***This is the third installment of a short series on Afro-Asia in which I examine the cultural and political exchanges and historical connections between people of African and of Asian descent. See part one on the “Deep Roots of Afro-Asia” and part two on Yuichiro Onishi’s Transpacific Antiracism.
This month, I invited Crystal S. Anderson to share a guest post based on her current research. Dr. Anderson is an Associate Professor of English at Elon University. She teaches courses in American literature and American studies and conducts research in comparative ethnic studies (African American, Asian, Asian American), focusing on literature and visual culture. Her other research interests include modernism, speculative fiction, and Asian film. Her work has appeared in Extrapolation, MELUS and Ethnic Studies Review, as well as several book collections. Her first book, Beyond The Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production (University Press of Mississippi, 2013), explores the cultural and political exchanges between African Americans, Asian Americans, and Asians over the last four decades. Her next project will explore Orientalism and African American modernism in the twentieth century.
As a scholar of comparative ethnic studies who focuses on African American, Asian and Asian American cultures, I often face assumptions that these interactions are solely based in the 20th century. While much of my research is contemporary, it is also informed by the knowledge that these interactions stretch far back into history. A look at three images involving the Japanese allows us to frame past Afro-Asian discourse more comprehensively. [Continue Reading…]