Identities are fixed in some ways but fluid in others. As a result, identities can be ‘sampled’. This use of the word ‘sample’ emerged from hip hop. In this module, we let this use of a word guide study of identities that can be rebuked as a matter of a trend or fad – or, contrariwise, as disreputable fixity. Our focus is Asian-Pacific samplings that record receptions of global flows of images, stereotypes, senses of lack perhaps, fantasies often, and desires plausibly.
A good example of the sort of identity we investigate is that of Japan’s ganguro girls. This youth subculture came into international discussion as a component of a diverse, ever-changing motley. Our interest in ganguro girls has two parts: how these Asians ‘sampled’ identities, and how several U.S. writers discussed these young women’s decision to darken their skin, tease out their hair and dye it pink or blonde, exaggerate their lips and eyes with blaring make-up, and so on. For some onlookers, these decisions are hard to separate from mean-spirited caricatures of African Americans. We will ask if ‘sampling’ can mock to good effect. But we will also investigate fixities as corporeal, as it were, as medical and even DNA research.
From these remarks, you see how this module focuses on fixities such as phenotype with powerful ties to structural social inequality but also on fluidities such as transferrable components – ‘samples’ in a way – of individual (yet socialized) perception. Ideas that you can use to get started include Paul Gilroy’s attention to ‘routes’ in contrast to ‘roots’ and Howard Winant’s concept: ‘racial projects.’ We extend both to this part of the globe. To do so, of course, raises further ‘route’ issues.
This module is organized into two main parts: instructional weeks that alert you to cutting-edge claims and vantages, and a ‘stint’ period in which classmates take ownership of teaching each other.
Assigned materials are cited more fully on the “Readings” page.
Prepare for class by watching at least two of the videos listed below. But also keep an eye on IVLE because we may not meet on this day. If that happens, the reason is that I will be in transit from a conference. So, Plan A is that we will discuss your reactions to the videos below in class. Plan B is that I will post on IVLE by 9 January that we will not meet on Monday but learning will commence by these instructions: by 11:59 p.m. on 11 January, each student enrolled in the module will post on IVLE reactions of 200-400 words to any two of these videos. You choose which two you will discuss from these options: Yellow Rage performing “listen,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba9rKhVAz80, “Geisha Wine,” Beau Sia performing “Hip Hop,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkc797WQfs0, “Princess of China,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OpPwcM_NJw, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho1y-4mXIL0, “RIP Rich D”(an elegy in dance), www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1BgMwyZhtU. Be alert to tactics or intensities that relate to what you understand now of race, Asianness and/or Pacificness, and intersections thereof as they inform your awareness currently.
*Prepare for Thursday’s class by reading an introduction to our module’s first strand of inquiry, a fixity of history: Salkey, “Middle Passage Anancy.” Prepare for future classes by reading the material listed by that class-meeting’s date. If you post several hours before class, I will try to read your remarks, questions, or suggestions.
Introduction: What do we mean by “globalizing identity”? Which sorts of identities will we consider globalized? What ethical and/or perspectival issues are raised by ‘sampling’ as this word has come into use through hip hop? Is identity ‘sampling’ volitional? Which sorts of analytical approaches do we bring to this discussion, and which approaches can we investigate in search of advances?
*Start blog-reading for the first written assignment; take notes, possibly in journal format.
Blogs to get you started:
Field Negro, The Kitchen Table, We Are Respectable Negroes, Black Voices (try Mason Jamal), Black Tokyo, The Intersection of Madness and Reality.
You must choose blogs that post at least two new posts a week by writers on that blog’s staff (rather than providing links to other blogs). In your blog report, described in the Assignments section below, you will mention in an overview para how many posts went up on each blog, during the period in which you read the two you selected.
Homework for Monday’s class is half of an essay by Russell, “Playing with Race/Authenticating Alterity” (until the paragraph on p. 62 that concludes: “… the American shore”) and two blog-posts. If you find other posts that can help our learning, let us know by IVLE.
discuss these posts in terms of Russell’s concerns. A guideline is fixity vs. fluidity. Consider too though the role that perception, as opposed to factual verity, can play in our work.
discuss Tate, “Nigs R Us, or How Blackfolk Became Fetish Objects” (2003) plus Malkani, excerpt from Londonstani (2006)
discuss excerpts from Felski’s book Uses of Literature (2008). Be ready for a quiz on her proposals and claims.
discuss King’s interest in Dalits as Immerwahr relates it (2007). What was flexible? What was fixed?
