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Transpacific Articulations

Transpacific Articulations: Student Migration and the Remaking of Asian America

Copyright Date: 2013
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  • Book Info
    Transpacific Articulations
    Book Description:

    In 1854 Yung Wing, who graduated with a bachelor's degree from Yale University, returned to a poverty-stricken China, where domestic revolt and foreign invasion were shaking the Chinese empire. Inspired by the U.S. and its liberal education, Yung believed that having more Chinese students educated there was the only way to bring reform to China. Since then, generations of students from China-and other Asian countries-have embarked on this transpacific voyage in search of modernity. What forces have shaped Asian student migration to the U.S.? What impact do foreign students have on the formation of Asian America? How do we grasp the meaning of this transpacific subject in and out of Asian American history and culture?Transpacific Articulationsexplores these questions in the crossings of Asian culture and American history.Beginning with the story of Yung Wing, the book is organized chronologically to show the transpacific character of Asian student migration. The author examines Chinese students' writings in English and Chinese, maintaining that so-called "overseas student literature" represents both an imaginary passage to modernity and a transnational culture where meanings of Asian America are rearticulated through Chinese. He also demonstrates that Chinese student political activities in the U.S. in the late 1960s and 1970s-namely, the Baodiao movement that protested Japan's takeover of the Diaoyutai Islands and the Taiwan independence movement-have important but less examined intersections with Asian America. In addition, the work offers a reflection on the development of Asian American studies in Asia to suggest the continuing significance of knowledge and movement in the formation of Asian America.Transpacific Articulationsprovides a doubly engaged perspective formed in the nexus of Asian and American histories by taking the foreign student figure seriously. It will not only speak to scholars of Asian American studies, Asian studies, and transnational cultural studies, but also to general readers who are interested in issues of modernity, diaspora, identity, and cultural politics in China and Taiwan.Chih-ming Wangis assistant research fellow in European and American studies at Academia Sinica, Taiwan.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-3916-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Note on Spelling
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)

    This book explores the liminal and transnational presence of the foreign student in the cultural and political space of Asian America. It studies the writings and political activism that foreign students have engaged in across the Pacific to offer a historically grounded analysis of Asian American transnationality and its contemporary significance. Though often cast as a sojourning—and thus non-American—group different from labor immigrants in terms of class and national allegiance, the foreign student from Asia in fact shares similar experiences with working-class Asian immigrants and also participates in the Asian American formation. As the book demonstrates, because of...

  6. 1 Leaving Asia for America: Yung Wing, Study Abroad, and Translated Subjectivity
    (pp. 21-39)

    On August 11, 1872, thirty Chinese boys boarded an intercontinental steamer in Shanghai bound for Japan, where a big paddle-wheeler would take them across the sea to San Francisco, en route to New England, where they would become the first generation of Chinese overseas students (liuxuesheng) educated in the United States. Three more groups would follow in subsequent years, bringing the total to 120 boys between the ages of twelve and fifteen. Among these students, some became famous engineers and politicians, some died fighting for China in the 1895 Sino-Japanese War, and others, like Yan Phou Lee (Li Yanfu), Yung...

  7. 2 Writing Diaspora: Tactics of Intervention and Pedagogy of Desire
    (pp. 40-65)

    The above quotation is taken from Sui Sin Far’s 1909 story, “The Chinese in America,” originally published inWesternermagazine, which documents Chinese life in America in a series of short sketches. The excerpt focuses on a Chinese student’s aspiration to write a book about Americans as a way to criticize the misrepresentations of Chinese by American authors. It suggests a critique of Orientalism and highlights the asymmetrical relations between the United States and China, specifically indicated by the lack of Americans migrating there to study. It also suggests that students, like laborers, are part of the social fabric of...

  8. 3 Tracking Baodiao: Diaspora, Sovereignty, and Cold War Imperialism
    (pp. 66-89)

    In May 1969, a year after the worldwide student movement against capitalism and imperialism and ten years after theampostruggles in Japan that rejected the extension and revision of the U.S.-Japan security pact,¹ Japan made sovereignty claims on a small cluster of coral islets between Taiwan and Okinawa known as the Senkaku Islands in Japanese and the Diaoyutai Islands in Chinese. Six months later the Nixon-Sato Joint Declaration proclaimed that the Senkaku Islands, which were considered part of the Ryukyu Islands (occupied by the United States since 1945), would be returned to Japan in 1972.² In response to Japan’s...

  9. 4 Formosa Betrayed: Transnational Politics and Taiwanese American Identity
    (pp. 90-109)

    In the fall of 2009, while China and Taiwan busied themselves with celebratory and sentimental revisitations of the watershed moment of 1949 to reflect on the cause and consequence of their separation sixty years ago, a film titledFormosa Betrayedwas screened at various film festivals in the United States and quickly garnered critical acclaim.² Directed by Adam Kane, the film features an FBI agent named Jake Kelly who is investigating a murder; his investigation ultimately unveils the “complex web of identity, politics, and power” in Taiwan in the early 1970s—an era when Taiwan was still locked in anticommunist...

  10. 5 Internationalism at Work: Bridge and Asian American Studies in Asia
    (pp. 110-133)

    Thanks to the publication of several important collections, biographies, and monographs on the Asian American movement since the late 1990s, it is by now generally known that the Asian American movement was more than a civil rights movement seeking a form of self-identity;² rather, it was an anti-racist, anti-imperialist movement that encompassed radical elements near and far. Such collections asLegacy to Liberation, Asian Americans, and At 40: Asian American Studies @ San Francisco Staterepresent a broad range of activities and issues that Asian Americans in the late 1960s and 1970s engaged in to demand empowerment, liberation, and fundamental...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 134-142)

    This book has thus far considered the transpacific presence of Chinese students within and beyond the Asian American context. It has demonstrated how their writings and political activism complicate our understanding of Asian America by re-articulating it as a transnational cultural political space that they inhabit and operate in, and an interactive dynamic that penetrates and links Asia and America for social, cultural, and political reasons. Bringing with them their homeland memories and political concerns, these students, while being assimilated into the social and cultural fabric of Asian America, also articulated their diasporic concerns into Asian American identity and politics,...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 143-176)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 177-198)
  14. Index
    (pp. 199-208)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 209-213)