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GenerAsians Learn Chinese: The Asian American Youth Generation and New Class Formations

Authors
Disciplines
  • Political Science

Abstract

Why is Jin telling us that we should learn Chinese? Is there an Asian American youth culture? How does immigration and relative generation define it? This essay addresses Americans of Asian descent1 who are roughly 18 to 25 years old: I focus on the mass-mediated popular cultures that they consume and create. My central question is how young Americans of Asian descent are in some ways moving away from the ‘Asian American’ cultural and political project created in the 1960s-70s that has driven Asian American Studies to date. This youth generation is no more homogeneous than any other, and my purpose here is to think about its identifications because I believe minoritarian politics are still essential to American democratic potential. Further, the relationship between immigration, transnational movement, and class-defined democracy is the challenge of this historical moment. My interest in two contrasting Asian American youth cultures is thus embedded in these broader questions, and for me have a certain urgency. I argue that this youth generation responds to the conditions of their moment in ways that

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