Center for Asian American Studies
Center for Asian American Studies

Core and Affiliated Faculty Publications

Mia Carter

Modernism and Literature: An Introduction and Reader (Routledge, 2013) Co-editor

Carter1This volume offers a comprehensive representation of the exciting, pivotal, and urgent nature of literary Modernism, as well as more recent approaches including the "global turn." Modernism can be difficult to understand without an awareness of contemporary concerns, so Mia Carter and Alan Friedman incorporate texts from a wide variety of disciplines such as art, politics, science, medicine, and philosophy.

This volume's thoroughly explained, informative, and interesting discussions provide:
  • An extensive introduction outlining the history and debates surrounding the movement
  • Numeruos foundational texts of Modernism such as Darwin, Duncan, Nietzsche, Einstein, Freud, Hughes, Luxemburg, Nietzsche, Stein, Zola
  • Full texts and extracts representing Modernist writers - including Anand, Conrad, Eliot, James, Hurston, Lawrence, Wilde, Woolf and Yeats, as critics of themselves and their contemporaries
  • A chronology of key historical events and publications
  • A glossary of key terms, people, theories and themes
  • A detailed further reading section offering advice on further study and research
  • A companion website ( featuring an interactive timeline with dates and images that contextualise the literature of the period, as well as author biographies and links to additional resources and videos.
Addressing current as well as historical debates about Modernism, this book includes discussion of the Harlem Renaissance, feminism and women’s writing, international and global movements and anti-imperialism, while acknowledging the variety of competing modernisms. This is the ideal guide for anyone seeking an overview and an in-depth treatment of this complex cultural turn and its foundational texts.

Archives of Empire: Volume I. From The East India Company to the Suez Canal (Duke University Press Books, 2003) Co-editor

Archives of Empire: Volume 2. The Scramble for Africa (Duke University Press Books, 2004) Co-editor



A rich collection of primary materials, the multivolume Archives of Empire provides a documentary history of nineteenth-century British imperialism from the Indian subcontinent to the Suez Canal to southernmost Africa. Barbara Harlow and Mia Carter have carefully selected a diverse range of texts that track the debates over imperialism in the ranks of the military, the corridors of political power, the lobbies of missionary organizations, the halls of royal geographic and ethnographic societies, the boardrooms of trading companies, the editorial offices of major newspapers, and far-flung parts of the empire itself. Focusing on a particular region and historical period, each volume in Archives of Empire is organized into sections preceded by brief introductions. Documents including mercantile company charters, parliamentary records, explorers’ accounts, and political cartoons are complemented by timelines, maps, and bibligraphies. Unique resources for teachers and students, these books reveal the complexities of nineteenth-century colonialism and emphasize its enduring relevance to the “global markets” of the twenty-first century.

Imperialism and Orientalism: A Documentary Sourcebook (Wiley-Blackwell, 1999) Co-editor

carterimpImperialism and Orientalism assembles an unprecedented collection of archival and documentary materials that maps the ideological and political grounds for late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British and European colonialism in Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East.

Rowena Fong

Addressing Racial Disproportionality and Disparities in Human Services: Multisystemic Approaches (Columbia University Press, 2014) Co-Editor

FongThe issue of racial disproportionality in the child welfare system, particularly as it impacts African-American children and families, has long been a concern to practitioners and policymakers. However, disproportionality is not limited to the African-American community. Latino, Native-American, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander populations experience inequities in treatment. From leading voices on culturally-competent care comes a cutting-edge book that examines disproportionalities across all of these racial and ethnic groups.

Eliminating Racial Disproportionality and Disparities examines a wide range of systems that often affect and interact with child welfare. Chapters are devoted to the juvenile justice system, mental health, the courts, education, and healthcare, making it the only book to offer a multisystemic approach to disparities and disproportionality. Filled with in-depth case studies, key terms, study questions, and resources, and written to reflect CSWE-mandated competencies, this expansive book gives students, educators, policymakers, practitioners, and administrators new knowledge for providing culturally competent services while simultaneously addressing disproportionality across various systems of care.

