Diaspora experience as a function of modernity, imperialism, and nationalism.

From my online course on Asia-US migration, an upcoming discussion: The second half of [Vinay] Lal’s book [The Other Indians: A Political And Cultural History of South Asians In America] is our first detailed look at the post-1965 Immigration Act situation, and particularly interesting look through the lens of Diaspora. South Asian immigrants to the […]

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Oh, internment again.

This is something I wrote for my Asia-US migration class this week. We’re reading Erika Lee’s The Making of Asian America. You can figure out which bits, I think… You’d think, reading Lee, that most of the critical questions surrounding the internment of Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans during WWII were pretty clearly settled. You’d […]

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Memory Politics and Memory Drama

Jordan Sand’s A Year of Memory Politics in East Asia: Looking Back on the “Open Letter in Support of Historians in Japan” is immensely timely: I spent a few hours just yesterday arguing with people on twitter about the Comfort Women issue. I had tweeted about a new documentary, testimony from some surviving women, and […]

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Immigrant Panics, then and now.

There’s not all that much to add to George Takei’s devastating response to Roanoke Mayor David Bowen’s attempt to rationalize refusing Syrian refugees by citing the internment of Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II. I’ve written about the internment before, and my conclusion thirteen years ago stands up reasonably well: What is the […]

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Reading Note: Oleg Benesch, “Inventing the way of the Samurai: Nationalism, Internationalism, and Bushido in Modern Japan”

Before I praise Benesch’s book, a complaint: Oxford UP pricing is absurd. Now that’s not unusual for academic hardbacks, monographs that go to libraries and specialists. But 1) Benesch’s book should be a standard teaching text in modern Japanese history and culture, 2) there’s no reason for the ebook version to cost US$78. There are […]

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The Right Turn

Basharat Peer interview with Pankaj Mishra on China and India is worth reading, and not that long, but I was particularly struck by this bit towards the end: “India used to be the democratic exception and most other countries were authoritarian or dictatorships. Mr. Modi with his corporate chums is the greatest Indian exponent of […]

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Lagging

Mohammad Fadel, in Islamic Monthly (h/t Naheed Mustafa) chides critics of Islam who take contemporary Western ideals of egalitarianism and personal freedom as their measure, saying: In this respect, Maher and Harris reflect the all too common historical amnesia common among liberals, who are too quick to forget the recentness of the egalitarian achievements of […]

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Science, Social Science, and Pseudoscience of Diet/Culture Thesis

Eminent food historian Rachel Laudan alerted me recently to the existence of new scholarship, cultural psychology, giving support to the idea that different basic grains gave rise to different cultures which have measurable effects at the individual level: “Large-Scale Psychological Differences Within China Explained by Rice Versus Wheat Agriculture.” The research is intriguing for its […]

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