Vassar College Digital Library
This thesis is about Asian Americans creating and seeking a spaces of belonging, in and between essentialisms of racial, national, ethnic, and cultural borders. Starting from the 1800s, Chinese laborers formed ethnic communities and contested their belonging under the state-sanctioned Chinese Exclusion Acts. State powers as well as transnational forces paved the way for a different racial-urban climate after the 1965 Immigration Acts, which led to the ethnic and class diversification of Asian America and the creation of the "ethnoburb." As the US developed itself into an automobile state that centered White masculinity, Asian American men formed a unique Asian import subculture that augmented this mainstream consumer culture and created a sense of belonging through associations with Japanese transnational forces. From the Los Angeles ethnoburb of the 2000's rose the internationally renowned independent music label Zoom Lens. To demonstrate the necessity of transnational approaches and a focus on subcultural currents in the study of Asian American culture and urbanism, as well as to emphasize the spatially reconfiguring powers of the Internet, I argue that Zoom Lens interpolates between a White supremacist suburban racial landscape, a pan-Asian diasporic identity influenced by Japanese otaku subcultures, and an emergent pattern of metaspatialization of community formation enabled by the Internet.
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