Child Welfare Practice with Immigrant Children and Families (Routledge, 2014) Co-Editor


Children in immigrant families represent nearly one-fourth of all children living in the United States. As this population of children has increased, so has their representation among children involved in child welfare and related systems. Once immigrant families come to the attention of these systems, they often have multiple and complex needs that must be addressed to ensure children’s safety and well-being.

Culturally competent practice with Latino, Asian, and African immigrants requires that professionals understand the impact of immigration and acculturation on immigrant families to conduct adequate assessments and provide interventions that respond appropriately to their needs. Professionals also need to be familiar with federal and state policies that affect immigrant families and how those policies may affect service delivery. At the system level, child welfare agencies need to educate and train a culturally competent workforce that responds appropriately to children and families from diverse cultures.

This book addresses these critical issues and provides recommendations for the development of culturally competent assessment, intervention, and prevention activities in child welfare agencies. This information can be used as a resource by child welfare administrators, practitioners, and students to improve the child welfare system’s response to immigrant children and families and promote culturally competent practice.

This book was published as a special issue of the Journal of Public Child Welfare.

The Church Leader's Counseling Resource Book: A Guide to Mental Health and Social Problems (Oxford University Press, 2011) Co-editor


This all-in-one guide is designed to better equip clergy and the church leaders to meet their congregations' needs in a spiritually grounded and scientifically sound manner. Succinct, easy-to-read chapters summarize all a pastor needs to know about a given problem area, including its signs or symptoms, questions to ask, effective helping skills, and, most importantly, when to refer to a mental health professional. Synthesizing what research says about treatment approaches for mental health issues, this user-friendly reference is filled with guidelines, case scenarios, key points to remember, resources for further help, advice on integrating scripture and theology with the best available research, and tips on partnering with others to provide the best possible care for each church member. Each chapter is designed for quick lookup by problem area, empowering church leaders to understand and help meet the challenges facing the children, adults, families, and communities that they serve.

Intersecting Child Welfare, Substance Abuse, and Family Violence: Culturally Competent Approaches (Council on Social Work Education, 2006) Co-author

Fong1Developed from a task force meeting held in 2001 by the Council on Social Work Education, Casey Family Programs, and the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work, Intersecting Child Welfare, Substance Abuse, and Family Violence examines these three issues in the context of culturally competent social work practice. Eighty percent of child welfare cases include issues with substance abuse and domestic violence. Disproportionately high numbers of these child welfare cases also involve minority families from the four main ethnic groups - African Americans, Latinos, First Nations Peoples, and Asian and Pacific Islanders. Each of the seventeen chapters, written by pioneers in a variety of fields, addresses sociodemographics; the history of child welfare, substance abuse, and family violence; the problems encountered; and the recommendations for future directions in practice, policy, and research. These recommendations challenge educators, policy makers, and researchers to examine the impact of institutional racism and poverty in their role of perpetuating the oppression of people of color. This book is intended to guide national efforts in education and research, organizational change, and policy making.

Children of Neglect: When No One Cares (Routledge, 2004) Co-author

Fong2004This book contains a comprehensive review of the current state of child neglect. Included are statistics regarding incidence and lethality, definitional issues, etiological theory, history of and current policy, and current interventions. As child neglect is often linked with structural issues, the book also examines the relationship of child neglect to poverty, substance abuse and culture.

Culturally Competent Practice with Immigrant and Refugee Children and Families (The Guilford Press, 2003) Editor


Meeting a crucial need for social workers and other practitioners, as well as students, this authoritative text covers the breadth of issues involved in working with immigrant and refugee children and families. Within an innovative conceptual framework, essential knowledge is presented to guide culturally competent practice with clients from over 14 immigrant groups whose numbers are growing in the United States today. Expert authors review the history of each group's migration to the U.S. and discuss key issues facing families, including cultural conflicts, trauma associated with refugee experiences and/or illegal status, and the effects of poverty and discrimination. Particular attention is given to ways that the practitioner can help families draw on culturally based resources for coping and resilience as they navigate the challenges of their new lives. Throughout, recommendations for strengths-based assessment and intervention are brought to life in detailed case examples.

