In the final throes of writing Compositional Subjects, I received an inspiring,
handwritten note from my six-year-old niece Elyssa: “Good luck in finish-
ing your book. I hope you make a good grade!” This well-wishing nicely
captures the long journey of writing this book, which would not have been
possible without the guidance and encouragement of many people. I have
been blessed with a relay of amazing feminist mentors. First and foremost,
I would like to thank Elaine H. Kim, who has taught me so much and
given me many key opportunities. As will be amply evident in reading this
book, my work here would not be possible without the prolific body of
scholarship that she has produced with such courage and foresight. At the
University of California–Santa Cruz, Judy Yung was an early anchor for
my interests in studying Asian/American women and a peerless model of
pedagogical excellence. Angela Davis inspired me to “stay in school” with
her calm genius and guided my passage toward dissertation writing. As the
chair of my dissertation committee, Donna Haraway offered me the per-
fect balance of freedom and incisive interrogation to craft the early full
draft of this book; her indelible influence on how I think about thinking is
inscribed throughout this monograph. As my senior mentor at the Uni-
versity of California–Irvine, Leslie W. Rabine has been an oasis of stead-
fast support and wise counsel on all matters of work and life. Last but not
least, Lisa Lowe has guided me well at several key junctures with her ad-
mirable combination of intellectual rigor and prudence. In addition, sev-
eral other faculty members in History of Consciousness helped me to con-
ceive and write early versions of certain sections in this book: Jim Clifford,
Barbara Epstein, Stephen Heath, and Hayden White.
Many friends eased and enriched the process with their fine minds,
finer souls, and great camaraderie: Caren Kaplan, Inderpal Grewal, Rachel
Lee, Brian Albert, Eungie Joo, Mimi Kim, Claudia Castañeda, Anjie
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