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The Cultural Capital of Asian American StudiesAutonomy and Representation in the University$
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Mark Chiang

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814717004

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814717004.001.0001

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Institutionalization and the Crisis of Representation

(p.1) Introduction
The Cultural Capital of Asian American Studies

Mark Chiang

NYU Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the development of Asian American studies, highlighting particularly the conflict that erupted within the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) members over a fiction award given to Lois-Ann Yamanaka's novel, Blu's Hanging. Although the protests over the fiction award nearly led to the dissolution of the association itself, this event has already begun to be forgotten. The award was featured in several books and articles published shortly afterward, but scholarly commentary on both the event and Yamanaka's novel have been notably sparse to date, now almost a decade later. This book seeks to rectify that neglect on both counts, by arguing that the episode was significant not only as an instance of popular struggles over cultural politics, but that it also reveals certain basic lacunae in the theory and methods of Asian American studies.

Keywords:   Asian American studies, AAAS, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Blu's Hanging, cultural politics

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