Gregg A. Brazinsky: Sino-American Competition Past and Present

Trump’s campaign rhetoric and willingness to aggravate the thorny Taiwan issue have raised hackles in Beijing. Part of the reason for this is that China’s view of itself and its role in the international community differs starkly from Washington’s.

Anne M. Blankenship: Pilgrimage to the WWII Japanese American Incarceration Centers: Championing Civil Rights for All

One of the greatest challenges to pilgrimage today is the dwindling number of former incarcerees. In Memory, History, Forgetting (2004), Paul Ricoeur emphasized the need to preserve one’s heritage, while remaining separate from victimization. He said that descendants should not take on the “moral priority” of past victims.

Lon Kurashige: When Buddhism Was an Enemy Religion

A few months after the Pearl Harbor attack, the FBI took my grandfather away from his wife and seven children and confined him and hundreds of other Buddhist priests apart from their families and congregations. Their main “crime” was to be leaders of an enemy religion. There was no evidence produced to implicate my grandfather or any Buddhist priest of wrongdoing.

Anne M. Blankenship: E Pluribus Unum?

Headlines of racial violence and the unabashed racism within Donald Trump’s campaign for the U.S. presidency do not allow Americans to escape the fact that our nation’s value of pluralism lies on shaky ground. The U.S. Constitution, of course, did not originally allow for the full rights of women or people of African, Asian, or Native American descent, but the notion of America as a land of opportunity for all persists.

Lon Kurashige: What Would Teddy Roosevelt Do?

It is important to recall Roosevelt’s positions on immigration because of the similarities between his day and our own. Immigration fears are a regular feature in today’s headlines as the United States (not mention the U.K. and European countries) wrestles with how much and in what ways to close its borders to newcomers. The same was true when Roosevelt became president.

Excerpt: The Lives of Chang and Eng, by Joseph Andrew Orser

The Siamese twins had long been used ironically as symbols of American nationalism. The earliest pamphlet about the twins published in the United States in the early 1830s featured a title page image of a flying eagle carrying a banner that read “E Pluribus Unum,” and beneath that was the phrase, “United We Stand.” This appeared opposite a frontispiece that pictured the twins as dark-skinned boys wearing queues and loose Oriental garments. The 1836 pamphlet published under the twins’ direction similarly featured a bald eagle clutching the national shield, beneath which were the words “Union and Liberty, one and inseparable, now and forever.” Analyzing the Siamese twins and American identity, scholar Allison Pingree argued that these exhibition booklets, which juxtaposed the parlance of the day describing conjoinedness—“united brothers” or “united twins”—with the symbolism of the American eagle holding an “E Pluribus Unum” banner in its beak, were playing to political concerns of the period. Even as nationalists appropriated the bond to symbolize union, proponents of states’ rights could claim that “connecting the states too closely was ‘monstrous’ and excessive.”

Video: Sulmaan Wasif Khan on China, Tibet, and the Complications of “One Country, Two Systems”

In the following video, Khan talks about China’s takeover of Tibet, the complications of the “one country, two systems” policy of governing, and the importance of the role of non-state actors in shaping the trajectory of empire.

Xiaoming Zhang: Deng Xiaoping and China’s Invasion of Vietnam

Deng Xiaoping’s paramount political status and strength of personality played a major role in shaping China’s foreign policy during the last decade of the Cold War, opposing Soviet hegemony while allying with the United States and other Western countries in order to gain their support for China’s economic reform.

Video: “Colors of Confinement” book trailer and event

Slideshow and interview with Eric L. Muller, editor of Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II.

Interview: Eric L. Muller on new images of Japanese American internment in World War II

Cameras remained contraband at the camps located within the military district called the Western Defense Command. But Wyoming was outside that zone, and by the spring of 1943, cameras were permitted. The WRA recognized that allowing internees to take pictures was a way of helping them reclaim some sense of a normal life and some of their dignity.

Free Book Friday: Colors of Confinement

For this month’s Free Book Friday, we’re giving away a copy of Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II, which features very rare color photographs of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, a Japanese American internment camp during World War II.

Excerpt: Transpacific Field of Dreams, by Sayuri Guthrie-Shimizu

The current scholarly consensus holds that no single individual created baseball; rather, it evolved incrementally from various forms of bat-and-ball folk games, including British rounders. This cultural form of transatlantic hybrid pedigree grew into a modern team sport in Philadelphia, Boston, and New York in the early nineteenth century, with each of these burgeoning northeastern American cities developing its distinctive formats of the game.

Michael H. Hunt: Panetta on tour in an Asia without history

Panetta’s formal comments and casual remarks reveal little interest in this rich past, no insights that would be instructive, and some generalizations that are distinctly misleading if not wrongheaded.

Excerpt: Dixie Dharma, by Jeff Wilson

Pluralistic attitudes toward Buddhism can be found in many parts of the United States, but it is no accident that this unusually institutionalized example of Buddhist pluralism emerged in the South, where practitioners are relatively isolated from the American Buddhist strongholds in the North and West and must work together in order to maintain a presence on the landscape.

Excerpt: Chinese Mexicans, by Julia María Schiavone Camacho

The complex ties Mexicans and Chinese formed in northern Mexico during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the integration of Chinese men into local communities led to racial and cultural fusion and over time to the formation of a new cultural identity—Chinese Mexican. Racially and culturally hybrid families straddled the boundaries of identity and nation. They made alternating claims on Chineseness and Mexicanness during their quest to belong somewhere, especially as social and political uproar erupted in Mexico, the United States, and China.

Steven I. Levine & Michael H. Hunt: Civilian Casualties: Tactical Regrets and Strategic Hypocrisy

The reality is that the large-scale targeted killing of civilians has been an integral part of America’s military strategy for well over a century.

Michael H. Hunt & Steven I. Levine: Power Pivot or Duffer’s Divot?: Obama’s Asia Policy

American leaders still crave international leadership. But the time for sweet dreams of a U.S. era in Asia is over.

Interview: Michael H. Hunt and Steven I. Levine on America’s quest for empire

Most Americans have been inoculated against the notion that our country can behave like an empire. Therefore, some readers may well find the focus on empire unsettling. After all, we are regularly reminded by our politicians, clergy, teachers, and the media that the U.S. is an exceptional country. We don’t do empire. That’s for the bad guys. We like to believe that whatever America does internationally is for the common good of humanity. As authors, all we ask is that readers consider our general definition of empire on its historical merits and give our treatment of the U.S. case a fair hearing.

Excerpt: Arc of Empire, by Michael H. Hunt and Steven I. Levine

The history of American empire building and warfare in one region speaks to the current imbroglio across the Middle East and Central Asia in a striking variety of ways. U.S. policymakers have ignored or have deliberately forgotten the lessons from the conflicts in eastern Asia.

Michael H. Hunt: Afghanistan and an unkind God

Turning our backs on the grim prospects for Afghanistan is part of a long tradition. We drew a veil over the struggle against insurgents in the Philippines. A combination of amnesia and speculative might-have-beens disposed of the Korean stalemate and the Vietnam defeat, and it seems likely the Iraq invasion and occupation will suffer the same fate.