Amerasia 36.2 – Asian Australia and Asian America: Making Transnational Connections

Cover designed by Mary Uyematsu Kao; Cover art: ABC (Aboriginal Born Chinese) (2007) by Jason Wing

Los Angeles – The UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press announces Amerasia‘s latest issue: “Asian Australia and Asian America:  Making Transnational Connections.” Guest edited by Jacqueline Lo, Dean Chan, and Tseen Khoo, with former Center Director Don T. Nakanishi of UCLA, the issue connects those working in Asian American Studies with their counterparts in Asian Australian Studies.  The issue provides a sampling of topics from community politics to film and literature.

In his introductory essay, Don T. Nakanishi illuminates the important demographic, political, and historical conditions that have shaped Asian Australia and the possibilities for comparative approaches to Asian American Studies: “Indeed, I eventually came to realize that uncovering what made the Asian Australian experience different from the Asian American experience—and then empirically probing deeper into understanding those differences—oftentimes led to a number of fresh and provocative ways of looking at both groups.”  The issue offers a transnational study of similarities and differences between Asian Australia and Asian America.  As the guest editors write, “By bringing Asian America and Asian Australia together in conversation in this volume, we hope to provide new insights into the study of Asian diasporas in western developed societies that go beyond the dominant perspective of Asian diasporics as domestic(ated) racialized minority subjects within the nation-state.”

Learn more about Amerasia 36.2 below the fold…

The issue is capped by commentaries from Ien Ang and Henry Yu on the significance of transnational perspectives to the Asian diaspora from Australian and North American vantage points.  A special launch event for the issue was held by the Asian Australian Studies Research Network at the Museum of Chinese Australian History in Melbourne, Australia on October 4, 2010.  The topics covered in this special issue include:

Local Community Politics

This section explores the relationship between local politics and transnational identities from various perspectives.  These include Ashley Carruthers’s anthropological study of Lao Australians, a discussion of diasporic Vietnamese literature by Scott Brook and Caitlin Nunn, and Audrey Yue’s detailed account of the production of underground “westie” martial arts films in the suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney.  The essays reveal the way working-class Lao immigrants view their homeland as more cosmopolitan than the Australian neighborhoods in which they now live or how “westie” films enable Vietnamese Australian youths an opportunity to self-fashion their identities in ways that challenge both Australian and ethnic ideologies of masculinity.

Indigenous/Asian Relations

Jacqueline Lo and visual artist Mayu Kanamori elaborate on the ways in which Asian Australians, Aboriginal Australians, and Anglo Australians are represented through the arts.  Lo discusses the dramatic production Burning Daylight, which explores Asian-Indigenous encounters that are typically left out of official Australian histories.  Kanamori provides a powerful personal narrative that looks at the issue of settlement from Japanese immigrant and Aboriginal points of view.

Comparative Asian Diasporas

Olivia Khoo, Kim Cheng Boey, and Iyko Day do comparative work on Asian Australian Studies and Asian American Studies.  Khoo’s novel concept of the “shrimp Western” explores the influence of American movie genre par excellence, the Western, on Asian Australian films, raising questions on how to define minority cinemas.  Kim Cheng Boey examines the complexities of poetics by immigrant poets, comparing the returns to Malaysia, both physical and psychological, in the works of Chinese Australian poet Ee Tiang Hong and Chinese American writer and scholar Shirley Lim Geok-lin.  Iyko Day compares the experiences of internment endured by Japanese Americans, Japanese Canadians, and Japanese Australians.

Literature and Arts from Asian Australia

Amerasia is pleased to include the writings and mixed media work of some of Asian Australia’s leading artists.  In addition to Mayu Kanamori’s discussion of her photographic series, this issue features “Cocooning,” a short story by award-winning author Simone Lazaroo, and a poem “This is where it begins,” by acclaimed writer Merlinda Bobis.  Thought-provoking images are provided by Matt Huynh and Jason Wing.

This issue of Amerasia Journal costs $15.00 plus $5.00 for shipping and handling and 9.25 percent sales tax for California residents ($21.39). Make checks payable to “Regents of U.C.” VISA, MASTERCARD, and DISCOVER are also accepted; include expiration date and phone number on correspondence. The mailing address is: UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press, 3230 Campbell Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1546.

Phone: 310-825-2968


Annual subscriptions for Amerasia Journal are $99.99 for individuals and $445.00 for libraries and other institutions. The institutional price includes access to the Amerasia online database, which has full-text versions of all Amerasia Journal issues published since 1971. Amerasia Journal is published three times a year: Winter, Spring, and Fall.

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