This interdisciplinary collection brings together contributors working in Asian American studies, English, anthropology, sociology, and art history. They consider issues of cultural authenticity raised by Asian American participation in hip hop and jazz, the emergence of an orientalist “Indo-chic” in U.S. youth culture, and the circulation of Vietnamese music variety shows. They examine the relationship between Chinese restaurants and American culture, issues of sexuality and race brought to the fore in the video performance art of a Bruce Lee–channeling drag king, and immigrant television viewers’ dismayed reactions to a Chinese American chef who is “not Chinese enough.” The essays in Alien Encounters demonstrate the importance of scholarly engagement with popular culture. Taking popular culture seriously reveals how people imagine and express their affective relationships to history, identity, and belonging.
Contributors. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Kevin Fellezs, Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez, Joan Kee, Nhi T. Lieu, Sunaina Maira, Martin F. Manalansan IV, Mimi Thi Nguyen, Robyn Magalit Rodriguez, Sukhdev Sandhu, Christopher A. Shinn, Indigo Som, Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu, Oliver Wang
Mimi Thi Nguyen is Assistant Professor of Gender and Women's Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu is Assistant Professor of Art History and Asian American Studies at Cornell University.
By tracing cross-cultural influences and global cultural trends, the essays in East Main Street bring Asian American studies, in all its interdisciplinary richness, to bear on a broad spectrum of cultural artifacts. Contributors consider topics ranging from early Asian American movie stars to the influences of South Asian iconography on rave culture, and from the marketing of Asian culture through food to the contemporary clamor for transnational Chinese women’s historical fiction. East Main Street hits the shelves in the midst of a boom in Asian American population and cultural production. This book is essential not only for understanding Asian American popular culture but also contemporary U.S. popular culture writ large.