Culturally Competent Practice: Skills, Interventions, and Evaluations (Pearson, 2001) Co-author

Fong3This comprehensive social work book discusses how to work with clients of four major ethnic backgrounds: African-American, Latino/Hispanic-American, First Nations People, and Asians/Pacific Islanders. The book shows readers how to approach helping by first understanding the world view of each of these groups. Each chapter includes indigenous strategies and/or a biculturalization approach to assessments, interventions, and evaluations. Levels of practice include individuals, families, organizations, and communities. Each chapter includes case vignettes that illustrate the helping strategies. For social workers and social work students interested in culturally competent social work practice, or diversity practice.

Heather Hindman

Meeting the Global: Expatria's Forms and Consequences in Kathmandu (Stanford University Press, 2013)

HindmanTransnational business people, international aid workers, and diplomats are all actors on the international stage working for organizations and groups often scrutinized by the public eye. But the very lives of these global middlemen and women are relatively unstudied. Mediating the Global takes up the challenge, uncovering the day-to-day experiences of elite foreign workers and their families living in Nepal, and the policies and practices that determine their daily lives. In this book, Heather Hindman calls for a consideration of the complex role that global middlemen and women play, not merely in implementing policies, but as objects of policy.

Examining the lives of expatriate professionals working in Kathmandu, Nepal and the families that accompany them, Hindman unveils intimate stories of the everyday life of global mediators. Mediating the Global focuses on expatriate employees and families who are affiliated with international development bodies, multinational corporations, and the foreign service of various countries. The author investigates the life of expatriates while they visit recreational clubs and international schools and also examines how the practices of international human resources management, cross-cultural communication, and promotion of flexible careers are transforming the world of elite overseas workers.

Madeline Hsu

The Good Immigrants: How the Yellow Peril Became the Model Minority (Princeton Press, 2015)


Conventionally, US immigration history has been understood through the lens of restriction and those who have been barred from getting in. In contrast, The Good Immigrants considers immigration from the perspective of Chinese elites—intellectuals, businessmen, and students—who gained entrance because of immigration exemptions. Exploring a century of Chinese migrations, Madeline Hsu looks at how the model minority characteristics of many Asian Americans resulted from US policies that screened for those with the highest credentials in the most employable fields, enhancing American economic competitiveness.

The earliest US immigration restrictions targeted Chinese people but exempted students as well as individuals who might extend America’s influence in China. Western-educated Chinese such as Madame Chiang Kai-shek became symbols of the US impact on China, even as they patriotically advocated for China’s modernization. World War II and the rise of communism transformed Chinese students abroad into refugees, and the Cold War magnified the importance of their talent and training. As a result, Congress legislated piecemeal legal measures to enable Chinese of good standing with professional skills to become citizens. Pressures mounted to reform American discriminatory immigration laws, culminating with the 1965 Immigration Act.

Filled with narratives featuring such renowned Chinese immigrants as I. M. Pei, The Good Immigrants examines the shifts in immigration laws and perceptions of cultural traits that enabled Asians to remain in the United States as exemplary, productive Americans.

Chinese American Transnational Politics (University of Illinois Press, 2010) Editor

HsuBorn and raised in San Francisco, Lai was trained as an engineer but blazed a trail in the field of Asian American studies. Long before the field had any academic standing, he amassed an unparalleled body of source material on Chinese America and drew on his own transnational heritage and Chinese patriotism to explore the global Chinese experience.

