Asian American Identities and Practices

Asian American Identities and Practices : Folkloric Expressions in Everyday Life

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In Asian American Identities and Practices: Folkloric Expressions in Everyday Life Jonathan Lee and Kathleen Nadeau present the rich hybrid and cultural identities that many Asian American communities cultivate through folklore and its many manifestations in the context of daily life. Featuring contributors who engage theory in practice at the community level from a bottom-up and hands-on perspective, this collection reveals how folklore emerges out of life itself-ever bridging the past and present, the seen and the unseen, changing even as it is "being" appropriated, reinvented, and transformed.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 282 pages
  • 150 x 231 x 19mm | 417g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 1 black & white illustrations, 19 black & white halftones
  • 0739147331
  • 9780739147337

Review quote

This collection on the diverse experiences of Asian American communities and the shaping of new identities in the contemporary US deserves careful consideration by cultural studies scholars. Both in methodology and research, the essays present new perspectives on religious activities, dance, children's stories, hip-hop, humor, horror stories, and vernacular expression. The editors define folklore as those everyday habits or activities that make meaning out of life. Asian American communities use these practices to negotiate life in the US, redefine what it means to be American, and even resist dominant notions of citizenship. Summing Up: Recommended. All academic levels/libraries. CHOICE Lee and Nadeau's volume is an engaging anthology of essays from a group of scholars whose work focuses on Asian America. The editors' decision to focus on folklore is an excellent one, as folklore highlights individuals' negotiation of ethnic identity through the dynamic and meaning-making process of informal cultural expression... The anthology will be of interest to those who are interested in the informal cultural processes that shape (and reshape) the concepts of what it means to belong in the many groups that self identify as Asian American. Similarly, it provides worthwhile ideas for future studies centered on the traditional expressive forms found throughout Asian America. One of the clear lessons of the anthology is how difficult it is to do ethnography in the diverse communities of Asian America. The anthology should find a place on reading lists for courses in American Studies, Asian American Studies, Folklore, and Anthropology. The volume is handsomely presented a welcome addition to Asian American Folklore Studies. Asian Ethnology Jonathan H. X. Lee and Kathleen Nadeau provide a marvelously broad and fluid collection that demonstrates convincingly how valuable folkloric approaches can be in understanding the Asian American experience. The book's value for scholars and for students lies especially in the range of topics and groups covered, and in the deftly balanced attention to issues of tradition and modernity, individual creativity and cultural durability, mundane habits and deep personal commitments. -- David W. Haines Asian American Identities and Practices: Folkloric Expressions in Everyday Life is valuable to anyone interested in the Asian American heritage, transnational cultural expression, vernacular artforms/folklore, and related topics. The introduction to the work contextualizes its subjects (ranging from religion to rap) both socially and intellectually. As a result, the ideas contained therein are not only informative, but accessible to a wide audience. At least as important is the fact that the authors write with the authentic voices of insiders rather than as outside observers. In the words of the editors, 'the scholars contributing to this collection have deliberately taken a dialogic and engaged bottoms-up approach to the study of folklore and folklife.' This collection is long overdue. -- Thomas Green, Texas A&M University These essays demonstrate the exciting possibilities for new insights into Asian American communities through the study of folklore. The thoughtful and stimulating introduction provided by Jonathan Lee and Kathleen Nadeau provides a firm theoretical basis by which the joining of folklore and Asian American Studies can be of mutual benefit to the two disciplines. -- Franklin Ng, California State University, Fresno This edited volume is a pioneering work in exploring Asian American identities and practices through folklore and its relationship to the preservation of ethnic identity and cultural values, religious concepts, material artifacts and the imaginary world, and the adjustments that are made to these folk beliefs as they are modified by the American situation and the influx of new immigrants into the community. The essays are enlightening and well organized by editors Jonathan H.X. Lee and Kathleen Nadeau. -- Sue Fawn Chung, University of Nevada Las Vegas
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About Jonathan H. X. Lee

Jonathan H. X. Lee is associate professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University. He is the editor of Cambodian American Experiences: Histories, Communities, Cultures, and Identities and co-editor with Kathleen M. Nadeau of the Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife. Kathleen Nadeau is a professor of anthropology at California State University, San Bernardino. She is the author of Liberation Theology in the Philippines: Faith in a Revolution, The History of the Philippines, and co-editor with Jonathan H. X. Lee of the Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife.
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Table of contents

Acknowledgments Introduction: Disciplines and Discourses in Asian American Folklore and Folklife: Prospects, Patterns, Practices, and Problems in an Emerging Landscape Jonathan H. X. Lee and Kathleen Nadeau 1: Folklore and Asian American Humor: Stereotypes, Politics, and Self Ayako Yoshimura 2: Folklore and the Visual Culture of Burmese America: Immigrant Buddhism and the Dhammananda Monastery Winston Kyan 3: The "Movement" as Folklore: Asian American College Youth and Vernacular Expressions of Asian Pacific American Heritage Dawn Lee Tu 4: Once Upon a Time in Chinese America: Literary Folktales in American Picture Books Lorraine Dong 5: Things Matter: Chinese American Culture Work and the Gods of Marysville Jonathan H. X. Lee and Vivian-Lee Nyitray 6: Finding the Missing Pieces: Korean American Adoptees and the Production of Ritual SooJin Pate 7: Filipino Folklore, Space, and Performance Francis Tanglao-Aguas 8: Forging Transnational Folklore: Cambodian American Hip Hop Cathy J. Schlund-Vials 9: Japanese American Artistic Appropriation of Folkloric Symbols through Origami and Hip Hop Brett Esaki 10: Igorot American Folk Dance: Performance, Identity, and the Paradox of Decolonization Mark Sabas Leo and Jonathan H. X. Lee 11: Guangong: The Chinese God of War and Literature in America - From Celestial Stranger to Common Culture (1850-2012 C.E.) Jonathan H. X. Lee 12: Folklore as a Sacred Heritage: Vietnamese Indigenous Religions in California Janet Hoskins 13: Of Flying Brooms and Sorcerers: Spell-castings, Love Potions, and Supernatural Plants Rossina Zamora Liu 14: Korean Folklore in the Lives of Korean American Christian Women Christine J. Hong 15: Late life, Mortuary and Memorial Rituals in Japanese American Community Ronald Y. Nakasone Index About the Editors About the Authors
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