The origins of this volume go back to two debates that have especially
engaged us in the last decade: the crisis of area studies and the crisis of
ethnic studies. By the 1990s, both fields, born almost in tandem but coming
of age in very separate spheres, were being challenged to confront the
cultural and political manifestations of global capitalism by their internal
membership as well as by those working outside the self-defined perimeters
of these sites of scholarly investigation. This book is the product of the
dialogue between the two fields that we have been privileged to be part of.
In addition to comments by colleagues on our individual essays that we
have acknowledged below, here we wish to thank various conference and
workshop organizers who have provided us with opportunities over the
years to present our exploratory work and to benefit from the comments of
the participants. In particular:
The annual conference of the Association of Asian American Studies at
Cornell in 1993, organized by Gary Okihiro, which fostered a broader
debate within American Studies; William Martin, Gloria Waite, and Mi-
chael West of the Current Affairs Committee for sponsoring a cross-borders
session at the 1996 annual meeting of the Association of African Studies;
Joseph Elder for enthusiastically supporting a special conference on global-
ization at the annual 1997 South Asia conference at the University of Wis-
consin, Madison; Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, Reza Sheikholeslami, and
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