In Chinese American Transnational Politics, Lai traces the shadowy history of Chinese leftism and the role of the Kuomintang of China in influencing affairs in America. With precision and insight, Lai penetrates the overly politicized portrayals of a history shaped by global alliances and enmities and the hard intolerance of the Cold War era. The result is a nuanced and singular account of how Chinese politics, migration to the United States, and Sino-U.S. relations were shaped by Chinese and Chinese American groups and organizations.

Lai revised and expanded his writings over more than thirty years as changing political climates allowed for greater acceptance of leftist activities and access to previously confidential documents. Drawing on Chinese- and English-language sources and echoing the strong loyalties and mobility of the activists and idealists he depicts, Lai delivers the most comprehensive treatment of Chinese transnational politics to date.

Chinese Americans and the Politics of Race and Culture (Temple University Press, 2008) Co-editor

Hsu2This collection offers multifaceted explorations of how Chinese Americans have shaped their ethnic culture and identities to claim recognition and acceptance as participants in America's multiracial, multicultural democratic state. In a field that has recently demonstrated its centrality to American processes of racialized nation-state and ideological formations, these articles represent a cutting edge in American, immigration, and ethnic studies.Sucheng Chan introduces this valuable new anthology with a commanding discussion of the field of Chinese American studies, in which she examines its history and points the way ahead. Here, she and Madeline Y. Hsu have brought together leading-edge scholarship from a new generation of thinkers, as useful for scholars as it is for undergraduate readers. The contributors address a broad range of issues, from the activism of left-wing and Communist Chinese immigrants to the U.S. in the 1920s and early 1930s and humanitarian relief during the Sino-Japanese War to the construction of new Chinese regional identities in New York.

Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home: Transnationalism and Migration Between the United States and South China, 1882-1943 (Stanford University Press, 2000)

Hsu1This book is a highly original study of transnationalism among immigrants from Taishan, a populous coastal county in south China from which, until 1965, the majority of Chinese in the United States originated. Drawing creatively on Chinese-language sources such as gazetteers, newspapers, and magazines, supplemented by fieldwork and interviews as well as recent scholarship in Chinese social history, the author presents a much richer depiction than we have had heretofore of the continuing ties between Taishanese remaining in China and their kinsmen seeking their fortune in “Gold Mountain.”
Long after the gold in California ran out and prejudice confined them to dismal Chinatowns, generations of Chinese—mostly men from rural areas of southern China—continued to migrate to the United States in hopes of bettering the family’s lot by remitting much of the meager sums they earned as laundrymen, cooks, domestic workers, and Chinatown merchants.

Economic hardships and U.S. Exclusion laws extended the immigrants’ separation from their families for decades, “sojourns” that in many cases ended only in death. Men lived as bachelors and their wives as widows, parents passed away, and children grew up without ever seeing their fathers’ faces. Families and village communities had to adapt to survive the stress of long-term, long-distance separation from their primary wage-earners.

At the same time, men raised in the rural communities of a faltering imperial China had to negotiate encounters with an industrializing, Western-dominated, often hostile world. This history explores the resiliency and flexibility of rural Chinese, qualities that enabled them to preserve their families by living apart from them and to survive the intertwining of their rural world with global systems of race, labor, and capital. The author demonstrates that through migration to dank and narrow enclaves, they came to live, and even to flourish, in a transnational community that persisted despite decades of separation and an ocean’s width of distance.

S. Akbar Hyder

Reliving Karbala: Martyrdom in South Asian Memory (Oxford University Press, USA, 2008)

Hyder1In 680 C.E., a small band of the Prophet Muhammads family and their followers, led by his grandson, Husain, rose up in a rebellion against the ruling caliph, Yazid. The family and its supporters, hopelessly outnumbered, were massacred at Karbala, in modern-day Iraq. The story of Karbala is the cornerstone of institutionalized devotion and mourning for millions of Shii Muslims. Apart from its appeal to the Shii community, invocations of Karbala have also come to govern mystical and reformist discourses in the larger Muslim world. Indeed, Karbala even serves as the archetypal resistance and devotional symbol for many non-Muslims. Until now, though, little scholarly attention has been given to the widespread and varied employment of the Karbala event.

