Asian and Pacific Inscriptions: Identities, ethnicities, nationalities
Meridian, $30.00 pb, 254 pp
Once the scourge of the conservatives, some practitioners of cultural studies are starting to make the stuffed shirts of English Departments look like mad-eyed anarchists.
Asian and Pacific Inscriptions, a special book issue of Meridian edited by the La Trobe University academic Suvendrini Perera, is a collection of theoretical considerations of cultural constructions of ethnic, national, and sexual identities in the Asia-Pacific region, with a particular focus on the insidiously colonising Australian cultural strategy of rapprochement with Asia. These are voices ‘situated’ on the margins (plural), probing, undermining, deconstructing the centre (single, more-or-less), tracking the way colonialism has traversed the geographies of ‘subjectivity, collectivity and place’. Yet to this reader, at least, the book reads like the collective work of an Otherhood of Right Thinkers, all speaking the same language, all waving approved ideological banners, all determined to be on the side of the angels.