Feeling Asian American
About the BookAsian Americans have become the love-hate subject of the American psyche: at times celebrated as the model minority, at other times hated as foreigners. Wen Liu examines contemporary Asian American identity formation while placing it within a historical and ongoing narrative of racial injury. The flexible racial status of Asian Americans oscillates between oppression by the white majority and offers to assimilate into its ranks. Identity emerges from the tensions produced between those two poles. Liu dismisses the idea of Asian Americans as a coherent racial population. Instead, she examines them as a raced, gendered, classed, and sexualized group producing varying physical and imaginary boundaries of nation, geography, and citizenship. Her analysis reveals repeated norms and acts that capture Asian Americanness as part of a racial imagination that buttresses capitalism, white supremacy, neoliberalism, and the US empire.
An innovative challenge to persistent myths, Feeling Asian American ranges from the wartime origins of Asian American psychology to anti-Asian attacks to present Asian Americanness as a complex political assemblage.
About the AuthorWen Liu is an assistant research fellow at the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.
“Wen Liu’s examination of the contradictions of Asian American subjectivity does to assimilation and exclusion what Lauren Berlant’s concept of cruel optimism does to hope. Conflicting drives of accommodation and revolt put Asian Americans in psychic captivity, giving rise to wounded attachments to forms of life that prevent us from flourishing. What could result from this bind other than rage and despair? Feeling Asian American brilliantly reveals what’s the beef.”--David L. Eng, coauthor of Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation: On the Social and Psychic Lives of Asian Americans