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Who Is the Asianist? The Politics of Representation in Asian Studies (Will Bridges, Nitasha Tamar Sharma, and Marvin D. Sterling, Editors)

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9781952636295. 220 pages. Paperback. AAS MEMBERS: use the code AASMEMBER at checkout for your 20% discount.

Who Is the Asianist? reconsiders the past, present, and future of Asian Studies through the lens of positionality, questions of authority, and an analysis of race with an emphasis on Blackness in Asia. From self-reflective essays on being a Black Asianist to the Black Lives Matter movement in West Papua, Japan, and Viet Nam, scholars grapple with the global significance of race and local articulations of difference. Other contributors call for a racial analysis of the figure of the Muslim as well as a greater transregional comparison of slavery and intra-Asian dynamics that can be better understood, for instance, from a Black feminist perspective or through the work of James Baldwin. As a whole, this diversified set of essays insists that the possibilities of change within Asian Studies occurs when, and only when, it reckons with the entirety of the scholars, geographies, and histories that it comprises.

Will Bridges is Associate Professor of Japanese at the University of Rochester. His first monograph, Playing in the Shadows: Fictions of Race and Blackness in Postwar Japanese Literature was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2020.

Nitasha Tamar Sharma is Professor of African American Studies and Asian American Studies at Northwestern University. She is author of Hawai’i is my Haven: Race and Indigeneity in the Black Pacific and Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness, both published by Duke University Press, and coeditor of Beyond Ethnicity: New Politics of Race in Hawai’I, published by the University of Hawai’I Press.

Marvin D. Sterling is Associate Professor, Anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington. His research centers on the popularity of a range of Jamaican cultural forms in Japan, mainly roots reggae, dancehall reggae, and Rastafari. In a more recent line of research, he has shifted geographical perspectives from Japan to explore the Japanese community in Jamaica, one primarily centered on an interest in learning Jamaican culture at its source.

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