In Reliving Karbala, Syed Akbar Hyder examines the myriad ways that the Karbala symbol has provided inspiration in South Asia, home to the worlds largest Muslim population. Rather than a unified reading of Islam, Hyder reveals multiple, sometimes conflicting, understandings of the meaning of Islamic religious symbols like Karbala. He ventures beyond traditional, scriptural interpretations to discuss the ways in which millions of very human adherents express and practice their beliefs. By using a panoramic array of sources, including musical performances, interviews, nationalist drama, and other literary forms, Hyder traces the evolution of this story from its earliest historical origins to the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Today, Karbala serves as a celebration of martyrdom, a source of personal and communal identity, and even a tool for political protest and struggle. Hyder explores how issues related to gender, genre, popular culture, class, and migrancy bear on the cultivation of religious symbols. He assesses the manner in which religious language and identities are negotiated across contexts and continents.

At a time when words like martyrdom, jihad, and Shiism are being used and misused for political reasons, this book provides much-needed scholarly redress. Through his multifaceted examination of this seminal event in Islamic history, Hyder offers an original, complex, and nuanced view of religious symbols.

Let’s Study Urdu: An Introduction to the Script (Yale University Press, 2007) Co-author

Hyder2Let’s Study Urdu! is a comprehensive introduction to the Urdu language that draws on a range of real-life contexts, popular film songs, and prized works of Urdu literature. A variety of effective aural, oral, and written drills will help students master the language while keeping them entertained. Let’s Study Urdu! provides students of diverse backgrounds, including heritage speakers, the opportunity to enhance their competency over basic grammatical structures so that they can comfortably use the language in Urdu-speaking milieus from South Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North America.

Shanti Kumar

Ghandi Meets Primetime: Globalization and Nationalism in Indian Television (University of Illinois Press, 2005)

Kumar1Shanti Kumar's Ghandi Meets Primetime, examines how cultural imaginations of national identity have been transformed by the rapid growth of satellite and cable television in postcolonial India. To evaluate the growing influence of foreign and domestic satellite and cable channels since 1991, the book considers a wide range of materials including contemporary television programming, historical archives, legal documents, policy statements, academic writings and journalistic accounts. Kumar argues that India's hybrid national identity is manifested in the discourses found in this variety of empirical sources. He deconstructs representations of Mahatma Gandhi as the Father of the Nation on the state-sponsored network Doordarshan and those found on Rupert Murdoch's STAR TV network. The book closely analyzes print advertisements to trace the changing status of the television set as a cultural commodity in postcolonial India, and examines publicity brochures, promotional materials and programming schedules of Indian-language networks to outline the role of vernacular media in the discourse of electronic capitalism. The empirical evidence is illuminated by theoretical analyses that combine diverse approaches such as cultural studies, poststructuralism and postcolonial criticism. Shanti Kumar is an assistant professor of communication arts at the University of Wisconsin, and coeditor of "Planet TV: A Global Television Reader". A volume in the series Popular Culture and Politics in Asia Pacific, edited by Poshek Fu.

Planet TV: A Global Television Reader (NYU Press, 2002) Co-editor

Kumar2From the 1967 live satellite program "Our World" to MTV music videos in Indonesia, from French television in Senegal to the global syndication of African American sitcoms, and from representations of terrorism on German television to the international Teletubbies phenomenon, TV lies at the nexus of globalization and transnational culture.

Planet TV provides an overview of the rapidly changing landscape of global television, combining previously published essays by pioneers of the study of television with new work by cutting-edge television scholars who refine and extend intellectual debates in the field. Organized thematically, the volume explores such issues as cultural imperialism, nationalism, postcolonialism, transnationalism, ethnicity and cultural hybridity. These themes are illuminated by concrete examples and case studies derived from empirical work on global television industries, programs, and audiences in diverse social, historical, and cultural contexts.

