Unsettled Solidarities

Asian and Indigenous Cross-Representations in the Américas

Quynh Nhu Le
Association for Asian American Studies' Humanities and Cultural Studies: Literary Studies Book Award, 2021
Book Cover

PB: $39.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1627-8
Publication: Jun 19

HC: $99.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1626-1
Publication: Jun 19

Ebook: $39.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1628-5
Publication: Jun 19

250 pages
6 x 9

Illuminates the intersecting logics of settler colonialism and racialization through analysis of contemporary Asian and Indigenous crossings in the Américas

Read an excerpt from the Introduction( pdf).


Unsettled Solidarities examines contemporary Asian and Indigenous cross-representations within different settler states in the Américas. Quynh Nhu Le looks at literary works by both groups alongside public apologies, interviews, and hemispheric race theories to trace cross-community tensions and possibilities for solidarities amidst the uneven imposition of racialization and settler colonization.

Contrasting texts such as Maxine Hong Kingston’s China Men with Gerald Vizenor’s Hiroshima Bugi, and Karen Tei Yamashita’s Through the Arc of the Rain Forest with Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead, among others, Le reveals how settler colonialism persists through the liberal ideological structuring or incorporation of critical and political resistance. She illuminates the tense collisions of Asian and Indigenous movements from the heroic/warrior traditions, reparations and redress, and transnational/cross-racial mobilization against global capital to mixed-race narratives.

Reading these tensions as formed through the unstable grammatical and emotional economies of liberalism, Le frames settler colonialism as a process that is invoked and yet ruptured by Asian and Indigenous peoples. In analyzing Asian/Indigenous crossings in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil, Unsettled Solidarities conveys the logics and instabilities that connect these settler empires.


Le undertakes a challenging but essential project. Her careful examination of Asian and Indigenous encounters in literary representations by an impressive range of writers from the Américas evinces the critical and imaginative contributions of fiction in particular toward shared antiracist and decolonial struggle. Unsettled Solidarities offers not only extensive reflection on how Asian American and Indigenous practices might serve to reproduce liberal structures of power but also glimpses of the ruptures and openings where solidarities become possible.”—Crystal Parikh, Professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and the Department of English and Director of the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University

Examining various representations of Asian, Indigenous, and mixed-race communities in the recent literatures of the Américas, Unsettled Solidarities analyzes topics from redress and reconciliation movements in Canada to mestizaje/mestiçagem discourses in Mexico and Brazil. Clearly, Le is at the forefront of efforts to theorize and rethink the disciplinary, geographical, and temporal ways we have come to understand Asians and Indigenous peoples in the Américas and globally.”—Keith L. Camacho, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles

“Unsettled Solidarities is a bold and sophisticated work that deftly shifts our understandings of settler colonialism and empire by offering a new theory of how ‘settler racial hegemonies’ and liberal logics unevenly incorporate Asian and Indigenous communities across the Américas. Le’s dazzling readings of vexed cross-representations in contemporary Asian American and Indigenous literatures provide an urgently needed analysis of not only the settler state’s instabilities but also the limitations and possibilities for political solidarity between Asian American and Indigenous communities. This book makes a singular contribution to both critical ethnic studies and Indigenous studies.”—Jodi Kim, Associate Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside

"Unsettled Solidarities presents an alternative reading of the lived experience of Asian and Indigenous peoples in the Americas....Le pioneers the effort in bringing these two different yet interlaced experiences together.... Unsettled Solidarities provides an intense reading of works of different time, place and genre, some of which are not necessarily always at the center of Asian American or Indigenous studies. More valuably, this comparative approach of exploring the relationality of Asian and Indigenous peoples bridges the gap between the two disciplines, pointing us toward an alternative that effectively and affectively brings their experiences together in terms of their position in the constitution, circulation, and reproduction of settler racial colonialism in the contemporary context."
— Journal of Asian American Studies

Table of Contents

Note on Terminology

Introduction: Settler Racial Hegemonies: The Tense Crossings of Settlement, Empire, and Race
1. Historiographical Tensions: U.S. Asian American and Indigenous Crossings from Manifest Destiny to the Pacific Theater
2. Legal/Juridical Tensions: The Affective Temporalities of Canadian Redress and Reconciliation
3. Economic Tensions: Global Capital and Mestizaje/Mestiçagem Discourse in Latin América
4. Biopolitical Tensions: The Work of Shame and Anxiety in Native-Asian Mixed-Blood Narratives


About the Author(s)

Quynh Nhu Le is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of South Florida.


In the Series

  • Critical Race, Indigeneity, and Relationality edited by Antonio T. Tiongson, Jr., Danika Medak-Saltzman, and Iyko Day

    Edited by Antonio T. Tiongson Jr., Danika Medak-Saltzman, and Iyko Day, Critical Race, Indigeneity, and Relationality showcases comparative studies of race, ethnicity, and Indigeneity in projects that take a self-reflexive approach in their deployment of relational frameworks and analytics. The series spotlights projects that theorize the imbrication of settler colonial logics with other structuring logics such as franchise colonialism, racial chattel slavery, neoliberal capitalism, ableism, Islamophobia, heteropatriarchy, and the carceral and surveillance state. The series does so in order to complicate the canon of comparative race scholarship and nuance normative iterations of women of color feminism and queer of color critique. For these reasons, the series seeks projects that are grounded in, and build on, the theoretical insights and methodologies of women of color feminism and queer of color critique as they engage with Native theorizing, Indigeneity, and settler colonial paradigms. Critical Race, Indigeneity, and Relationality steers away from the familiar means of evoking and excavating patterns of similarities and differences to publish works that provide an alternative interpretive grid for comparative work—one that is acutely attuned to historical conjunctures, structural disjunctures, and power asymmetries.

    Proposals may be submitted to Acquisitions Editor, Temple University Press Shaun Vigil