Orientalism

Had the activists of the late 1960s christened themselves “Orientals” instead of “Asian Americans,” we might be calling this volume “Keywords in Oriental American Studies.” This alternate history is not so unlikely, for both terms expressed a similar desire for a pan-Asian coalition, and both were more inclusive than the skin-color-based calls for “yellow” or “brown” power. One of the first Asian American studies classes taught by Yuji Ichioka at UCLA in 1969 was entitled “Orientals in America,” and the UCLA student group Sansei Concern initially changed its name to Oriental Concern in 1968 to accommodate more ethnic groups (Ichioka 2000, 33; Y. Espiritu 1992, 32–33). Like the reclamation of the word “queer” in the 1990s, the term “Oriental” had the potential to confront a history of exclusion, explusion, and discrimination by bringing together and politicizing precisely those groups it had deemed “other” in the past.

However, even before Edward …

This essay may be found on page 182 of the printed volume.

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