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Asian America

Asian America: Forming New Communities, Expanding Boundaries

Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Asian America
    Book Description:

    The last half century witnessed a dramatic change in the geographic, ethnographic, and socioeconomic structure of Asian American communities. While traditional enclaves were strengthened by waves of recent immigrants, native-born Asian Americans also created new urban and suburban areas.

    Asian America is the first comprehensive look at post-1960s Asian American communities in the United States and Canada. From Chinese Americans in Chicagoland to Vietnamese Americans in Orange County, this multi-disciplinary collection spans a wide comparative and panoramic scope. Contributors from an array of academic fields focus on global views of Asian American communities as well as on territorial and cultural boundaries.

    Presenting groundbreaking perspectives, Asian America revises worn assumptions and examines current challenges Asian American communities face in the twenty-first century.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-4867-8
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction: Reconceptualizing Asian American Communities
    (pp. 1-22)

    The geographic, ethnographic, and socioeconomic landscape of North America has changed dramatically since the 1960s. Asian American communities, reinforced by the newcomers from Asian countries and regions, have undergone profound transformation. While the traditional and long-established ethnic enclaves are renewed and revitalized by the influx of new immigrants, other, different types of urban or suburban communities have also emerged as a result of the socioeconomic upward mobility of native-born Asian Americans and the changing profiles of the new immigrants from Asia since the 1960s, who, such as the professionals and entrepreneurs, are better equipped with educational, monetary, and social capital....

  5. PART ONE Global Views of Asian American Communities

    • 1 Intragroup Diversity: Asian American Population Dynamics and Challenges of the Twenty-first Century
      (pp. 25-44)
      MIN ZHOU

      Asian America began to take shape in the late 1840s when a large number of Chinese immigrants arrived in the United States as contract laborers. In the span of more than one and a half centuries, it has evolved into a vastly diverse ethnic community consisting of people whose ancestors, or who themselves, were born in more than twenty-five Asian countries. As of 2005, the estimated number of Asian Americans grew to 14.4 million, up from less than 12 million in 2000 and from 1.4 million in 1970. The group’s many-fold growth in the past forty years is primarily due...

    • 2 Ethnic Solidarity, Rebounding Networks, and Transnational Culture: The Post-1965 Chinese American Family
      (pp. 45-62)

      In a paper for my Asian American history class, a student wrote: “Since relatives from both of my parents’ side are spread around the world, I created nicknames for all my relatives overseas based on the country they live—such asMei Guo Goo Ma(An aunt from America),Bay Lay Si Yi Yi(An aunt from my mom’s side in Belgium),Saam Faan Si Bill Gall(A cousin in San Francisco),O Zhoi Yee Po(A grandaunt in Australia), andGa Na Dai Sok Sok(An uncle in Canada). At the same time, unsolved questions popped up in my...

  6. PART TWO Asian Communities in America:: With Geographical Boundaries

    • 3 Beyond a Common Ethnicity and Culture: Chicagolandʹs Chinese American Communities since 1945
      (pp. 65-86)

      The month of October is a busy time for the Chinese American communities throughout Chicagoland, unbeknownst to most non-Chinese residents in the area. The ordinary unsuspecting American shopper or diner in Chicago’s Chinatown will probably fail to notice the huge banner hung across the Chinatown gateway commemorating “Double Ten,” the birthday of the Republic of China. Flying outside the windows of the Hoy On Association building on Cermak Road opposite the Chinatown gateway is a sizable banner welcoming Chinese president Jiang Zemin’s visit to Chicago. This familiar scene in 2001 is replayed yearly in this urban ethnic community located just...

    • 4 Transforming an Ethnic Community: Little Saigon, Orange County
      (pp. 87-103)

      In 1975, few Vietnamese lived in the United States; however, by 2005 over 1.2 million Vietnamese Americans commemorated the thirty-year anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, referred to as the American War by the Vietnamese.¹ In the intervening years, numerous refugee and immigrant waves settled in the Little Saigon area of Orange County, California, known as the capital of Vietnamese America. This vibrant area boasts thousands of Vietnamese businesses that cater to almost 300,000 Vietnamese in Southern California—the largest population of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam—who gather for shopping, entertainment, dining, and professional services.²

      Rather than focusing...

