chapter  13
15 Pages

South Asian Migration to the United States

Diasporic and national formations
WithSandhya Shukla

Migration to the United States from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other smaller countries in the subcontinent has increased exponentially since the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act. Over the last decade especially, South Asians have become more and more visible, in cultural spheres, in political representation, in economic activity and, more generally, too, in broader national debates about race, ethnicity and difference. They have been part of a significant rewriting of America's story about itself as a land of immigrants. Because of the historical conjuncture of the explosion of South Asian populations and the multiple histories embedded in the experience of South Asianness in the world, South Asian migration has also brought issues of globality and diaspora to discussions of America's identity. South Asian diaspora has of course had a similar impact on other countries, whether Britain or Canada or Trinidad. But the absence of a colonial connection between South Asians and the USA, alongside the pervasiveness of the discourse of US multiculturalism, makes this case particularly interesting for reconceptualizing the shape and form of the nation, and for rethinking America more generally.