Feeling “in-between”

In “Homeland-less Abroad,” Takeyuki Tusda discusses diasporic liminality as a form of disoriented life characterized by “social uprootedness and ungroundedness resulting in a loss of a firm sense of place” (122). In discussing the return migration of Japanese Brazilian factory workers, and the personal challenges these workers face in their “ethnic homeland,” Tsuda argues that […]

On Performance and the Body

A major theme in our course syllabus, and in particular Diana Taylor’s 2016 book Performance, is the question of memory, as well as memory as body. For Taylor, “performance is a practice and an epistemology, a creative doing, a methodological lens, a way of transmitting memory and identity, and a way of understanding the world” […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

“Asia” in Portugese Colonial History, Art, & Politics

In “The ‘Orient’ in the ‘New World,’” Jorge Lúzio discerns a Portugese-Asian presence in “the cultural genesis of colonial Brazil” via South/east Asia. In tracing Asian cultural influences in “baroque imagery, gastronomy, commercial relations, and customs,” Lúzio discusses the presence of Asianness in colonial Brazil prior to the 19th-century immigration of Asian subjects (35). For […]

Gendered Developmentalism in Eurocentric Cartography

Today’s introductory readings from Lewis & Wigen explore, as well as critique, Orientalist cartographic discourses of East vs. West, epistemological object vs. rational mind. In mobilizing the map as not only image but also metaphor, the authors dismantle, while not entirely rejecting, this Cartesian dualism and its Enlightenment assumptions about knowledge and reason. For Lewis […]