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Desi DivasPolitical Activism in South Asian American Cultural Performances$
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Christine L. Garlough

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781617037320

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617037320.001.0001

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Performing South Asian American Histories

Performing South Asian American Histories

(p.43) Chapter Two Performing South Asian American Histories
Desi Divas

Christine L. Garlough

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter explores the central dilemmas facing South Asian American community members. It describes two events where evocations of flags and founding fathers have been used in the name of minority exclusion. The first of these was by Delegate C.O. Young, Representative of the American Federation of Labor, in February of 1908. The second evocation was by Representative Bill Sali, Republican congressman from Idaho, in July of 2007. Both events took place at a time when South Asian Americans found themselves characterized as perpetual strangers at the door of American democracy. This chapter draws from archival research at locations like the University of Berkeley’s South Asian Library, the British Library, and from the fieldwork of progressive activist groups like South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) with the purpose of revealing a range of performances that were directed at and produced by South Asian Americans to address their concerns related to citizenship, social justice, and human rights issues.

Keywords:   South Asian American community, minority exclusion, Delegate C.O. Young, Bill Sali, American democracy, British Library, SAALT, citizenship, social justice, human rights issues

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