The Accidental Sociologist in Asian Americal Studies (2011)

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Author: Min Zhou

Paperback - $14.00
ISBN-13: 978-0-934052-47-4

Product Details:
155 pages, 4.75 x 7.75 x 0.5 in

Categories: Asian American; Asian American Studies; Autobiography/Bioggraphy/Memoir; Chinese; Class and Social Status; Ethnic Studies; Immigration and Migration; Korean; Myths and Stereotypes; Sociology




The Accidental Sociologist in Asian American Studies recounts Professor Min Zhou’s journey of critically examining the ever-changing experience of Chinese/Asian Americans. Min Zhou unpacks stereotypes and offers new thinking on contemporary Asian American immigrants (particularly Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean). This is a compelling auto-biographical and scholarly account from the perspective of a Chinese woman who grew up in the turbulent China of the 1960s, her life-changing decision to come to the U.S. (temporarily leaving her family, husband, and 10-month old son behind) and her international success as an Asian American sociologist, Asian Americanist, and renowned professor at UCLA.


Min Zhou candidly discusses the challenges, obstacles, and decisions that can advance or disrupt one’s academic life. Her concerns, her doubts, and her choices are certain to be interesting to many of her scholarly peers as well as younger graduate students who may face comparable situations, no matter what their field of study.


This book is a part of the Asian Pacific Ideas' Professor-in-a-Pocket-Series.


Series Description
The Asian Pacific Ideas Professor-in-a-Pocket Series features the innovative thinking and research of individual faculty of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. The Center's professors represent more than twenty academic disciplines and fields of study and include many of the leading scholars in the fields of history, literature, public policy, political science, sociology, education, anthropology, women s studies, law, health sciences, film, cultural studies, and Asian American Studies. Each volume of the series is written for the general reader and introduces new ideas around the history and current experience of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders today.


I am a sociologist and, more specifically, an urban sociologist by training. My career began in an ethnic enclave-New York's City's Chinatown-during the mid-1980s. I was a graduate student then, working toward my Ph.D. Degree in sociology at the State University of New York at Albany. How and why I chose to study and American Chinatown weren’t all that clear to me in the beginning, even though America was not totally unfamiliar. I grew up in a migrant-sending community in the Pearl Delta region of Southern China; many people of Chinese descent in America around the world would find their ancestral roots there. In my hazy childhood memories of the bedtime stories my grandmother often told, America was gum san, or Gold Mountain, and Chinatown a faraway place-exotic, mysterious, and surreal. Before I left China for the United States, that was all I knew about Chinatown; I had little intellectual interest in it and had no idea that the enclave could even be a suitable subject matter for a doctoral dissertation in sociology.


Table of Contents


Preface: How I Became an Accidental Sociologist


1: Chinatown: The Socioeconomic Potential of an Urban Enclave

  • Why Chinatown?
  • The Enclave Economy Theory
  • The Ethnic Enclave as a Distinct Form of Immigrant Adaptation
    1. Â Chinatown's Encl"ave Economy
    2. Gendered Patterns of Economic Adaptation
    3. Residential Resegregation Versus Assimilation
  • Pitfalls within the Ethnic Enclave
  • Conclusion


2. Beyond Chinatown: Unpacking Ethnicity from a Community Perspective

  • How Ethnicity Matters: A Conceptual Discussion
    1. Culture Versus Structure
    2. Immigrant Neighborhoods Versus Ethnic Enclaves
    3. Institutional Completeness
    4. Formation of Social Capital
  • The Dynamics of the Ethnic Capital: A Comparison between Old Chinatowns and New Chinese Ethnoburbs
    1. Ethnic Capital in Old Chinatowns

    2. Ethnic Capital in New Chinese Ethnoburbs

    3. Non-Economic Effects of Ethnic Entrepreneurship
    • The Social Embeddedness of Ethnic Entrepreneurship
    • Entrepreneurial Development in the Chinese and Korean Immigrant Communities

    • Ethnic Entrepreneurship and Community Building


3. Segmented Assimilation and the New Second Generation

  • Revisiting the Classical Assimilation Perspective
  • The Segmented Assimilation Theory
  • Second-Generation Asian Americans Coming of Age: Opportunities and Constraints
  • Multilevel Social Integration: The Case of Vietnamese Refugee children in New Orleans East
  • Conclusion


4. Interdisciplinary Possibilities: Asian American Studies and the Synergy with Sociology

  • Becoming Asian American: The Significance of Panethnicity
    1. The American Paradox: Inclusion Versus Exclusion

    2. Identity Formation: First-Versus Second-Generation Perspectives

    3. Emergent Ethnicity: Symbolic Versus Instrumental Identities

  • Understanding Asian American Studies: The Development of an Academic Field in Higher Education
    1. Political Activism and the Development of Asian American Studies
    2. Asian American Studies as an Academic Field of Study
    3. The Multidisciplinary of Asian American Studies
  • Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries: Opportunities and Constraints
    1. The Asian American Presence in Chicago School Sociology
    2. Doing the Sociology of Asian America and Negotiating the "Insider" Status
    3. Doing Sociology in Asian American Studies and Negotiating the "Outsider" Status
  • Conclusion


About the Author


Related Center Press Publications:
Amerasia Journal 25:1 "Second Generation Asian Americans' Ethnic Identity”
Amerasia Journal 34:3 "How Do Asian Americans Create Places?"