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The Landscape of Contemporary Asian American Studies (September 2016): Politics

By Mark E. Pfeifer


Political engagement within Asian American populations has received increased attention among scholars in recent years.  Christian Collet and Pei-Te Lien’s The Transnational Politics of Asian Americans is an edited collection that examines Asian American political participation and activism in the United States.  Individual chapters investigate anti-government nationalism among Vietnamese Americans, the involvement of Japanese immigrants in Japanese homeland politics, and transnational citizenship of Chinese immigrants.  Historical case studies provide context for chapters that discuss contemporary transnational political behaviors of Asian American ethnic groups.  Angie Y. Chung’s Legacies of Struggle: Conflict and Cooperation in Korean American Politics investigates internal politics in Koreatown of Los Angeles as well as relationships between Korean organizations and the broader society, including mainstream institutions and the elite power structure in the Los Angeles area.  The author argues that the Korean community in Los Angeles has developed diverse forms of political leadership to meet the needs of disparate constituencies amid mainstream indifference, internal inequality, and intergenerational conflicts.  She examines the role of generation and gender as well as other aspects of social differentiation in community politics, and presents case studies of the evolution and political engagement of key organizations in the Koreatown community.  Russell C. Leong and Don T. Nakanishi are the editors of Asian Americans on War & Peace.  The work focuses on how Asian American scholars, writers, and community activists responded to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States and the aftermath of these attacks, including US foreign policy and the “War on Terror.”  Twenty-four scholars, writers, activists, and legal scholars contributed pieces to the collection.