Linger on Purity

To indulge my ongoing interest in perfectible reproduction, this post focuses on the questions of blood, racial purity, and mestizaje—or the Portugese equivalent in Brazil. In the final chapter of Searching for Home, Daniel Linger suggests that Japanese Brazilians do not necessarily comprise a unitary “diaspora,” questioning the validity of “Japanese Brazilian” as a demographic […]

Why, yes they do

Daniel Linger’s thought provoking question in Searching for Home Abroad, “do Japanese Brazilians exist?”, is also a provocative one. His implied response, which I assume to be “no,” is informed by a number of factors. First, Linger recognizes that “ethnicities, races, and nations are conjured up through symbols and stories that enmesh people in webs of relatedness” (209). […]

transnational movements and sovereignty

Both Lesser and Linger’s discussions bring attention to the way in which the transnational movement of people throughout different historical periods destabilize the clearcut boundaries of nation-states. With the mass migration of Japanese to Brazil and of Brazilians citizens of Japanese heritage to Japan, what arises is a complication of the sovereignty of a nation-state. […]

Presentation on Jeffrey Lesser and Daniel Linger

In “Japanese, Brazilians, Nikkei: A Short History of Identity Building and Homemaking” Jeffrey Lesser explores the Japanese diaspora in Brazil. He starts his chapter by explaining how the Japanese-Brazilian population (also known as Nikkei) originated. He mentions that in 1908, fifteen years after the Japanese diplomat Sho Nemoto went to Brazil in an attempt to […]

Photographs + Latour

The author reads Latour’s text as helping answer the question What were the rich heterogeneities of color and class, social realities, and cultural hybridities that contribute to this lacuna of “transition” from a slave society to free society? (184). In tackling this question, the author points out how Latour is answering it in a similarly […]

Texts speak?

Lisa Yun’s chapter “An Afro-Chinese Author” is just as much about acts of writing and narration as it is about the interlinked social histories of Chinese coolies and African slaves. Through the act of inscribing the coolie experience Chuffat creates a mode of speaking for peoples often excluded from official narratives. From the beginning of her […]

Yun, “An Afro-Chinese Author”

Lisa Yun, in her final chapter on the “Afro-Chinese author,” employs archival, textual, and visual methods to examine Antonio Chuffat’s biographical narrative. The narrative, which she describes as an “autobiography within a biography of the Chinese community,” presents a “critical narrative of liberalism” (Yun 187). Yun, who speaks from a Cuban context, corrects Lesser’s emblematically […]


The personal problem I had when reading “The Queen of the Chinese Colony”—that as a self-identified member of the Chinese diaspora, I did not feel like either Miss Honduras or Miss Costa Rica could represent me—however trivial or idiosyncratic, is indicative of a larger dilemma in studies of diaspora: the inadequacy of representation. As Lok Siu explains, […]

Siu on Chinese Diasporic Performance

In the 2005 Memories of a Future Home, Lok Siu defines “diaspora,” a contested concept in postcolonial studies, Latin American studies, and ethnic studies, as “both a methodology and an epistemological framework in which to understand citizenship in a transnational context that accounts for geopolitical dynamics and people’s situated and simultaneous commitments to different cultural-political […]

Mapping Diasporic Citizenship

In Tendencies, Eve Sedgwick considers the linguistic subtleties in various translations of queer – the Indo-European root twerkw (across), “which also yields the German quer (traverse), Latin torquere (to twist), English athwart… across genders, across sexualities, across genres, across ‘perversions’” (Tendencies, xii).  Thus, the word queer indicates a process or relation that is “multiply transitive… […]