A Part, Yet Apart

South Asians in Asian America

Edited by Lavina Dhingra Shankar, and Rajini Srikanth
Book Cover

PB: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-578-6
Publication: Jan 98

HC: $81.50
EAN: 978-1-56639-577-9
Publication: Jan 98

Ebook: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0455-8
Publication: Jan 98

320 pages
6 x 9

The first comprehensive study of the peripheral position and invisibility of South Asian perspectives within Asian America


As people from the cultures of the Indian subcontinent increasingly participate in the complex and often heated debates about race and ethnicity in the United States, they confront questions about naming and claiming an identity that designates their group in this country. To be sure, claiming any single identity omits, perhaps threatens to obliterate, the significant political, historical, economic, and religious differences between their countries of origin. However, the term "South Asian" is growing in acceptance among people in this country who trace their heritage to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Maldives because it acknowledges common interests while it allows for difference.

This construction process parallels the gradual acceptance of the term "Asian American" by peoples primarily of East and Southeast Asian ancestry who found abundant reason to claim a shared identity in dealing with officialdom and an apparently intractable racism in this country. In time, "Asian American" has become a designation of collective pride for a wide range of peoples. In academic institutions and society generally, there are vexed questions about the term's inclusiveness and the dominance of established groups over more recent ones.

A Part, Yet Apart: South Asians in Asian America concerns itself with the extent to which South Asian Americans are and ought to be included within Asian America – as that term is applied to academic programs and admission policies; grassroots community organizing and politics more broadly; and critical analyses of cultural products. Taken together these essays form a spirited dialogue on the dilemmas of identity politics, coalition building, and diasporics.


"...provides an excellent introduction to Asian American studies. ... Offering different histories and deploying various analytics, the book entextualizes a community of debate and critique. These productive tensions supplement the richness of the volume's material, making A Part, Yet Apart a significant contribution."
The Journal of Asian Studies

"Given that the dazzling variety of subject positions and intersectionalities constitute a riddle that cannot be solved, this volume drives home the point that since we must continue puzzling, we might as well do it together on all fronts."

Table of Contents

Foreword: South Asian Identity in America – Rajiv Shankar
Introduction: Challenging the Imperatives of South Asian American and Asian American Studies – Lavina Dhingra Shankar and Rajini Srikanth

Part I: Names and Labels
1. With Kaleidoscope Eyes: The (Potential) Dangers of Indentarian Coalitions – Deepika Bahri
2. Risking (Self) Naming: (South) Asian "Partitions" in the American Academy? – Lavina Dhingra Shankar

Part II: The (Dis)Connections of Race
3. Not Asian, White, or Black: Reflections on South Asian American Racial Identity – Nazli Kibria
4. Pahkar Singh's Argument with America: Color and the Structure of Race Formation – Min Song

Part III: Topologies of Activism
5. Crafting Solidarities – Vijay Prashad
6. At the Crossroads: College Activism and Its Impact on Identity Formation – Anu Gupta
7. From Campus to Community Politics: Perspectives in Organizing and Coalition Building in the Asian American Community – Sumantra Tito Sinha
8. The Call of Rice: The Queer South Asian American Community and the Queer Asian-American Community – Sandip Roy
9. Ram Yoshino Uppuluri's Campaign: The Implications for Panethnicity in Asian America – Rajini Srikanth

Part IV: Literary Texts and Diasporics
10. Reading of South Asian American Literature – Ruth Yu Hsiao
11. South Asian Americans and Diaspora – Samir Dayal

In the Series

About the Author(s)

Lavina Dhingra Shankar is Assistant Professor of English at Bates College, Maine.

Rajini Srikanth is Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.


In the Series

  • Asian American History and Culture edited by Cathy Schlund-Vials, Rick Bonus, and Shelley Sang-Hee Lee

    Founded by Sucheng Chan in 1991, the Asian American History and Culture series has sponsored innovative scholarship that has redefined, expanded, and advanced the field of Asian American studies while strengthening its links to related areas of scholarly inquiry and engaged critique. Like the field from which it emerged, the series remains rooted in the social sciences and humanities, encompassing multiple regions, formations, communities, and identities. Extending the vision of founding editor Sucheng Chan and emeriti editor Michael Omi, David Palumbo-Liu, K. Scott Wong and Linda Trinh Võ, series editors Cathy Schlund-Vials, Rick Bonus, and Shelley Sang-Hee Lee continue to develop a foundational collection that embodies a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to Asian American studies.