vol 19 - 1993

Feminists have long appreciated Edward Said's Orientalism which helped us to see how the "East" has been constructed to imagine and enable European penetration and governance of peoples and nations existing under its dominion. Said, of course, argued that the Western gaze feminized the East and the men who fell under it, but he did not take as his task the examination of the impact of this historical and textual construction on women's sense of their own agency. In bringing together in this issue articles that treat gender and women's issues in Iran, Lebanon, Japan, and Asian American communities, the editors hope to avoid collapsing distinctively different histories and societies into the monolithic rubric of "the East" while pushing Said's inquiry further: "Who's East? Whose East?"

The first question underlines the problematic location of a perspective from which to view the subject. The leveling influence and homogenizing effects that commodity capitalism and Westernization offer and the particularizing strategies of accommodation, resistance, and transformation that local cultural actors may develop, must both be placed at the center of any analysis. This shift of perspective immediately suggests that we reconsider connections inside and beyond the geographical area. The Near East, the Middle East, and the Far East were, of course, nineteenthcentury diplomatic terms introduced by powers that located themselves at the center of definition. "Who's East?" calls into question these colonial categories, even while it reinstates the label for a different purpose. We include the United States as part of the "East" because the term can no longer be restricted to a unified notion of geopolitical orientation. Standing in Tokyo, Beijing, or Singapore, for example, California marks the Eastern horizon of the Pacific, the frontier that beckoned and continues to beckon immigrants from Asia to the Americas.

"Whose East?" poses a second and deeply related question. Once the geopolitics of naming have been highlighted, then both the methods of investigation and the politics of representation through which the lives and struggles of the area's women are brought into Western discourse can be better understood. We intend this special issue of Feminist Studies as a contribution to that dual project.



Suad Joseph
Gender and Relationality among Arab Families in Lebanon

Afsaneh Najmabadi
Veiled Discourse—Unveiled Bodies

Janet Bauer
Ma'ssoum's Tale: The Personal and Political Transformations
of a Young Iranian "Feminist" and Her Ethnographer

Malve won Hassell
Issei Women: Silences and Fields of Power

Shirley Geok-lin Lim
Feminist and Ethnic Literary Theories
in Asian American Literature

Marina Heung
Daughter-Text/Mother-Text: Matrilineage in Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club

Sally Ann Hastings
American Culture and Higher Education for Japanese Women (Review Essay)

Betty Kano
Four Northern California Artists: Hisako Hibi, Norine Nishimura, Yong Soon Min, and Miran Ahn (Art Essay)

Beth Houston
Photograph (Poetry)

Janet Kuypers
right there, by your heart; scars (Poetry)

Amy Gibson
Turtles (Poetry)

Rachel E. Harding
Why I Like Nina (Poetry)

Judith McCombs
Poems from a sequence called "The Mother Poems" (Poetry)

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