chapter  19
ARATI RAO Bridges Across Continents
ARATI RAO
BySouth Asians in the United States
Pages 16

South Asians in the United States historically have played important roles in constructing the boundaries of outsider and insider, foreigner and citizen, sojourner and resident. Although the term “South Asian” denotes the geographical area south of the northern Himalayan mountain ranges, South Asian identity is a unifying political garb not easily worn by the extraordinarily diverse peoples from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1990). Because this term has emerged only recently in response to political exigencies in American society, it is likely to become more prevalent as South Asian communities become increasingly politicized.