introduction:
on Asian Americanist critique
Asian American culture is the site of more than critical negation of
the U.S. nation; it is a site that shifts and marks alternatives to the
national terrain by occupying other spaces, imagining di√erent
narratives and critical historiographies, and enacting practices that
give rise to new forms of subjectivity and new ways of questioning
the government of human life by the national state.—Lisa Lowe,
Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics (1996)
Justice remains, is yet, to come. Perhaps, one must always say for
justice.—Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Force of Law’’ (1992)
We need to remember as intellectuals that the battles we fight are
battles of words. . . . What academic intellectuals must confront is thus
not their ‘‘victimization’’ by society at large (or their victimization-in-
solidarity-with-the-oppressed), but the power, wealth, and privilege
that ironically accumulate from their ‘‘oppositional’’ viewpoint, and
the widening gap between the professed contents of their words
and the upward mobility they gain from such words.
—Rey Chow, Writing Diaspora (1993)
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