Developing a new critical framework for exploring the political, economic, sociological and technological dimensions of television cultures, and countering the assumption that global television is merely a result of the current dominance of the West in world affairs, Planet TV demonstrates that the global dimensions of television were imagined into existence very early on in its contentious history. Parks and Kumar have assembled the critical moments in television's past in order to understand its present and future.

Madhavi Mallapragada

Virtual Homelands: Indian Immigrants and Online Cultures in the United States (University of Illinois Press; 1st Edition edition, 2013)

MallapragadaThe internet has transformed the idea of home for Indians and Indian Americans. In Virtual Homelands: Indian Immigrants and Online Cultures in the United States, Madhavi Mallapragada analyzes home pages and other online communities organized by diasporic and immigrant Indians from the late 1990s through the social media period. Engaging the shifting aspects of belonging, immigrant politics, and cultural citizenship by linking the home page, household, and homeland as key sites, Mallapragada illuminates the contours of belonging and reveals how Indian American struggles over it trace back to the web's active mediation in representing, negotiating, and reimagining "home."
As Mallapragada shows, ideologies around family and citizenship shift to fit the transnational contexts of the online world and immigration. At the same time, the tactical use of the home page to make gender, racial, and class struggles visible and create new modes for belonging implicates the web within complex political and cultural terrain. On e-commerce, community, and activist sites, the recasting of home and homeland online points to intrusion by public agents such as the state, the law, and immigration systems in the domestic, the private, and the familial. Mallapragada reveals that the home page may mobilize to reproduce conservative narratives of Indian immigrants' familial and citizenship cultures, but the reach of a website extends beyond the textual and discursive to encompass the institutions shaping it, as the web unmakes and remakes ideas of "India" and "America."

Robert M. Oppenheim

Kyongju Things: Assembling Place (University of Michigan Press, 2008)

OppenheimKyongju is South Korea's preeminent "culture city," an urban site rich with archaeological wonders that residents compare to those of Nara, Xian, and Rome. By examining these ancient objects in relation to the controversies that engulfed South Korea's high-speed railway line when it was first proposed in the 1990s, Kyongju Things offers a grounded and theoretically sophisticated account of South Korean development and citizenship in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Its sensitivity to issues of place, knowledge, and cultural heritage and its innovative use of network theory will be of interest to a wide range of scholars in anthropology, Asian studies, the history of science and technology, cultural geography, urban planning, and political science.

Sharmila Rudrappa

Discounted Life: The Price of Global Surrogacy in India (NYU Press, December 4, 2015)

RudrappaIndia is the top provider of surrogacy services in the world, with a multi-million dollar surrogacy industry that continues to grow exponentially, as increasing numbers of couples from developed nations look for wombs in which to grow their babies. Some scholars have exulted transnational surrogacy for the possibilities it opens for infertile couples, while others have offered bioethical cautionary tales, rebuked exploitative intended parents, or lamented the exploitation of surrogate mothers—but very little is known about the experience of and transaction between surrogate mothers and intended parents outside the lens of the many agencies that control surrogacy in India. Drawing from rich interviews with surrogate mothers and egg donors in Bangalore, as well as twenty straight and gay couples in the U.S. and Australia, Discounted Life focuses on the processes of social and market exchange in transnational surrogacy. 

Sharmila Rudrappa interrogates the creation and maintenance of reproductive labor markets, the function of agencies and surrogacy brokers, and how women become surrogate mothers. Is surrogacy solely a labor contract for which the surrogate mother receives wages, or do its meanings and import exceed the confines of the market? Rudrappa argues that this reproductive industry is organized to control and disempower women workers and yet her interviews reveal that, by and large, the surrogate mothers in Bangalore found the experience life affirming. Rudrappa explores this tension, and the lived realities of many surrogate mothers whose deepening bodily commodification is paradoxically experienced as a revitalizing life development.

