Chinese Indentured Laborers and African Slaves in CubaLisa Yun
Introducing radical counter-visions of race and slavery, The Coolie Speaks focuses on Chinese laborers who worked side by side with African slaves in Cuba. The Chinese wrote of their peculiar yet prescient experiences of new bondage in a slave society that was transitioning from slavery to abolition.. Through an examination of these narratives of resistance, the book reconceptualizes diasporic representations and histories to offer transformative re-examinations of "Chinese," "African," and "Latino" in mutually imbricated contexts. In that historical moment of multi-racial encounter, transculturation, and intense daily conflict, Yun argues, discourses of "freedom" and the contract institution emerged as a globalizing system of enslavement. With a historical introduction and literary readings, this first-time examination of writings by Chinese coolies and of a next generation Afro-Chinese author, raises timely theoretical and methodological questions regarding freedom, race, diaspora, transnationalism, and globalization.
This interdisciplinary work, grounded in literary studies, history, law and philosophy will interest scholars in American studies, Africana studies, Caribbean/Latin American studies, Asian studies, and Asian American studies, among others.
"Beautifully written, The Coolie Speaks offers a moving testament to the responsibility of scholars in the recovery of lives. The book makes significant interventions in the literatures of African slavery and Asian indentured labor, and it stakes and charts new territory across the disciplines of history and literary criticism."
—Gary Y. Okihiro, Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
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.