Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
No Cover Image

Model-Minority Imperialism

VICTOR BASCARA
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: NED - New edition
https://doi.org/10.5749/j.ctttsj10
Pages: 232
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttsj10
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Model-Minority Imperialism
    Book Description:

    Focusing on the terms of Asian American assimilation and the rise of the model-minority myth, Victor Bascara examines the resurgence of empire as a tool for understanding the legacy of American imperialism. Model-Minority Imperialism links geopolitical dramas of twentieth-century empire building with domestic controversies of U.S. racial order by examining the cultural politics of Asian Americans in fiction, film, and theatrical productions._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9692-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. INTRODUCTION WE ARE HERE BECAUSE YOU WERE THERE
    (pp. xv-xxxvi)

    IN HIS ESSAY“Postcolonial Criticism,” Homi K. Bhabha acknowledges that “Orientalisminaugurated the postcolonial field.”¹ Few would challenge such a pronouncement that Said’s 1978 study of Western representations of the Middle East has indeed been influential for contemporary cultural politics. We might then reasonably ask: What inauguratedOrientalism? For an answer, we can turn to Said himself. In the introduction toOrientalism,Said describes how his childhood as an “Oriental” under British colonialism in Palestine and in Egypt left “traces” that he desires now to “inventory.” In casting his project this way, Said invokes an autobiographical narrative that, like his...

  2. 1 UNBURDENING EMPIRE THE CULTURAL POLITICS OF ASIAN AMERICAN DIFFERENCE
    (pp. 1-25)

    DESPITE STRENUOUS EFFORTSto debunk the model-minority myth, there is perhaps no idea that remains more dominant about Asian Americans than the conception that Asian Americans are a group that has managed to achieve economic, political, and cultural success in the face of adversity. Asian Americans, according to the myth, have transformed themselves from menaces into model citizens, from an industrial reserve army into entrepreneurs, from unassimilable aliens into decorated allies, from classed subjects into rights bearing individuals, perhaps even undergoing an extreme makeover from “a palm tree into an elm.” It is an inspirational story, and that capacity to...

  3. 2 AN EVER - EMERGENT EMPIRE THE DISCOURSE OF AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM
    (pp. 26-48)

    THE IDEAthat modern empire is distinctly European and decidedly un-American has cohered as an ideology of American exceptionalism.¹ The spoils of 1898 achieve the status of “a brief and rapidly dispelled aberration” in William Appleman Williams’s critical phrasing.² This chapter examines the ways that American exceptionalism set the stage for the interventions of Asian American cultural politics by being precisely that “rapidly dispelled aberration” that made exceptionalism possible. The idea of Asian Americans as a readily incorporable model minority gave the lie to exceptionalism by transforming the oriental other into the triumphant individual. Consequently, Asian Americanist critiques of the...

  4. 3 “THE AMERICAN EARTH WAS LIKE A HUGE HEART” OLD DREAMS AND THE NEW IMPERIALISM
    (pp. 49-73)

    A CULTURAL CANON,as such, has become a maligned tool of assimilation because of the exclusions necessarily involved in canon formation. Yet canons also hold out the temptation of inclusion, as well as exclusion.¹ An ongoing challenge to advocates, teachers, and practitioners of emergent literatures is how to expand the imperium of American literature and knowingly confront the defining and delimiting necessarily involved. This dilemma is particularly fraught when advocates construct canons composed of historically excluded texts. The irony of practicing exclusion while simultaneously trying to recover from exclusion has led to a curious and perhaps new formation of literary...

  5. 4 UPLIFTING RACE, RECONSTRUCTING EMPIRE
    (pp. 74-112)

    CONVENTIONAL AND STILL PERSUASIVEaccounts of the modern civil rights movement situate it as the blowback of the failures of Reconstruction.¹ One need look no further than the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.’s era-defining “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963 for an overt reference to a century of waiting for the Emancipation Proclamation to be implemented. Dr. King describes how African Americans have come to the “Bank of Freedom” with a “promissory note” and have found that there are “insufficient funds.”² It should thus be possible to read the desires of the civil...

  6. 5 “EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE FARRAH” ABSURD HISTORIES AND HISTORICAL ABSURDITIES
    (pp. 113-134)

    THIS FINAL CHAPTERoffers an extended analysis of a single text as a closing case study. R. Zamora Linmark’sRolling the R’sis a darkly funny and nonlinear assemblage of scenes from the Kalihi section of Oahu in the 1970s. The text revolves around a group of fifth graders who are simultaneously enamored by and critical of the American mass culture that structures their queer desires. By abortively seeking to inhabit the models of proper comportment displayed in the movies and broadcast over the radio, they subvert those models and imagine new ones. The subversive mimicry of the unfulfilled visions...

  7. EPILOGUE PAY ANY PRICE, BEAR ANY BURDEN
    (pp. 135-140)

    EARLY IN LISA LOWE’S Immigrant Acts,she reminds us of the tumultuous conditions that occasioned the ethos of revisionism that brought empire back to American culture. New social movements collided with entrenched constituencies invested in the status quo over the reasons for waging war in a former French colony in Southeast Asia. The power of that “event . . . to disunify the American public” is inextricable from the American culture’s chronic resistance to understanding its relation to empire. In the midst of that disunity, Asian American cultural politics emerged to exacerbate the contradictions of that historical moment, to make...