Alien Encounters: Popular Culture in Asian America / Edition 1

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Alien Encounters showcases innovative directions in Asian American cultural studies. In essays exploring topics ranging from pulp fiction to multimedia art to import-car subcultures, contributors analyze Asian Americans’ interactions with popular culture as both creators and consumers. Written by a new generation of cultural critics, these essays reflect post-1965 Asian America; the contributors pay nuanced attention to issues of gender, sexuality, transnationality, and citizenship, and they unabashedly take pleasure in pop culture.

This interdisciplinary collection brings together contributors working in Asian American studies, English, anthropology, sociology, and art history. They consider issues of cultural authenticity raised by Asian American participation in hip hop and jazz, the emergence of an orientalist “Indo-chic” in U.S. youth culture, and the circulation of Vietnamese music variety shows. They examine the relationship between Chinese restaurants and American culture, issues of sexuality and race brought to the fore in the video performance art of a Bruce Lee–channeling drag king, and immigrant television viewers’ dismayed reactions to a Chinese American chef who is “not Chinese enough.” The essays in Alien Encounters demonstrate the importance of scholarly engagement with popular culture. Taking popular culture seriously reveals how people imagine and express their affective relationships to history, identity, and belonging.

Contributors. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Kevin Fellezs, Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez, Joan Kee, Nhi T. Lieu, Sunaina Maira, Martin F. Manalansan IV, Mimi Thi Nguyen, Robyn Magalit Rodriguez, Sukhdev Sandhu, Christopher A. Shinn, Indigo Som, Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu, Oliver Wang

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Learned, savvy, and on the pulse, this volume does more than fill a huge gap in popular culture studies. Like the strongest of new entries, it might end up rearranging the entire field.”—Andrew Ross, author of Fast Boat to China: Lessons from Shanghai

“This wonderfully rich collection of essays shows the particular import of the realm of popular culture and its study. Such a critical assessment of the practices, production, consumption, and variegated sites of Asian American popular culture and politics demonstrates the broad horizons which can and should ground Asian American criticism.”—Kandice Chuh, author of Imagine Otherwise: On Asian Americanist Critique

Glen Mimura

Alien Encounters . . . offers the best introduction to Asian American popular cultural studies to date. The contributors illuminate an impressive range of unstudied or understudied youth cultures, musics, art, media, performance, and everyday practices and discourses.”
Bradley Winterton

Alien Encounters, though mostly academic, contains a wide spectrum of writing. . . . This book’s version of the Vietnamese-American experience is essentially positive because it concentrates, not on a sense of displacement and loss, but on adaptation to a new environment.”
Crystal S. Anderson

“This volume of essays on Asian Americans and popular culture is a welcome addition to interdisciplinary and cultural studies, as well as scholarship on ethnic studies. The collection brings together a variety of subjects and viewpoints, highlighting elements attendant upon popular culture such as race, nation, and gender.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822339229
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books
  • Publication date: 5/28/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mimi Thi Nguyen is Assistant Professor of Gender and Women's Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu is Assistant Professor of Art History and Asian American Studies at Cornell University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction / Mimi Thi Nguyen and Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu 1

I. Sounds Authentic?

1. Rapping and Repping Asian: Race, Authenticity, and the Asian American MC / Oliver Wang 35

2. Silenced but Not Silent: Asian Americans and Jazz / Kevin Fellezs 69

II. Popular Places

3. Homicidal Tendencies: Violence and the Global Economy in Asian American Pulp Fiction / Christopher A. Shinn 111

4. Visual Reconnaissance / Joan Kee 130

5. Chinese Restaurant Drive-Thru / Indigo Som 150

6. The Guru and the Cultural Politics of Placelessness / Sukhdev Sandhu 161

III. Consuming Cultures

7. Cooking up the Senses: A Critical Embodied Approach to the Study of Food and Asian American Television Audiences / Martin F. Manalansan IV 179

8. Performing Culture in Diaspora: Assimilation and Hybridity in Paris by Night Videos and Vietnamese American Niche Media / Nhi T. Lieu 194

9. Indo-Chic: Late Capitalist Orientalism and Imperial Culture / Sunaina Maira 221

IV. Troubled Technologies

10. Asian American Auto / Biographies: The Gendered Limits of Consumer Citizenship in Import Subcultures / Robyn Magalit Rodriguez and Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez 247

11. Bruce Lee I Love You: Discourses of Race and Masculinity in the Queer Superstardom of JJ Chinois / Mimi Thi Nguyen 271

12. Race and Software / Wendy Hui Kyong Chun 305

Bibliography 335

Contributors 355

Index 359

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