Orginal Publication Date
Ethnic Studies Review
Conventionally, citizenship is understood as a legal category of membership in a national polity that ensures equal rights among its citizens. This conventional understanding, however, begs disruption when the histories and experiences of marginalized groups are brought to the fore. Equal citizenship in all its forms for marginalized populations has yet to be realized. For Asian Americans, rights presumably accorded to the legal status of citizenship have proven tenuous across different historical and political moments. Throughout U.S. history, "Asian American" or "Oriental" men and women have been designated aliens against whom white male and female citizenships have been legitimized. These categories of inclusion and exclusion-"citizen" and "alien"-are mutually constitutive; members are legitimate only when defined against the exclusion of "others." Citizenship must be conceptualized as a broader set of social and cultural memberships and exclusions beyond political rights and legal status. This article examines how scholarly works engage citizenship formations of "Asian American" women and men. It also asks: Are there modes of citizenship, other than legal status and rights, to explain the experiences and histories of Asian American men and women, as well as provide anti-racist, feminist sites of resistance in the struggle for equality?
Copyright ©ESR, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 2011