The latest issue of Amerasia Journal, guest edited by Karen Leong and Myla Vicenti Carpio, examines the convergence of Asian and Indigenous communities as subjects of the carceral state in the United States and Canada. It explores the intersections between Asian American Studies and Indigenous Studies through the framework of settler colonialism. As Leong and Carpio assert, “We believe exploring the ways that settler colonialism supports racialized state violence must be an ongoing project for Asian American Studies not only in relation to American Indian or First Nations, but also Pacific Islanders and Indigenous Asian communities.”
Many of the contributions in the “Carceral States” (42:1) issue focus on the connection between the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans in World War II and the dispossession of Native American lands. Cynthia Wu offers a comparative analysis of Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel Ceremony and Hisaye Yamamoto’s short story “The Eskimo Connection” as a case of alternative critique. Examining War Relocation Authority-produced photographs of American Indians at reservations hosting the concentration camps during the war, Thy Phu considers the “possibilities for empathy and affinities between Japanese Americans and Native Americans.” Quynh Nhu Le provides a Canadian context for Asian-Indigenous encounters, explaining how creative texts complicate official government apologies for Japanese Canadian concentration camps and First Nations residential schools.
Other essays take stock of this relationship by delving into government archives and oral histories, be it Lynne Horiuchi’s spatial study of the Leupp Isolation Center as a site to send so-called Japanese American “trouble-makers” or the guest editors’ account of the competing agendas of the federal agencies managing the internment camps and reservations. Wendi Yamashita’s first-person perspective on the coalition built by Japanese Americans and Owens Valley tribes to fight the construction of a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power solar ranch near the Manzanar site brings the relationships between the groups into a contemporary context.
The issue also presents the original poetry from Minneapolis-St. Paul spoken word artists R. Vincent Moniz, Jr., an enrolled citizen of the Three Affiliated Tribes, and Tou SaiKo Lee, a Hmong American. When their poetry is read together, Juliana Hu Pegues suggests that Moniz, Jr. and Lee provide anti-colonial “aural histories” of displacement and confinement, but also spaces for community building and connections.
“Carceral States” offers an in memoriam for the influential scholar of settler colonialism Patrick Wolfe, who passed away in February 2016. Our community spotlight features the work of Morning Star Leaders, Inc., an Arizona-based organization promoting cultural identity for Native American youth. Books reviewed include Jennifer Ho’s Racial Ambiguity in Asian American Culture and Miriam Ching Yoon Louie’s Not Contagious—Only Cancer.
Lastly, Amerasia Journal offers a brief tribute to our founding Publisher and longtime UCLA Asian American Studies Center Director, Don T. Nakanishi, who passed away on March 21, 2016.
ABOUT THE ISSUE:
Amerasia Journal Issue 42:1
Carceral States (Spring 2016)
ISSN 0044-7471, 156 pages
Editor: Keith L. Camacho (UCLA)
Guest Editors: Karen J. Leong and Myla Vicenti Carpio
Contributors: Myla Vicenti Carpio, Mishuana Goeman, Lynee Horiuchi, Quynh Nhu Le, Tou SaiKo Lee, Karen J. Leong, R. Vincent Moniz, Jr., Juliana Hu Pegues, Thy Phu, Cynthia Wu, Wendi Yamashita
View TABLE OF CONTENTS.
View Teacher’s Guide.
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