Asian American Sporting Cultures

304 pages

April, 2016

ISBN: 9781479884698



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Stanley I. Thangaraj is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at City College of New York.

All books by Stanley I. Thangaraj

Constancio R. Arnaldo Jr. is Visiting Assistant Professor of Asian/Asian American Studies at Miami University, Ohio. 

All books by Constancio Arnaldo

Christina B. Chin is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the California State University, Fullerton.

All books by Christina B. Chin

J. Jack Halberstam is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Halberstam is the author of In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives, Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters, Female Masculinity and co-author with Del LaGrace Volcano of The Drag King Book.

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Lisa Lowe is Professor of English and American Studies at Tufts University, and a member of the consortium of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora. She is the author of Critical Terrains: French and British Orientalisms, Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics, and The Intimacies of Four Continents

All books by Lisa Lowe

Asian American Sporting Cultures delves into the American sports arena to explore the long history of Asian American sporting cultures and considers how identities and communities are negotiated on sporting fields.
Through a close examination of Asian American sporting cultures ranging from boxing and basketball to spelling bees and wrestling, the contributors reveal the intimate connection between sport and identity formation. Sport plays a special role in the processes of citizen-making and of the policing of national and diasporic bodies. It is thus one key area in which Asian American stereotypes may be challenged, negotiated, and destroyed as athletic performances create multiple opportunities for claiming American identities.
This volume incorporates work on Pacific Islander, South Asian, and Southeast Asian Americans as well as East Asian Americans, and explores how sports are gendered, including examinations of Asian American men’s attempts to claim masculinity through sporting cultures as well as the “Orientalism” evident in discussions of mixed martial arts as practiced by Asian American female fighters. This American story illuminates how marginalized communities perform their American-ness through co-ethnic and co-racial sporting spaces.


  • "A wonderful read for and about sports’s observers, participants, scholars, and fans. With a wide variety of approaches ranging from media analysis to autoethnography, this collection of smart and accessible essays provides a great model for thinking about sports—and through sports about ethnicity, race, and gender in specific local, transnational, and historical contexts."

    —Erica Rand, author of Red Nails, Black Skates: Gender, Cash, and Pleasure On and Off the Ice

  • "Sports is one of the most important arenas of socialization and popular culture, and Asian Americans have often been seen as having a disjunctive or non-existent relationship to it. This sui generis collection shows in unexpected and startling ways how a long but under-examined history of Asian American sporting culture—from participation and competition to spectatorship and fandom—fundamentally reshapes allegories of national belonging and race at the heart of athletics."

    —David L. Eng, University of Pennsylvania