At the beginning of the twentieth century, soon after the conclusion of the Spanish-American War, the United States was an imperialistic nation, maintaining (often with the assistance of military force) a far-flung and growing empire. After a long period of collective national amnesia regarding American colonialism, in the Philippines and elsewhere, scholars have resurrected the power of “empire” as a way of revealing American history and culture. Focusing on the terms of Asian American assimilation and the rise of the model-minority myth, Victor Bascara examines the resurgence of empire as a tool for acknowledging—and understanding—the legacy of American imperialism. Model-Minority Imperialism links geopolitical dramas of twentieth-century empire building with domestic controversies of U.S. racial order by examining the cultural politics of Asian Americans as they are revealed in fiction, film, and theatrical productions. Tracing U.S. economic and political hegemony back to the beginning of the twentieth century through works by Jessica Hagedorn, R. Zamora Linmark, and Sui Sin Far; discourses of race, economics, and empire found in the speeches of William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan; as well as L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and other texts, Bascara’s innovative readings uncover the repressed story of U.S. imperialism and unearth the demand that the present empire reckon with its past. Bascara deploys the analytical approaches of both postcolonial studies and Asian American studies, two fields that developed in parallel but have only begun to converge, to reveal how the vocabulary of empire reasserted itself through some of the very people who inspired the U.S imperialist mission. Victor Bascara is assistant professor of English and Asian American studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
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African Americans Ameri American cultural politics American empire American imperialism anti-imperialist argues Asian American cultural Asian American literature Asian difference assimilation Baum’s become Bontoc Eulogy Bulosan canon capital Chan Hung Chan Is Missing chapter Chinese Chinese American civilization Coin Coin’s conceptions contemporary contradictions critical critique discourse Dogeaters economic Edgar Ramirez emergence of U.S. epistemologies failures Far’s Farrah Filipino film formation Fuentes Fuentes’s global gold standard Hagedorn Hawaii identity ideological Igorot immigrants incorporation Kalihi labor Lae Choo liberal Lincoln Linmark’s Lisa Lowe literary Markod McKinley McKinley’s means minor model-minority myth modernity monetary multiculturalism narrative ofAmerican Orientalism past Philippines Populist postcolonial production queer Race racial Reconstruction render representation resonance revisionism Rolling the R’s social status Steve struggles tion turn twentieth century U.S. imperialism unburdening United University Press W. E. B. DuBois Wayne Wang William William McKinley Wilson’s Winkies Wizard of Oz World’s Fair York