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Uncle Swami: South Asians in America Today [NOOK Book]

Overview

Within hours of the attacks on the World Trade Center, misdirected assaults on Sikhs and other South Asians flared on streets across the nation, serving as harbingers of a more suspicious, less discerning, and increasingly fearful world view that would drastically change ideas of belonging and acceptance in America.

Weaving together distinct strands of recent South Asian immigration to the United States, Uncle Swami creates a richly textured ...
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Uncle Swami: South Asians in America Today

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Overview

Within hours of the attacks on the World Trade Center, misdirected assaults on Sikhs and other South Asians flared on streets across the nation, serving as harbingers of a more suspicious, less discerning, and increasingly fearful world view that would drastically change ideas of belonging and acceptance in America.

Weaving together distinct strands of recent South Asian immigration to the United States, Uncle Swami creates a richly textured analysis of the systems and sentiments behind shifting notions of cultural identity in a post 9/11 world. Vijay Prashad continues the conversation sparked by his celebrated work The Karma of Brown Folk and confronts the experience of migration across an expanse of generations and class divisions, from the birth of political activism among second generation immigrants to the meteoric rise of South Asian American politicians in Republican circles to the migrant workers who suffer in the name of American capitalism.

A powerful new indictment of American imperialism at the dawn of the twenty-first century, Uncle Swami restores a diasporic community to its full-fledged complexity, beyond model minorities and the specters of terrorism.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As Trinity College’s South Asian history professor Prashad (The Karma of Brown Folk) writes, for South Asian–Americans, “the miasma of international relations interrupts our lives constantly.” His latest begins by illustrating the ways in which Islamophobia and hate crimes ran rife against South Asians after 9/11—tensions exacerbated by outsourced jobs and the growing unemployment rate. Random screenings on mass transit, mistaken detainment, and deportation are among the trials this population faced under legislation like the Patriot Act. To rectify the misinformation, Prashad explains how immigration policy and labor laws shaped South Asian culture, from the prolific rise of the Patels in the hotel industry to indentured servitude in post-Katrina New Orleans. In addition, he traces the rise of South Asian political activism from WWI through the 9/11 attacks that pressured South Asians to unite across disparate cultural and religious lines. Prashad impressively shows how culture and community are intrinsically tied to politics, while addressing nuances in a culture often marginalized by the media. (June)
From the Publisher
"A passionate book that situates 'Indian America' within its own diversified history and alliances in the United States, within the complex histories of national liberation and Hindu nationalism in India, as well as within the spectrum of struggles in the United States."
—Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Columbia University

"Vijay Prashad is our own Frantz Fanon. His writing of protest is always tinged with the beauty of hope."
—Amitava Kumar, author of Passport Photos

"With unflinching clarity and deep compassion, [Prashad] mines the post-9/11 landscape to locate the source of an emerging collective identity as the racial other."
—Rinku Sen, Applied Research Center, and publisher of Colorlines

"This compelling and carefully researched account reveals not only the contradictions in America’s treatment of its South Asian immigrants, but the contradictions of the great American project itself."
—Minal Hajratwala, author of Leaving India

Kirkus Reviews
An update on the residual societal repercussions from 9/11 on the South Asian American population. Reverberations from 9/11 in the Sikh culture have been fully felt for more than a decade, writes Prashad (South Asian History/Trinity Coll.; Arab Spring, Libyan Winter, 2012, etc.) in this natural extension of his The Karma of Brown Folk. The author begins in the months following 9/11 as South Asian immigrants (and those even remotely resembling them) became the objects of retaliatory violence in the form of hate crimes and abject discrimination. South Asian businessmen were pulled from trans-Atlantic flights, angry street intimidation proliferated, and random detainments by police became as commonplace as the notion of racial profiling--all contributory byproducts of The Patriot Act. Though "the turban has always provoked anxiety," writes Prashad, once the shock of 9/11 subsided, what remained were concerted efforts to curb misconceptions about South Asian people, which continues to be a challenge amid a debate over an unemployment-hobbled economy and corporate outsourcing to India. Incorporating personal experiences, the author examines Indian migratory ebbs and flows, how and why South Asian American immigrants became "united by fear," and the chronological timeline of political activism that united them, regardless of affiliation. Prashad's diatribes on foreign policy and America's "imperial ambitions" may overwhelm readers seeking a generalized prognosis, but the author also includes such universally digested statements as, "Everybody dies, but not everybody lives." An eye-opening, relevant discourse on the unfortunate fallout of an American catastrophe.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595588012
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 6/5/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • File size: 993 KB

Meet the Author

Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History at Trinity College, Connecticut. His previous book, The Darker Nations (available from The New Press) was chosen as the best nonfiction book of 2008 by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and won the Muzaffar Ahmad Book Prize in 2009. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.
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