As people from the cultures of the Indian sub-continent increasingly participate in the complex and often heated debates about race and ethnicity in the United States, they confront questions about naming and claiming an identity that designates their group in this country. To be sure, claiming any single identity omits, perhaps threatens to obliterate, the significant political, historical, economic, and religious differences between their countries of origin. However, the term \u0022South Asian\u0022 is growing in acceptance among people in this country who trace their heritage to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Maldives because it acknowledges common interests while it allows for difference.
This construction process parallels the gradual acceptance of the term \u0022Asian American\u0022 by peoples primarily of East and Southeast Asian ancestry who found abundant reason to claim a shared identity in dealing with officialdom and an apparently intractable racism in this country. In time, \u0022Asian American\u0022 has become a designation of collective pride for a wide range of peoples. In academic institutions and society generally, there are vexed questions about the term's inclusiveness and the dominance of established groups over more recent ones.
A Part, Yet Apart: South Asians in Asian America concerns itself with the extent to which South Asian American are and ought to be included within Asian America -- as that term is applied to academic programs and admission policies; grassroots community organizing and politics more broadly; and critical analyses of cultural products. Taken together these essays form a spirited dialogue on the dilemmas of identity politics, coalition building, and diasporics.
Lavina Dhingra Shankar is Assistant Professor of English at Bates College, Maine. Rajini Srikanth is Adjunct Professor of American Studies at Tufts University, Massachusetts.
CONTENTS Acknowledgments Foreword: South Asian Identity in Asian America Rajiv Shankar Introduction: Closing the Gap? South Asians Challenge Asian American Studies Lavina Dhingra Shankar and Rajini Skrikanth I. Limiting Names and Labels 1 With Kaleidoscope Eyes: The Potential (Dangers) of Identitarian Coalitions Deepika Bahri 2 The Limits of (South Asian) Names and Labels: Postcolonial or Asian American? Lavina Dhingra Shankar II. The Disconnections of Race 3 The Racial Gap: South Asian American Racial Identity and the Asian American Movement Nazli Kibria 4 Pahkar Singh's Argument with Asian Ameria: Color and the Structure of Race Formation Min Song III. Topologies of Activism 5 Crafting Solidarities Vijay Prashad 6 At the Crossroads: College Activism and Its Impact on Asian American Identity Formation Anu Gupta 7 From Campus to Community Politics in Asian America Sumantra Tito Sinha 8 The Call of Rice: (South) Asian American Queer Communities Sandip Roy 9 Ram Yoshino Uppuluri's Campaign: The Implications for Panethnicity in Asian America Rajini Srikanth IV. Literary Texts and Diasporics 10 A World Apart: A Reading of South Asian American Literature Ruth Yu Hsiao 11 Min(d)ing the Gap: South Asian Americans and Diaspora Samir Dayal Contributors In the Series