A detailed and moving study, Discounted Life delineates how local labor markets intertwine with global reproduction industries, how Bangalore’s surrogate mothers make sense of their participation in reproductive assembly lines, and the remarkable ways in which they negotiate positions of power for themselves in progressively untenable socio-economic conditions.

Ethnic Routes to Becoming American: Indian Immigrants and the Cultures of Citizenship (Rutgers University Press, 2004)

RudrappaHow does an immigrant become an ethnic American? And does American society fundamentally alter because of these newcomers?

In Ethnic Routes to Becoming American, Sharmila Rudrappa examines the paths South Asian immigrants in Chicago take toward assimilation in the late twentieth-century United States, where deliberations on citizenship rights are replete with the politics of recognition. She takes us inside two ethnic institutions, a battered women’s shelter, Apna Ghar, and a cultural organization, the Indo American Center, to show how immigrant activism, which brings cultural difference into public sphere debates, ironically abets these immigrants’ assimilation. She interlaces ethnographic details with political-philosophical debates on the politics of recognition and redistribution. In this study on the under-researched topic of the incorporation of South Asian immigrants into the American polity, Sharmila Rudrappa compels us to rethink ethnic activism, participatory democracy, and nation-building processes.

Snehal Shingavi

Angaaray (Penguin, 2014) Editor, translator

ShingaviFirst published in 1932, this slim volume of short stories created a firestorm of public outrage for its bold attack on the hypocrisy of conservative Islam and British colonialism. Inspired by British modernists like Woolf and Joyce as well as the Indian independence movement, the young writers who penned this collection Sajjad Zaheer, Ahmed Ali, Rashid Jahan and Mahmud-uz-Zafar were eager to revolutionize Urdu literature. Instead, they invited the wrath of the establishment: the book was burned in protest and then banned by the British authorities. Nevertheless, Angaaray spawned a new generation of Urdu writers and led to the formation of the Progressive Writers Association, whose members included, among others, stalwarts like Chughtai, Manto, Premchand and Faiz.

Translated into English for the first time, Angaaray retains the crackling energy and fiery polemic of the original stories. This edition also provides a compelling account of the furore surrounding this explosive collection.

The Mahatma Misunderstood: The Politics and Forms of Literary Nationalism in India (Anthem Press, 2013)

ShingaviThe Mahatma Misunderstood studies the relationship between the production of novels in late-colonial India and nationalist agitation promoted by the Indian National Congress. The volume examines the process by which novelists who were critically engaged with Gandhian nationalism, and who saw both the potentials and the pitfalls of Gandhian political strategies, came to be seen as the Mahatma’s standard-bearers rather than his loyal opposition.

Nancy Stalker

Prophet Motive: Deguchi Onisaburo, Oomoto, and the Rise of New Religion in Japan (University of Hawaii Press, 2008)

StalkerFrom the 1910s to the mid-1930s, the flamboyant and gifted spiritualist Deguchi Onisaburô (1871-1948) transformed his mother-in-law's small, rural religious following into a massive movement, eclectic in content and international in scope. Through a potent blend of traditional folk beliefs and practices like divination, exorcism, and millenarianism, an ambitious political agenda, and skillful use of new forms of visual and mass media, he attracted millions to Oomoto, his Shintoist new religion. Despite its condemnation as a heterodox sect by state authorities and the mainstream media, Oomoto quickly became the fastest-growing religion in Japan of the time.

In telling the story of Onisaburô and Oomoto, Nancy Stalker not only gives us the first full account in English of the rise of a heterodox movement in imperial Japan, but also provides new perspectives on the importance of "charismatic entrepreneurship" in the success of new religions around the world. She makes the case that these religions often respond to global developments and tensions (imperialism, urbanization, consumerism, the diffusion of mass media) in similar ways. They require entrepreneurial marketing and management skills alongside their spiritual authority if their groups are to survive encroachments by the state and achieve national/international stature. Their drive to realize and extend their religious view of the world ideally stems from a "prophet" rather than "profit" motive, but their activity nevertheless relies on success in the modern capitalist, commercial world.

