Abstract

Using a postcolonial lens, this paper critiques scholarly discourse on the experiences of South Asian Americans (SAAs) in the United States as being too othering and too homogenized. In most of that discourse, SAAs are treated as objects who may only be reactive to dominant society and culture; their racialized experiences are also muted. Treating SAAs as subjects, this paper presents a way to enrich their experiences, paying particular attention to how those experiences have been racialized. Drawing upon, but also critiquing cultural historical activity theory, the paper presents an alternative way to think about and empirically examine learning.

Keywords

Postcolonial Theory, South Asian Americans, Cultural Historical Activity Theory, Race, Learning

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Jun 11th, 2:45 PM

From Objects to Subjects: Voices, Perspectives, Histories, and Learning in the South Asian American Experience

Using a postcolonial lens, this paper critiques scholarly discourse on the experiences of South Asian Americans (SAAs) in the United States as being too othering and too homogenized. In most of that discourse, SAAs are treated as objects who may only be reactive to dominant society and culture; their racialized experiences are also muted. Treating SAAs as subjects, this paper presents a way to enrich their experiences, paying particular attention to how those experiences have been racialized. Drawing upon, but also critiquing cultural historical activity theory, the paper presents an alternative way to think about and empirically examine learning.