introduction: on Asian Americanist critique
1 Protests over Blu’s Hanging’s depiction of Filipino Americans culminated in the
form of a resolution to rescind the award. Protestors, organized by the Filipino
American Studies Caucus (fasc) of the Association and a group called the Anti-
Racism Coalition (arc), but numbering many others as well, argued that a
book that figured Filipino Americans as animal torturers and child molesters,
and that an author who had in other works o√ered arguably similarly problem-
atic representations of Filipino Americans, should not be recognized as exem-
plary of the ‘‘best.’’ Fifty-eight Filipino community organizations had ex-
pressed support for the fasc’s and arc’s resolution to revoke the award.
Despite these protests, aaas’s executive board a≈rmed the award committee’s
freedom to make its determination, and numerous e√orts to find compromise
positions failed. The resolution to revoke the award was introduced to the
membership at the general business meeting held at the conference and passed
by a vote of 90 or 91 (accounts di√er) for to 55 against, with 19 abstentions.
The vote was limited to those who were in attendance at the business meeting.
The Association’s executive board consequently resigned in the face of possible
legal liability (for potential breach of contract, perhaps), and many members—
both in support of the resolution and not—have declined continued participa-
tion in aaas. I have drawn this summary from the chronology of events
compiled principally by Daniel Kim for circulation among members of the East
of California Caucus of the association. I am indebted to his hard work; errors
in reporting are my own.
2 I am using ‘‘poststructuralism’’ and ‘‘postmodernism’’ rather loosely here. My
interest is in pointing to these terms as identifying a particular discursive
moment in which referentiality gives way to multiplicity. The terms are inti-
mately related in that moment. Poststructuralism otherwise generally takes up
language itself as its analytic focus, while postmodernism concerns itself more
with representation—obviously, there are overlaps between these focuses. My
immediate sources for poststructural theorizing are Judith Butler, Paul de Man,
Jacques Derrida, Drucilla Cornell, Gilles Deleuze, and Diane Elam; and for
postmodern theorizing my sources are David Harvey, Fredric Jameson, and
Jean-Francois Lyotard.
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