Vol. 6, No. 1 (2010): 47–75.
The onset of global capitalism’s crisis has exposed the fragile theoretical underpinnings of Asian American Studies as an academic discipline. Spellbound by deconstructive, rhetorical assumptions, all symptomatic of commodityfetishism and alienation, mainstream Asian American critics continue to validate neoliberal pluralism while claiming to value difference and singularity. While rejecting American Exceptionalism, they ignore historical specificities and endorse individualist norms, affects, genealogical plurality, and performative discourses uncritical of free-market reification. What is needed is a return to a mode of critical inventory that takes account of historical capitalism, imperialist geopolitics, and the notion of collective agency necessary to destroy racialised ideological practices and institutions that maintain the exploitative capitalist division of labor, social injustice, and inequality of peoples based on private appropriation of social wealth.
E. San Juan, Jr. is emeritus professor of English, Comparative Literature, and Ethnic Studies at various universities in the U.S. He was recently a fellow of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University, and Fulbright professor of American Studies at Leuven University, Belgium. Currently he directs the Philippines Cultural Studies Center at Storrs, Connecticut, USA. His recent books are US Imperialism and Revolution in the Philippines (Palgrave), Toward Filipino Self-Determination (SUNY Press), From Globalization to National Liberation (University of the Philippines Press), and Critique and Social Transformation (The Edwin Mellen Press). He is completing a book on the Abu Sayyaf Phenomenon and the Global War of Terror.