Wood, “The Yellow Negro” (2000) plus Koshiro, “Beyond an Alliance of Color: The African American Impact on Modern Japan” (2003)
discuss Prashad, “Bruce Lee and the Anti-Imperialism of Kung Fu” (2003)
Blog report due 5 February at 11:59 p.m. Upload to workbin. Earlier uploads are fine but the rule is: one upload per student, per assignment. Late uploads will be penalized.
no class meeting, CNY
discuss Dvorak, “Chasing the Chieftain’s Daughter.” Start reading early!
Reflection paper due 12 February at 11:59 p.m. Same hand-in rules as for blog report. Same penalty for late submissions.
Frank, “Back with a vengeance” (2006)
Fausto-Sterling, “Bodies with Histories” (2013)
Oral history due 22 February at 11:59 p.m. Same hand-in rules, same penalty for late submissions.
Kaw, “Medicalization of Racial Features” (1993)
Johnson, ‘Performing Blackness Down Under” (2002)
Blogs to get you started:
Posch, “The Jollywood Manifesto” (2015)
14 March to 4 April::
stints + two classes that are reserved for my use (likely topics: Bernard Scott Luscious, Fiona Lee, Nina Cornyetz, C. Heyes, return to Russell’s article).
This part of the module cannot be planned securely until we know enrollment. If time permits, we will study additional material during these weeks. Or, we may see cause to devote one or more class-meetings to processing what transpires, to plan a film night for our module or for the USP, as a whole, or to organize a field trip, if the right sort of opportunity is available. Let’s see what develops.
discuss DeLoria, “Thinking about self in a family way” (2002)
Chinese dance www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2fZ7lRArNM + Kimiko Yoshida’s art (google six or seven images).
wrap up: questions that have arisen, questions that remain . . .
You-choose assignment due 19 April at 11:59 p.m. Same hand-in rules as for blog report, but a stiffer penalty for late submissions."
These outlines help you find your way into this module. Fuller instructions will be uploaded in good time for you to develop ideas by drafting recursively.
Word-limits and deadlines are firm. Late projects will be marked lower, in two-hour drops, pending documentary evidence of an emergency. A repeat offender will find his/her late projects marked lower in one-hour drops.
* Blog report 20% of final grade
Describe your experiences reading at least two blogs hosted by African Americans. Read these blogs over about 18 days. Choose one blog from my list; find one or several more, on your own. Report the initial and considered impressions that you derive by reading these blogs plus any comments that the blogs’ readers post. Mention what you have learned about topics discussed on the blog. But comment, also, on how topics are discussed: e.g., use of sarcasm, pathos or humor; anecdotal evidence or something firmer; assertions of individuality or group consciousness; how clashing views are handled; and more. Be aware of fixities and fluidities. Explain perhaps something that surprised (or edified or/and displeased) you as you read blogs and their readers’ posts.
Bear in mind that because this 600-800 word report will be based on experiences known only to you, you must strive for clear expression and provision, of any information I need to catch your ideas. Reports are not arguments. Still, a main claim is usually helpful near the start.
I will grade these reports in terms of clarity, comprehension of assigned and lecture materials to this point, and active engagement with ONE of these investigative strands: Wood, Malkani, Prashad. Reports will be as personal or confiding as each student chooses to make his or hers. Some students may feel tentative about their findings at this early point in the term. Still, each student can ensure that her or his report takes an identifiable stand – even if that stand is still questing, when this assignment is due.
* Reflection paper ungraded but required
Trace an Asian-Pacific identity that you encountered in the first few weeks of this module. Describe the identity critically in clean, clear prose that includes a thesis (an arguable claim). Then, examine it. Back up your reflection with viable evidence from assigned materials, class discussion and IVLE. Do no research since the thrust of this assignment is ‘processing’ input by reflection. This project can be essayistic or reportorial; you decide. You may find it helpful to conceptualize this 400-600 word project in terms of a mis/recognition of claims, concepts, ideas, and positions that you have encountered in coursework, class discussion, IVLE, and so forth.
