Cosmopolitanism

From its inception, Asian American studies has struggled with its ability to attend to, describe, and theorize experiences and ideas that exceed single-nation identification, fixed territorial boundaries, and conditions produced by globalization. Various terms such as “internationalism,” “transnationalism,” “diaspora,” “exile,” “flexible citizens,” and “extra-nationals” have been mobilized in the field to indicate an Asian American imaginary, identification, and everyday practice that signal more than just Asia and America, more than just Asia, more than just America. This list of terms suggests an embodied and discursive mobility that refuses to settle along distinct and firm borders, particularly national ones. “Cosmopolitanism” belongs to this list of terms.

Cosmopolitanism as an idea, a political philosophy, an identity, and a practice is often attributed in Western political and philosophical discourse to the Greek Stoics and later Immanuel Kant. Its meaning has been equated with world citizenship and world belonging, and with universalism. In this …

This essay may be found on page 39 of the printed volume.

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