On Himani Bannerji’s “On the Dark Side of the Nation: Politics of Multiculturalism and the State of ‘Canada.'”

In order to adequately do justice to the complexity of Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s “Skim,” I’ve been researching melancholia and race, and have been doing a lot of reading in the field of Asian American Studies. I’m pretty new to that field, and am learning the edges and limits of it as I go. Also, my research has led to some pretty moderate frustration at the difficulty I’ve experienced in finding material that attends to the specific history and ideologies of the Canadian context through the lens of AAS. I’m sure the material exists, I’ve just been having trouble finding it (and, hey, while we’re here, if you have any reading suggests I’d love to hear them!). Anyway, this is my progress so far: a friend recommended that I check out Lily Cho’s work, and also I remembered that I own this book, which has a whole section on “race, difference, and multiculturalism.”
Himani Bannerji’s work is compelling, accessible, and hardline. Bannerji suggests that the official policy of multiculturalism taken up in Canadian politics and ideologies operates as a mask that papers over that difference is unevenly distributed along the lines of race such that it is comeasurate in effect to the colonial histories on which Canada as a nation and state is founded. For Bannerji, difference is so stark that it takes the shape of an “unofficial apartheid” that separates out Anglo and Francophone Canada from visible minorities, with ‘visible minorities’ marked off for ‘special’ (read: poor) treatment on an official level. The solution put forth by the article is to work within the structure of multiculturalism (to abandon it as a structuring tool would be to favour the far right), but to resist state sanctioned interpellation, or to resist being known in the way the state seeks to know you.

On Himani Bannerji’s “On the Dark Side of the Nation: Politics of Multiculturalism and the State of ‘Canada.'”

Notes on David Eng’s “Queerness and Diaspora in Asian American Studies”

Keywords:
*Home: diaspora means being between loss and nostalgia, also bound up in the semi-geographical “Asian America” (31). Extending the problem of home to queer theory (example: queers often ex-communicated from physical homes, but also being queer = being in a kind of social diaspora? (32)). Both maintain “doubtful… entitlements to both home and nation-state.” “In its alignment with the nation-state, home becomes the site of validation– the privileged location for the benefits of citizenship” (32).
*Asian American Studies: Eng reasserts importance of remembering the history of Asian American Studies/movement in relationship to the Civil Rights movement, as a political movement bound up specifically in a claim to national belonging. Claims to domestic or private spaces bound up with claims to public spaces- home in a dual sense. The same claims hinged the purchase of said access on a rejection of stereotypes of Asian men as either “sissy” or gay, a formulation that needs now to be queered (35).
*Queerness: predominantly a methodology for Eng, though it comes into focus as concomitant, rather than oppositional, only when considered through a framework of globalisation, and in light of the restructuring of global capital that began in the 1980s.

The application to my thesis is this: I think I can begin a section on queerness and biopolitics in my primary text by framing citizenship and access for Asian American minorities as having always been bound up in questions of access to space, and access to space as filtered through heteronorms.

Notes on David Eng’s “Queerness and Diaspora in Asian American Studies”