* Oral history 25% of final grade
Interview respectfully someone whom you know. This person should be at least 15 years older than you. If you want to choose someone closer in age, consult me first with good justification. Choose whether to conduct the interview face-to-face or, if your interviewee lives far away, electronically (e.g., Skype). The interview will concern their memories of engaging African American expression – if your interviewee identifies as Asian – or of engaging Asian expression – if your interviewee identifies as African-American. You must have my permission beforehand to conduct an all-voice, no-face interview. Post your 1,200-1,500 word oral history on IVLE. This word count does not include the transcript of your interview which, even if partial, you must provide.
Start by choosing an interview subject. Next, explain to the person from whom you would like to learn that you hope he or she will share a few memories to add to our module’s historical data. Once you have found a willing interview subject, develop five to eight questions that are appropriate to that person. Make sure that your questions are easily understood, engaging if possible, and open-ended. As you start the interview, use your prepared questions but be ready to revise (on the instant) if the person’s memories spark new ideas or head in directions that you had not foreseen. Decide how long to learn from this person in terms of their interests: 20 minutes might be right for one person, where another wants to talk for 45. The minimum time is 20 minutes. Finally, write up your findings for our group. Tell us what you asked, before telling us how the person responded. Be sure to mention what you learned from this person in terms of history, mis/recognition, possibly neo-phenomenology, and other considerations introduced in this module.
This assignment can be essayistic or reportorial. In either case, you want to be open-minded, analytical and alert.
* Teaching stint 25% of final grade
A ‘stint’ of teaching, followed by Q&A that you manage, puts you in charge of the class. Stints, planned for duos, will invest 20 minutes in teaching, then devote 10 minutes to Q&A. Each stint will address ONE of the writings asterisked below, using material from Russell, Glissant or Kaw. Whichever you choose, I must ‘okay’ the proposal before you proceed. Please realize that in a given week, all duos will work with a common publication.
I will okay, or reject, proposals on a first-come, first-served basis. I welcome repeats when they advance learning. However, I monitor over-emphasis so that stints do not dwell too often on one topic (or approach) or another. As you prepare your ideas for a proposal, bear in mind that in our module, the idea of a stint is not just to report but to teach the class material that is valuable for this module, before leading the class in Q&A.
Week of 14 March: Moustafa Bayoumi, “Racing Religion.” Centennial Review 6 (Fall 2006): 265-93. Look in Project Muse
Week of 21 March: Sarah Hankins, “So contagious: Hybridity and Subcultural Exchange in Hip-Hop’s Use of Indian Samples.” Black Music Research Journal 31 (Fall 2011): 193-208. CL portal.
Week of 28 March: Jacqueline Lo, “Beyond the US-China Dilemma: The Art of Diasporic World-Making.” Australasian Journal of American Studies 33:2 (December 2014): 35-48. E-reserve.
4 April: Gabriel Solis, “The Black Pacific: Music and Racialization in Papua New Guinea and Australia.” Critical Sociology 41 (2015): 297-312. CL portal.
Mandatory: each stinting duo will provide a stint plan at least one full week before the stint date. A plan should be about 250 words long. This assignment will not be graded. But failure to provide a plan, or a plan that comes in late, affects your stint’s grade. Each plan should include justification for the use you plan of class time. How does your plan relate to our learning so far? How does it help classmates engage more fully the materials assigned? As you plan, please hold strongly in view that new case-studies are less valuable than deepened learning.
* You-choose assignment 20% of final grade
Choose from: reflection paper +
A 1,000-word reflection that meets the description for the ungraded version except that now your reflections will be more extensive, informed, and probing with help from any assigned material you choose plus ONE member of this trio: Prashad, Fausto-Sterling, Ashe. You may conceptualise this project as a report, a narrative, or a personal essay. Your reader(s) will appreciate a main claim, or statement, to guide their engagement. This claim should come very near the start of the project. I grade these papers by clarity, support for claims, knowledge of assigned material plus our discussions, awareness of this module’s emphases, and reflectiveness.
