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Margins and mainstreams : Asians in American history and culture / Gary Y. Okihiro.

By: Okihiro, Gary Y, 1945-.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: Seattle : University of Washington Press, c1994Description: xvii, 203 p. ; 23 cm.ISBN: 0295973382 (alk. paper); 9780295973388 (alk. paper); 0295973390 (paper : alk. paper); 9780295973395 (paper : alk. paper).Subject(s): Asian Americans -- HistoryLOC classification: E184.O6 | O38 1994Summary: In a thoughtful and stimulating contribution to the current debate about the meaning to the larger society of multiculturalism, Gary Okihiro explores the significance of Asian Americans in American history and culture. In six provocative and engaging essays he examines the Asian American experience from the perspectives of historical consciousness, race, gender, class, and culture. Much talk these days revolves around the idea of the mainstream, about the core of American history and culture, and about the dangers of straying from the original formulations that have made this country great. Pluralism and diversity, many argue, only serve to divide and fracture the nation. The core, rooted in Western civilization and the canon of "great books" must be recovered and preserved, and those on the margins, most notably racial minorities, must be absorbed into the mainstream. Or so the argument goes. Margins and Mainstreams argues that the core values and ideals of the nation emanate today not from the so-called mainstream but from the margins, from among Asian and African Americans, Latinos and American Indians, and women. Those groups, in their struggles for equality, have helped to preserve and advance the founders' ideals and have made America a more democratic place for all. While exploring anew the meanings of Asian American social history, the book reexamines the intellectual foundations and assumptions of the field of Asian American studies. It exposes the dominance of Eurocentrism and other hierarchies in the major theories that inform the field. It contextualizes the Asian American experience with that of African Americans and Latinos, and it advocates the intellectual convergence of Asian, Asian American, and African American studies.
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E184 .O6 O38 1994 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001976273
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E184 .M88 K37 2009 American Muslim women : E184.O6 M35 1972 The oriental Americans / E184.O6 M56 1995 Asian Americans : E184 .O6 O38 1994 Margins and mainstreams : E184 .O6 T35 1998 Strangers from a different shore : E184 .O6 Y8 2002 Thinking orientals : E184.P7 P6848 1996 Polish Americans and their history :

Includes bibliographical references (p. 177-193) and index.

In a thoughtful and stimulating contribution to the current debate about the meaning to the larger society of multiculturalism, Gary Okihiro explores the significance of Asian Americans in American history and culture. In six provocative and engaging essays he examines the Asian American experience from the perspectives of historical consciousness, race, gender, class, and culture. Much talk these days revolves around the idea of the mainstream, about the core of American history and culture, and about the dangers of straying from the original formulations that have made this country great. Pluralism and diversity, many argue, only serve to divide and fracture the nation. The core, rooted in Western civilization and the canon of "great books" must be recovered and preserved, and those on the margins, most notably racial minorities, must be absorbed into the mainstream. Or so the argument goes. Margins and Mainstreams argues that the core values and ideals of the nation emanate today not from the so-called mainstream but from the margins, from among Asian and African Americans, Latinos and American Indians, and women. Those groups, in their struggles for equality, have helped to preserve and advance the founders' ideals and have made America a more democratic place for all. While exploring anew the meanings of Asian American social history, the book reexamines the intellectual foundations and assumptions of the field of Asian American studies. It exposes the dominance of Eurocentrism and other hierarchies in the major theories that inform the field. It contextualizes the Asian American experience with that of African Americans and Latinos, and it advocates the intellectual convergence of Asian, Asian American, and African American studies.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

In the spring of 1992, Okihiro (Cornell) was invited by Amherst College to give six lectures on Asian Americans. With slight modification, they became the six chapters for this book. The opening chapters explore Orientalist depictions of Asia by the West and compare the experience of Asian Americans with that of African Americans, finding a close affinity. Okihiro then considers Asian American history from a woman-centered perspective and looks at the lives of ordinary men and women instead of focusing on prominent individuals. Chapter 5 examines the dual images of Asian Americans as "yellow peril" and "model minority," and the last chapter suggests that Asian Americans, along with other minorities and women, have helped to extend the democracy, equality, and liberty of all Americans. Thus, the "margins" or marginal groups have helped to redefine and reshape the American mainstream. Readers familiar with works by Roger Daniels, Ronald Takaki, and Sucheng Chan will not be surprised by Okihiro's treatment, but he does present a convenient summary that deftly synthesizes recent scholarship exploring the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and culture among Asian Americans in the US. This stimulating and sophisticated treatment, written by a mature scholar, is well worth reading. Highly recommended for general and academic readers at all levels.

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