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Imperial Citizens: Koreans and Race from Seoul to LA [Paperback]

Nadia Y. Kim
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 11, 2008 0804758875 978-0804758871
Asians and Latinos comprise the vast majority of contemporary immigrants to the United States, and their growing presence has complicated America's prevailing White-Black race hierarchy. Imperial Citizens uses a global framework to investigate how Asians from U.S.-dominated homelands learn and understand their place along U.S. color lines. With interviews and ethnographic observations of Koreans, the book does what others rarely do: venture to the immigrants' home country and analyze racism there in relation to racial hierarchies in the United States.

Attentive to history, the book considers the origins, nature, and extent of racial ideas about Koreans/Asians in relation to White and Black Americans, investigating how immigrants engage these ideas before they depart for the United States, as well as after they arrive. The author shows that contemporary globalization involves not just the flow of capital, but also culture. Ideas about American color lines and citizenship lines have crossed oceans alongside U.S. commodities.

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Editorial Reviews


"In the process of analyzing Korean and American racial ideologies, Kim uses a well-developed theoretical framework. . . . Kim's research and analysis offers a fresh perspective within the field and provide a strong reminder of the power that keeps 'racial concepts' firmly tied to the structures of superiority justification."—Jeong Duk, Asian Anthropology

"I cannot overstate the many contributions of this book and its elegant treatment of nuanced arguments at the cutting edge of debates in the study of race, immigration, and globalization . . . In sum, Imperial Citizens is a sophisticated yet accessible book and would be excellent material for undergraduate and graduate courses in studies of immigration, race and ethnicity, and globalization. It is fluidly written, meticulously researched, and convincingly argued."—Miliann Kang, Journal of International Migration and Integration

"Nadia Kim writes cogently and compellingly about Korean and Korean American attitudes, beliefs, and concerns about race, gender, and much more. In providing a transnational and historical perspective, Imperial Citizens is a model of enlightened and engaged scholarship." —John Lie, University of California, Berkeley

"In a compelling analysis of the varied ways that racial categories and racial meanings are formed in both South Korea and the United States, Nadia Kim expands ourunderstanding of how race 'travels.' She demonstrates the global, hegemonic reach of U.S. racial ideology and captures the ways Korean American immigrants position themselves in distinctive racial contexts. Attentive to class, gender, and generational differences, Kim shows us how Korean Americans come to learn, and to resist, dominant patterns of racialization." —Michael Omi, University of California, Berkeley

"A masterful demonstration of the globalization of white racism! Nadia Kim's interviews with Korean immigrants and their children reveal integral links between U.S. global hegemony and immigration. This book depicts the human tragedy of Korean American hyper-conformity in a nation that perpetuates white supremacy: preference for white beauty leading to plastic surgery; women preferring white men who exoticize or abuse them; and Korean internalization of white-racist attitudes toward Americans of color." —Joe R. Feagin, Texas A&M University

About the Author

Nadia Y. Kim is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Loyola Marymount University.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press (June 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804758875
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804758871
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #805,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart, Eye-Opening! March 31, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love this book--as someone who studies race/ethnicity, immigration, and global dynamics, it's the kind of book I've always been looking for but could never find. The author shows how immigrant groups in the US aren't simply stereotyped or treated in certain ways because of what happens within, but because of what has happened between the US and the immigrants' sending countries. The book also shows that immigrants don't come as blank slates about race relations in this country but, precisely because of US power abroad, they learn much about it through the US military, global media, and ties with those across borders. I also really enjoyed the 2nd half of the book, which focuses on how these global, transnational dynamics I mention shape immigrants' views and behaviors about their own group and others in US society! I highly recommend!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life-changing! Beautifully written! September 24, 2013
By Yun
I am an Asia/Asian American Studies major and, I have to say, I have never read a book like this before. I have always wanted to understand more about Korea and other Asian sending countries and especially how it connects to the Asian American experience here in the US, but most works that we read in class deal only with the Asian country or within the boundaries of the US. This book connects both through a historical, transnational, and a racial triangulation analysis. It allows us to grasp why my and my friends' families talk about race and culture so differently and why stereotypes of Asians are imposed on Asian Americans. This book even talks about pop culture, even Asian hip hop! It shows how race and racism are communicated and understood across the countries, and how not. This book changed my life and my perspective on my and other APAs' experiences. I think that the negative review is really biased. Sounds like he or she has an agenda -- how can anyone discount an entire research study without providing any of their own DATA?

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Innaccurate and misleading April 27, 2013
I was forced to read this as part of a university course, and nearly left the class in protest. My reasonably detailed knowledge of modern Korean history, and experience having lived with and around Koreans both in their home country and in the US, raised red flags about factual errors every few pages, some of this from merely giving the the extreme version of one side of some events but in other cases being provably wrong. The most egregious example of this is a claim made again and again, upon which many of the other arguments and claims rest, that the South Korean Government is, and has always been, just a puppet regime of the US Government. This is just simply wrong, inaccurate to the former dictatorships and preposterous in regards to their current democracy. This could only be used to describe the conditions of the first few years after liberation from the Japanese.

The entire book relies on stereotypes, about both Korea and the US, and others on the ignorance of the audience. From a casual speaker I would not look too unfavorably on the instances, but since this book is trying to be authoritative on the subject we should hold them to a higher standard. That is why I conclude that this book is intentionally misleading and serving an agenda.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Europe and Africa Meet Asia at Western and Wilshire November 11, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am not a Korean and could have written a better story..... this is a very fascinating area of USA and should be written about, since the old L.A. culture , black culture , hispanic culture and chinese culture and Japanese culture , well , they all come together here in a nice way , but they clash and compete and is well worth reading about, should someone figure out how to do it.
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