Unlike many studies of Japanese religion during this period, Prophet Motive works to dispel the notion that prewar Shinto was monolithically supportive of state initiatives and ideology.

Eric Tang

Unsettled: Cambodian Refugees in the New York City Hyperghetto (Temple University Press, October 26, 2015)


After surviving the Khmer Rouge genocide, followed by years of confinement to international refugee camps, as many as 10,000 Southeast Asian refugees arrived in the Bronx during the 1980s and ‘90s. Unsettled chronicles the unfinished odyssey of Bronx Cambodians, closely following one woman and her family for several years as they survive yet resist their literal insertion into concentrated Bronx poverty. 

Eric Tang tells the harrowing and inspiring stories of these refugees to make sense of how and why the displaced migrants have been resettled in the “hyperghetto.” He argues that refuge is never found, that rescue discourses mask a more profound urban reality characterized by racialized geographic enclosure, economic displacement and unrelenting poverty, and the criminalization of daily life.

Unsettled views the hyperghetto as a site of extreme isolation, punishment, and confinement. The refugees remain captives in late-capitalist urban America. Tang ultimately asks: What does it mean for these Cambodians to resettle into this distinct time and space of slavery’s afterlife?

Kamala Visweswaran

Un/common Cultures: Racism and the Rearticulation of Cultural Difference (Duke University Press Books, 2010)

Un/common Cultures: Racism and the Rearticulation of Cultural Difference (Duke University Press Books, 2010)Visweswaran2In Un/common Cultures, Kamala Visweswaran develops an incisive critique of the idea of culture at the heart of anthropology, describing how it lends itself to culturalist assumptions. She holds that the new culturalism—the idea that cultural differences are definitive, and thus divisive—produces a view of “uncommon cultures” defined by relations of conflict rather than forms of collaboration. The essays in Un/common Cultures straddle the line between an analysis of how racism works to form the idea of “uncommon cultures” and a reaffirmation of the possibilities of “common cultures,” those that enact new forms of solidarity in seeking common cause. Such “cultures in common” or “cultures of the common” also produce new intellectual formations that demand different analytic frames for understanding their emergence. By tracking the emergence and circulation of the culture concept in American anthropology and Indian and French sociology, Visweswaran offers an alternative to strictly disciplinary histories. She uses critical race theory to locate the intersection between ethnic/diaspora studies and area studies as a generative site for addressing the formation of culturalist discourses. In so doing, she interprets the work of social scientists and intellectuals such as Elsie Clews Parsons, Alice Fletcher, Franz Boas, Louis Dumont, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Clifford Geertz, W. E. B. Du Bois, and B. R. Ambedkar.

Fictions Of Feminist Ethnography (University Of Minnesota Press, 1994)

Visweswaran1Although feminist ethnography is an emerging genre, the question of what the term means remains open. Recent texts which fall under this rubric rely on unexamined notions of “sisterhood” and the recovery of “lost” voices. In these essays about her work with women in Southern India, Kamala Visweswaran addresses such troubled issues. Blurring distinctions between ethnographic and literary genres, these essays employ the narrative strategies of history, fiction, autobiography and biography, deconstruction, and post-colonial discourse to reveal the fictions of ethnography and the ethnography in fiction.

Although feminist ethnography is an emerging genre, the question of what the term means remains open. Recent texts which fall under this rubric rely on unexamined notions of “sisterhood” and the recovery of “lost” voices. In these essays about her work with women in Southern India, Kamala Visweswaran addresses such troubled issues. Blurring distinctions between ethnographic and literary genres, these essays employ the narrative strategies of history, fiction, autobiography and biography, deconstruction, and post-colonial discourse to reveal the fictions of ethnography and the ethnography in fiction.