 contains a historiographical essay and a wide-ranging compilation of book, film, and electronic resources for further study of core themes and groups, including Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Hmong, Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, and others.
No timeline could fully account for six centuries of history, and this one is no exception. Instead it is meant to serve as a resource for critical thinking, a tool for in-depth and nuanced discussions to see Asian Americans and others both as subjects of domination and as agents of history. It is organized by historical time periods marked by major shifts like the U.S. Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War II, and Reagan-Era neoliberalism.