OR: critique assigned material
A 1,000-word critique of a major argument in any one assigned text that displays knowledge of that text and ONE member of this trio: Frank, Russell, Yoshida. Set forth the argument in a recap. Then explain your critique with a firm sense that critique can discern merit as well as shortfall. You can conceptualize this final assignment choice as an attempt to create more valuable tools, augment comprehension, address a gap, and so on. If you see your goal as improving the analytical situation, rather than just re-stating someone else’s work (or just tearing it down) you are headed in the right direction. I grade critiques by clarity, support for claims, knowledge of assigned material plus our discussions, awareness of this module’s emphases, and depth of insight.
OR: reflect on someone else’s reflection
A 1,000-word reflection on a classmate’s early reflection paper by which you chart your learning in this module. The goal is to reflect on a classmate’s report of learning, early on, in terms of assigned material you select along with ideas put in play by Felski OR Wood OR Posch. Remember, if you choose this option, that respect for a classmate is compatible with curiosity that fosters a lucid statement of your (potentially quite different) perspective. It is vital of course that your thoughts be accessible; think clarity. I will also look for wise, thoughtful probing plus care to achieve an appropriate attitude and tone. As you will expect, the grade will also reflect projects’ support for claims, knowledge of assigned material plus our discussions, and awareness of this module’s emphases.
* Class participation 10% of final grade
This grade measures each student’s ability to enrich our work by means such as raising alert questions in class or/and on IVLE, as well as by offering considered answers (in either format) which are up-to-date with assigned readings and our varied discussions. Other means that can add value to our work include helpful suggestions for topics or materials we might address; civil and mature engagement; keeping discussions on track; and otherwise enriching this module experience for all learners in appropriate ways. I commend students who watch out for others’ learning by, e.g., posting intelligently, processing class discussion in a useful way, and/or planning a stint that helps us process learning-to-date, tackle a trouble-spot, clear up a snag in our comprehension, and so on.
Additional Reading Material
Appiah, K. Anthony. Excerpts from Color Consciousness. Written with Amy Gutmann, commentary by David B. Wilkins. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996). In this e-reserve, Wilkins’s commentary on pp. 6-7 precedes selections from Appiah’s work on pp. 38, 64-69, 78 and 81. E-reserve and CL.
Ashe, Bertrand, Jr., “Theorizing the Post-Soul Aesthetic.” African American Review 41 (2007): 609-23. See also the roundtable discussion that follows; search by CL’s FindMore.
Condry, Ian. “Yellow B-Boys, Black Culture, and Hip-Hop in Japan: Toward a Transnational Cultural Politics of Race.” positions 15 (2007): 637-671. Project Muse.
Deloria, Philip J. “Thinking about self in a family way.” Journal of American History 89 (June 2002): 25-29.
Dvorak, Gregory. “Chasing the Chieftain’s Daughter: Dancing Japan’s Desire for the Marshall Islands” a chapter from “Seeds from Afar: Flowers from the Reef” (Ph.D. dissertation, the Australian National University, 2007)
Felski, Rita, excerpts from Uses of Literature (Malden, MA and Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), pp. 22, 25, 38 and 42-50. E-reserve and CL.
Fausto-Sterling, Anne. “Bodies with Histories.” Boston Review (2013). Try: http://www.bostonreview.net/BR37.3/anne_fausto_sterling_biology_race.php
Frank, Reanne. “Back with a vengeance: The Reemergence of a Biological Conceptualization of Race in Reseach on Race/Ethnic Disparities in Health,” paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America (2006). Google it.
Glissant, Édouard. Excerpts from Poetics of Relation (1997), provided by BTR.
hooks, bell. “Eating the Other.” Originally published in Black Looks (1992). Reprinted in Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. Ed. Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas Kellner (Malden, MA and Oxford: WileyBlackwell, 2006): 370-380. E-reserve and CL.
Illeris, Knud. “Transformative Learning and Identity.” Journal of Transformative Education 12 (2014): 148-63.
