Statement on the TAAF Grant Read

Journal of Asian American Studies Letter on Professor Naoko Shibusawa’s Article

Originally sent in December of 2022

Brown University:

We write as Editors-in-Chief of the Journal of Asian American Studies (JAAS). One of the authors in our journal, Professor Naoko Shibusawa of Brown University, received a letter of sanction from you in August 2022. At question was a concern about the content of Professor Shibusawa’s article published in JAAS. We write to provide context for that article.

Shibusawa’s article, “Where is the Reciprocity? Notes on Solidarity from the Field,” was published in a special issue of JAAS in June 2022. The guest editors intended the special issue as a critical reflection of the field forty years after the founding of the Association for Asian American Studies. They asked authors to engage questions about the past, present, and future of the field. The guest editors asked the authors to reflect on questions such as: “What are its preoccupations, its problems, and its possibilities in our present moment, more than fifty years on from our beginnings, in a time fraught with nativism and racial conflict?” and “What ought Asian American studies be doing as we go forward?” They called forth Asian American Studies scholar Lisa Lowe’s formulation of the field, which they argue remains “key to thinking in comparative relational ways about race, power, and interconnected colonialisms.”

Unlike regular submission academic articles to JAAS, the essays in the special issue were deliberately critical self-reflections and not intended as empirical studies. In her article, Shibusawa invokes the famed Black feminist writer, Audre Lorde, and maintains throughout a Lorde-esque and feminist approach to linking the personal with the political. Critical self-reflection as social critique is a method of scholarly inquiry common to many fields, including American Studies, Asian American Studies, Feminist Studies, literary studies, and beyond. Shibusawa’s article falls into this mode of inquiry.

We wish to note the guest editors of the special issue are highly respected scholars in the field. This includes Cathy Schlund-Vials, the former president of the American Studies Association, the former president of the Association for Asian American Studies, and the author or editor of 9 books; and Paul Spickard, distinguished professor and author or editor of 20 books, with wide reaching influence in multiple fields.

We want to make clear that all articles in the special issue, Shibusawa’s included, were double-blind, peer-reviewed, as is the journal’s process. As Editors of the official academic journal representing the Association of Asian American Studies, we believe academic freedom serves as the cornerstone of our publication and field. It is our hope that this letter provides some context to the scholarly mode of inquiry in this special issue.

Sincerely,

Diane C. Fujino
Co-Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Asian American Studies

Lisa Sun-Hee Park
Co-Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Asian American Studies