    • 5 Building a Community Center: Filipinas/os in San Franciscoʹs Excelsior Neighborhood
      (pp. 104-126)

      I stood at the corner of Mission and Geneva around 4:30 on a Tuesday afternoon. I was told by several locals that this was the most dangerous intersection in San Francisco. There sits a bus stop right in front of Popeye’s Chicken. Various types of people stand underneath graffiti-tagged billboards advertising Courvoisier cognac and Wal-Mart in Tagalog.¹ Chillin’ at the bus stop is abarkada, or a group of young Filipina/o friends. They aretsismising, gossiping in Tagalog, about some guy who thinks he’s better than them because he was born in the United States. Next to them stands three...

  7. PART THREE Asian Communities in America:: With Cultural/Social Boundaries

    • 6 Cultural Community: A New Model for Asian American Community
      (pp. 129-153)

      In 1857, Alla Lee, a twenty-four-year-old native of Ningbo, China, seeking a better life, came to St. Louis, where he opened a small shop on North Tenth Street selling tea and coffee. As the first and probably the only Chinese there for a while, Alla Lee mingled mostly with immigrants from Northern Ireland and married an Irish woman.¹ A decade later, Alla Lee was joined by several hundred of his compatriots from San Francisco and New York who were seeking jobs in mines and factories in and around St. Louis. Most of the Chinese workers lived in boardinghouses located near...

    • 7 Chinese Week: Building Chinese American Community through Festivity in Metropolitan Phoenix
      (pp. 154-178)
      WEI ZENG and WEI LI

      This chapter documents the building of contemporary Chinese American identity and community in metropolitan Phoenix through Phoenix Chinese Week,¹ an annual celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year. Due to its geographical proximity to California, and its role as one of the major settlement centers in Arizona, Phoenix has been a somewhat small-scale magnet for Chinese immigrants since the late nineteenth century. Chinese immigrants were involved in building railroads from California to Arizona in the 1870s, as well as in silver mining and grocery store and restaurant businesses. Despite this long settlement history, however, its traditional ethnic enclave—a downtown...

    • 8 Virtual Community and the Cultural Imaginary of Chinese Americans
      (pp. 179-197)
      YUAN SHU

      With the advancement of information technology and the increase of users across different strata in American culture and society, the Internet has become increasingly important in our understanding and articulation of the changing senses of identity and community. According to the seventh-year study of the Internet released by the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future in January 2008, “the Digital Future Project found that membership in online communities has more than doubled in only three years.”¹ As the majority of Americans have gone online by 2008, this study further reports that the Internet has...

    • 9 Ethnic Solidarity in a Divided Community: A Study on Bridging Organizations in Koreatown
      (pp. 198-220)

      Although theorists have come to recognize the continuing significance of ethnic political solidarity for black and Latino groups, there have been few studies that have analyzed how post-1965 Asian immigrant communities are able to sustain ethnic political solidarity amid increasing generational cleavages, class polarization, and residential sprawl. This inattention to the social dynamics of Asian American politics may partly be attributed to both the relative recent emergence of most post-1965 Asian American communities and the political inactivity of those Asian Americans who preceded them because of historical disenfranchisement and discrimination, cultural and linguistic barriers, electoral divisions, and negative experiences with...

  8. PART FOUR Asian Communities in Canada

    • 10 The Social Construction of Chinese in Canada
      (pp. 223-243)
      PETER S. LI

      Two main perspectives have been used to understand the development of Chinese communities overseas. The first stresses the historical origin of emigration, focusing on the influence of ancestral roots and homeland ties on Chinese community formation. According to this view, the Chinese overseas share a common history of emigration and displacement, a collective memory of the ancestral home, and a sense of estrangement that arises from being uprooted in the home country and marginalized in the country of adoption.¹ In short, the experiences of emigration and estrangement provide the common grounds for strengthening the cultural identity within a diaspora, and...

    • 11 Recent Mainland Chinese Immigrants in Canada: Trends and Obstacles
      (pp. 244-262)
      LI ZONG

      The 1990s and early twenty-first century witnessed large volumes of immigration from mainland China to Canada. Currently, mainland China is the largest immigration source country for Canada. Between 2000 and 2007, between 30,000 and 40,000 immigrants from mainland China entered Canada each year.¹ Most recent mainland Chinese immigrants, especially those arriving after 1990, have been well-trained and experienced professionals seeking new opportunities. Canada welcomes these immigrants mainly because of their potential to contribute to the country’s population and economic growth. However, many mainland Chinese immigrants are disappointed and frustrated because they have not been able to achieve a satisfactory social...

    (pp. 263-284)
    (pp. 285-286)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 287-292)