Picturing Model Citizens: Civility in Asian American Visual Culture

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Temple University Press, May 13, 2011 - Social Science - 218 pages
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At the heart of the model minority myth—often associated with Asian Americans—is the concept of civility. In this groundbreaking book, Picturing Model Citizens, Thy Phu exposes the complex links between civility and citizenship, and argues that civility plays a crucial role in constructing Asian American citizenship.

Featuring works by Arnold Genthe, Carl Iwasaki, Toyo Miyatake, Nick Ut, and others, Picturing Model Citizens traces the trope of civility from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Through an examination of photographs of Chinese immigrants, Japanese internment camps, the Hiroshima Maidens project, napalm victims, and the SARS epidemic, Phu explores civility's unexpected appearance in images that draw on discourses of intimacy, cultivation, apology, and hygiene. She reveals how Asian American visual culture illustrates not only cultural ideas of civility, but also contests the contradictions of state-defined citizenship.

 

 

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Contents

Prologue
1
Clasped Hands and Clenched Fists
6
1 Spectacles of Intimacy and the Aesthetics of Domestication
26
Internment Landscapes and StillLife Photography
54
Transpacifism and the Scars of Reparation
84
SARS Surgical Masks and the Civility of Surveillance
121
The Inhospitable Politics of Repatriation
147
Notes
159
Bibliography
189
Index
205
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About the author (2011)

Thy Phu is an Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Western Ontario. She is editor of the Americas region for the journal Photography and Culture, and co-editor (with Elspeth Brown) of a collection of essays entitled Feeling Photography.

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