Nationalism

“Nationalism” is a term fraught with multiple and complex meanings. The OED defines nationalism as “advocacy of or support for national independence or self-determination” that “usually refers to a specific ideology, esp. one expressed through political activism.” This definition provides a useful starting point for examining nationalism as a keyword in Asian American studies. Indeed, nationalism has been central to the intellectual and political project of Asian American studies from its inception through its subsequent trajectory. Using nationalism as a keyword thus offers a productive means to chart a critical genealogy of Asian American studies that traces its key interventions, possibilities, and limits.

The field of Asian American studies emerged from the social movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s, including the student protests for ethnic studies courses at universities across the country. San Francisco State College was a particularly intense hotbed of campus activism. In 1968, the Third …

This essay may be found on page 178 of the printed volume.

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