Symposium on Asians in the Americas

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Debra K. Lee-DiStefano, Southeast Missouri State University
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We seek proposals for a Symposium on Asians in the Americans sponsored by the Southeast Missouri State University and the Department of Global Cultures and Languages. This Symposium will take place over two days on September 28-29, 2012. Influenced by Edward Said's Orientalism, Roshni Rustomji-Kerns' edited volume Encounters, Karen Tei Yamashita's fiction and essays, and New Worlds, New Lives edited by Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, Akemi Kitamura-Yano, and James A. Hirabayashi, this symposium aims to explore the multifaceted representations of Asian lives in the Americas in history, sociology, religion, anthropology, art, education, film, and popular culture. In contemporary diaspora, globalization, and transnational studies we are reminded of the movement of Asians to the Americas as a people, as in the internment of Latin American Asians in U.S. Department of Justice camps during World War II, as well as through representations, such as those presented by Hollywood or in the Mexican comic of Kaliman.

We emphasize that although Asians have been in the Americas since at least the 16th Century, the movement of Asians outside of Asia is, ostensibly, a footnote in many fields. Similarly, current scholarship of Asians in the Americas focuses on East Asians in the Americas and rarely discusses South Asians, Southeast Asians, Central Asians, and Western Asians. This symposium seeks to examine the multiple intersections of borders, race, ethnicity, nationality, geopolitical power, homeland, identity, and the transmission of culture as it specifically relates to the Asians in the Americas. We are interested in considering the importance for current academic disciplines, such as Area Studies and Ethnic Studies, to expand upon their classifications of nation, race, and ethnicity in order to take into account other variables that gesture towards formulations of Asians in the Americas, i.e. class, gender, and social imaginations. We invite papers that focus on any aspect of the symposium themes and especially encourage interdisciplinary approaches. Topics may be focused on a specific diaspora, such as the Japanese diaspora, or tied to the specific host country, for example, the South Asians in Canada, but should be able to serve as a general context to this hemisphere as a whole.

The organizers invite abstracts (approximately 200 words) that respond to the focus of the symposium. General inquires and abstracts should be submitted by April 1, 2012 to Dr. Debra Kay Lee-DiStefano via email: All papers must be presented in English. Shorter versions are encouraged, with a longer version prepared for possible publication. For more information, please visit the website at