Immerwahr, Daniel. “Caste or Colony?: Indianizing Race in the United States.” Modern Intellectual History 4 (2007): 275-301. Look on-line.
Johnson, E. Patrick. “Performing Blackness Down Under: The Café of the Gate of Salvation.” Text and Performance Quarterly 22 (April 2002): 99-119.
Kaw, Eugenia. “Medicalization of Racial Features: Asian American Women and Cosmetic Surgery.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 7 (March 1993): 74-89.
Kelley, Robin D.G. and Betsy Esch, “Black Like Mao: Red China and Black Revolution.” Souls (1999): 6-41. E-reserve.
Koh, Adeline and Frieda Ekotto. “Conclusion: Frantz Fanon in Malaysia: Reconfiguring the Ideological Landscape of Negritude in Sepet.” Re-thinking Third Cinema: The Role of Anti-Colonial Media and Aesthetics in Postmodernity (Germany: LIT Berlin, 2009). This book is on hard-copy reserve in CL.
Koshiro, Yukiko. “Beyond an Alliance of Color: The African American Impact on Modern Japan.” positions (2003): 183-215. Project Muse.
Malkani, Gautam. Excerpt from Londonstani (London: Fourth Estate, 2006), pp. 3-7. E-reserve and CL.
McAlister, Melani. “One Black Allah: The Middle East in the Cultural Politics of African American Liberation, 1955-1970.” American Quarterly 51 (1999): 622-656. JSTOR.
Posch, Doris. “The Jollywood Manifesto: Trans-Local Film Cultures in Haiti’s Emerging Cinemas.” Култура/Culture 12 (2015): 157-71. Find through CL FindMore.
Prashad, Vijay. “Bruce Lee and the Anti-Imperialism of Kung Fu.” positions 11 (2003): 51-90. Project Muse.
--. Excerpt from Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting (Boston: Beacon, 2001), pp. 86-93 plus footnotes on 178-181. E-reserve and CL.
Russell, John. “Playing with Race/Authenticating Alterity: Authenticity, Mimesis, and Racial Performance in the Transcultural Diaspora.” CR: The New Centennial Review 12 (Spring 2012): 41-92. CL FindMore.
Salkey, Andrew. “Middle Passage Anancy.” Always Elsewhere: Travels of the Black Atlantic, ed. Alasdair Pettinger (London and New York: Cassell, 1998): 29-32. E-reserve.
Solis, Gabriel. “The Black Pacific: Music and Racialization in Papua New Guinea and Australia.” Critical Sociology 41 (2015): 297-312. Find through CL portal.
Smedley, Audrey. “’Race’ and the Construction of Human Identity.” American Anthropologist 100 (1998): 690-702. JSTOR.
Stowe, David W. “`Jazz that eats rice’: Toshiko Akiyoshi’s Roots Music.” AfroAsian Encounters: Culture, History, Politics. Ed. Heike Raphael-Hernandez and Shannon Steen (New York: New York University Press, 2006): 277-294. CL.
Tate, Greg. “Nigs R Us, or How Blackfolk Became Fetish Objects.” Everything But the Burden: What White People Are Taking from Black Culture (2003): 1-14. E-reserve.
Williams, Lyneise. “Black on Both Sides: A Conversation with iona rozeal brown.” Callaloo 29 (2006): 827-833. JSTOR.
Winant, Howard. “Race and Race Theory.” Annual Reviews in Sociology (2000): 169-85. JSTOR.
Wood, Joe. “The Yellow Negro.” Giant Steps, ed. Kevin Young (Perennial, 2000): 309-333. E-reserve.
AfroAsian Encounters: Culture, History, Politics, eds. Heike Raphael-Hernandez and Shannon Steen (2006). CL.
Carrington, Ben and David L. Andrews, Steven J. Jackson and Zbigniew Mazur. “The Global Jordanscape.” Michael Jordan, Inc.: Corporate Sport, Media Culture, and Late Modern America, ed. David L. Andrews (Albany, NY: State University Press of New York, 2001): 180-216. CL.
