Ocean Passages: Navigating Pacific Islander and Asian American Literatures (Critical Race, Indigeneity, and Relationality ) (Paperback)
In her pathbreaking book, Ocean Passages, Erin Suzuki explores how movement through—and travel across—the ocean mediates the construction of Asian American and Indigenous Pacific subjectivities in the wake of the colonial conflicts that shaped the modern transpacific. Ocean Passages considers how Indigenous Pacific scholars have emphasized the importance of the ocean to Indigenous activism, art, and theories of globalization and how Asian American studies might engage in a deconstructive interrogation of race in conversation with this Indigenous-centered transnationalism.
The ocean passages that Suzuki addresses include the U.S. occupation and militarization of ocean space; refugee passage and the history and experiences of peoples displaced from the Pacific Islands; migratory circuits and the labors required to cross the sea; and the different ways that oceans inform postcolonial and settler colonial nationalisms. She juxtaposes work by Indigenous Pacific and Asian American artists and authors including James George, Maxine Hong Kingston, Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, lê thi diếm thúy, Ruth Ozeki, and Craig Santos Perez. In Ocean Passages, Suzuki explores what new ideas, alliances, and flashpoints might arise when comparing and contrasting Asian and Pacific Islander passages across a shared sea.
Erin Suzuki is an Assistant Professor of Literature at the University of California, San Diego.
benefit a large readership across many fields of study."—American Literary History
"Ocean Passages is a timely book that will be of interest to scholars and students of Indigeneity, race, and diaspora across the fields of ethnic, Native, Asian American, and Pacific studies. It is, in particular, essential reading for Asian Americanists. In addition to Suzuki's superb literary analyses, her book asks pointed questions about a field's relationship—or perhaps its obligations—to Oceanic peoples and places. This reckoning has been a long time coming (calls for the disaggregation of the AAPI acronym are now decades old and still unresolved)." —Native American and Indigenous Studies
“Ocean Passages examines how movement within, through, and across the Pacific Ocean mediates the subjectivities of Asian American and Indigenous Pacific communities in the wake of colonial conflicts that have shaped the region. Through a sustained analysis of how various narratives of ‘ocean passages’ disrupt and revise hegemonic constructions of the Pacific, Suzuki demonstrates what new orientations, concepts, and openings can emerge by bringing Asian and Pacific Islander passages across the same sea into a critical analytic of relation…. Ocean Passages demonstrates how transpacific studies can evolve and continue to be a generative framing for counterhegemonic, decolonial research across disciplines.” —Lateral
"Through her skillful handling of these passages, Suzuki provides routes that gives due value to both Indigenous Pacific and Asian diasporic perspectives. She does not seek to resolve their disjuncture but to revitalize their engagement. Her rigorous and grounded navigation of these literatures is an important exercise in expanding the critical purchase of the field and 'transpacific,' ensuring its contemporary relevance.... Ocean Passages is an important offering at the intersection of Asian American, Pacific Islander, Indigenous, diasporic, and transpacific studies."—The Journal of Asian Studies
"Suzuki underscores the importance of engaging Native studies and Indigenous peoples—not as neglected areas and objects of study but as subjects of knowledge and invaluable kin.... Each chapter likewise is a remarkable weave of information and interpretation....
Ocean Passages deftly engages a complex issue: how to treat the Pacific, and passage more generally, as a distinct phenomenon but not an empirical positivity.... Reading across Asian American and Pacific Islander literatures is vital for this project. Suzuki shows us how to distill sustenance from their richness, making Ocean Passages a necessary wayfinder to Pacific futures."—The Journal of American Folklore
"Ocean Passages break[s] new ground in the fields of Indigenous and Asian American studies. Moreover, by highlighting ways in which these fields are fundamentally connected...Suzuki make[s] a compelling case for the intellectual and ethical necessity of a comparative approach that takes stock of the various forms of expression, resistance, and cross-racial solidarity born from shared experiences of physical and discursive violence.... Suzuki reframe[s] our analysis of these conjoined histories to yield generative models for how we might pursue a decolonial future."—MELUS