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Thinking Orientals Migration, Contact, and Exoticism in Modern America

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ISBN-10: 0195151275

ISBN-13: 9780195151275

Edition: 2002 (Reprint)

Authors: Henry Yu

List price: $47.95
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What is the difference between an "Oriental" and an "Asian American"? In this fascinating study, Henry Yu explains how Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans came to be lumped together as "Orientals" in the United States, and how this eventually led to their understanding of themselves as Asian Americans. Yu tells the story of how white American intellectuals from the University of Chicago sought out Americans of Chinese and Japanese ancestry. Detailing how they together constructed theories about an exotic Orient completely opposite from American culture, Yu describes the history of American Orientalism and shows how it helped to produce modern notions of race and culture. The ideas that arose from studying Orientals, connected by social scientists with theories about African Americans and white European immigrants, inform the way we understand the race in America today. Yu uses poignant vignettes to illustrate the difficult and often ironic positions of intellectuals of colour, providing a glimpse into what W.E.B. Dubois called the "double consciousness" of racial minorities in the United States. He goes on to discuss how cultural theory has become confused with anti-racism, and how a colourblind denial of race has failed to free us from racism. His book is one of the first to describe how crucial Asian Americans have been in the shaping of theories of race and culture, helping to move us away from the black/white paradigm of race relations. Yu explains why an Asian American can be a fourth-generation citizen of the United States and yet still be considered a foreigner. He also details how theories about Asians as a "model minority" were created in the aftermath of Japanese American internment, and how Asian Americans have been pitted politically against African Americans and Hispanic Americans.
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Book details

List price: $47.95
Copyright year: 2002
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 3/14/2002
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 288
Size: 5.75" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

Henry Yu is a professor in the Department of History and the principal of St. John's College at the University of British Columbia.

First Movement--Coming to the West: Constructing the Oriental Problem
Professions of Faith: Missionaries, Sociologists, and the Survey of Race Relations, 1924-1926
Thinking about Orientals: Chicago Sociologists and the Oriental Problem
Orientalism and the Mapping of Race
The Survey's End
Second Movement--Coming to Chicago: Asian Americans and the Oriental Problem
Wanted: Interpreters and Informants, Orientals Please Apply
Language of Hope: The Oriental as Marginal Man
Language of Discontent: Using the Stranger's Perspective
Retracings--Coming to America: The Oriental as an Intellectual/Object
Performers on Stage
American Orientalism as a Theory of Race, Space, and Identity
Epilogue: Legacies and Descendants An Epitaph