Deutsch, Nathaniel. “’The Asiatic Black Man’: An African American Orientalism?” Journal of Asian American Studies (2001): 193-208. Cl portal.
Ho, Fred and Bill V. Mullen, eds. Afro Asia: Revolutionary Political and Cultural Connections between African Americans and Asian Americans (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008). CL.
Kapur, Sudarshan. Raising Up a Prophet: The African-American Encounter with Gandhi (Boston: Beacon, 1992). USP Reading Room.
Maeda, Daryl J. “Black Panthers, Red Guards, and Chinamen: Constructing Asian American Identity through Performing Blackness, 1969-1972.” American Quarterly 57 (2005): 1079-1103. JSTOR.
Millado, Chris B. “scenes from an unfinished country” (premiere 1995). The Likhaan Book of Philippine Drama 1991-1996: From page to stage. Ed. Anton Juan (University of Philippines Press, 2000): 179-243. CL.
Mullen, Bill V. Afro Orientalism (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota P, 2004). CL.
Taketani, Etsuko. “The Cartography of the Black Pacific: James Weldon Johnson’s Along This Way.” American Quarterly 59 (2007): 79-106. JSTOR.
Please be advised that along with late submissions, missed classes, and tardy arrivals, any sort of e-disturbance will affect your class participation grade. Please turn off your phone before class begins. Then, leave your phone in your backpack, purse, or whatever for the entirety of the class meeting. Checking messages during class time is e-disturbance that will affect your grade for this module except in cases such as a family crisis or a medical urgency.
This module depends on analytical discussion, feedback from classmates, and in-class exercises. To learn in this way, you need to be in the classroom for the entirety of each class and to participate on IVLE. Helping you prioritize this guideline, I impose a penalty on students who miss two classes, or more, in the term. A documented medical excuse, sports team trip, and the like, is of course sanctioned. The keyword is: documented. Please realize that I take it kindly when students advise me in advance if they know that they will be late or absent.
The penalty for missing two classes without an excuse is three points off one’s class participation grade. Scores drop at this rate for every additional two absences.
Further reminding you of the importance of class time and others’ learning:
- I penalize students whose technologies disrupt the small-class setting that is one of the great boons of USP learning. Any technē can fall under this ruling. But since the usual offender is telephonic, be sure to turn off your phone before class starts.
- I penalize students who come to class late.
- I penalize papers that are submitted after the stated deadline.
Plagiarism and collusion
Collusion is receiving excessive help on an assignment; plagiarism is theft. You may have a good understanding of the difference between help and excessive help. But if in doubt, post on IVLE to get classmates’ feedback and perhaps to help others grasp this concept more confidently. Or you may email me. Tip: USP Writing Centre tutors are the best. Working with them is not collusive; it is beneficial and I strongly encourage it.
Plagiarism is theft in much the way it is theft to take home someone else’s wallet. The difference is, plagiarism covers conceptual matters, too. Thus, most students know that exact wording must not be stolen. Be advised however that ideas can be stolen, too, as can presentational and argumentative structures. The USP is strict about plagiarism and I support policy stringently.* Learn the rules of intellectual property and follow them. If in doubt, post or email after consulting either: Gordon Harvey, Writing with Sources or Diana Hacker, A Writer’s Handbook. Copies of both are available in the USP Reading Room.
Sometimes, plagiarism can be the result of carelessness. To prevent that kind of plagiarism, always explain where you found any information you re-use, whether you quote or paraphrase. The only exception to this rule is if the information is generally familiar: the name, for instance, of a national leader, or the date of an event remarked widely.
* Policy guidelines: http://www.usp.nus.edu.sg/acad_matters/guidelines/acad_code.html
In this module, drafts and papers are handed in via the IVLE workbin. Drafts and papers will be typed and double-spaced; ink will be black. No draft or paper will be flagged by the student’s name at the top. Instead, your paper will be identified by your matric, at the very end.
All uploads should begin with this information, flush left:
USE2209: Historicising the Black Pacific
A/P Barbara Ryan
You will adjust this information as we move from assignment to assignment. Remember, your matric must appear on each draft or paper; however, it will come at the very end. Please make sure that NO identifying information about you appears in a running head.