Warren Cohen reviews the role of the United States in East Asia over the past century, making a convincing case for American influence in Asia as generally positive. He illustrates specific ways in which American culture has affected Asians, from forms of government to entertainment, and offers valuable insights into the nature of cultural exchange. Americanization was most successful when Asians freely adopted cultural elements, while efforts to impose values generally failed, notably in the Philippines. And in a fascinating and eye-opening assessment of the "Asianization" of America, Cohen observes that Asian influences in food, film, music, medicine, and religion are now woven deeply--and permanently--into the American fabric. Indeed, Asians are changing American identity itself: by mid-century, approximately one in ten Americans will boast Asian ancestry.
In this lively look at the cultural bonds that continue to shape the relationship between East Asians and Americans, Cohen invites us to ponder the past and envision the future as the "American century" gives way to one with a decidedly more Asian focus.
This is a gem. Warren Cohen has long been the leading historian of the relationship between the United States and East Asia. When such a scholar writes a spirited, delightful, and personalized account of American-Asian relations, it commands special attention. He shows convincingly how the histories of East Asia and the United States have become intertwined since the nineteenth century. The book argues, in essence, that the modern history of the world can never be fully understood unless we recognize this fact.
Perceptive and witty, these provocative reflections consider what some Americans celebrate and some Americans fear and condemn, but what most Americans refuse to acknowledge: the "Asianization" of America. The cultures of the world are dramatically and quickly changing and Cohen offers a historian's long view of an East-West encounter that transcends immigration exclusion, atomic bombs, and economic boycotts: the changes in the everyday lives of everyday East Asians and Americans produced by their cultural contact.
Warren Cohen is a master historian of US-East Asia relations. In these lectures he examines a new topic, the history of cultural relations between the United States and Asia. He traces how Americanization has swept Asia but he reveals that the United States has been more Asianized than one might guess from our "Western heritage."
- 160 pages
- 0-7/16 x 5 x 7-1/2 inches
- Harvard University Press
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