New nodal points in globalization?

Shu-mei Shih’s chapter “Globalization and Minoritization” highlights the problems with using the concepts of flow/fluidity as a form of resistance within a theoretical discussion haunted by the specter of postcolonial nationalisms. She describes recent trends in scholarship that have reversed interpretations of power in colonial legacies. Frederick Buell and Anthony King, for example, have theorized […]

Ethnicity vs Nationality

Takeyuki Tusda explores a very interesting question related to identity in “Homeland-less Abroad.” In general, there are two main categories that often are used to define one’s identity: ethnicity (defined by one’s background) and nationality (defined by one’s place of birth). Yet, in the case of the immigrant populations, these categories are not exactly useful, making most […]

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 […]

Asian American Theater

Karen Shimakawa explores an interesting strategy to deal with Asian diaspora issues in America. During the civil rights movement, a new theater company was created as a response to the struggle of Asian American performers in the theater industry. At the time, Asian American performers were frustrated because of the limited range of roles they […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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, […]

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… […]