Readings From Uncle Swami
Nearly 10 years ago Vijay Prashad’s groundbreaking work The Karma of Brown Folk served as an inspired response to W.E.B Dubois’s classic The Souls of Black Folk. If DuBois examined how American racial politics named black Americans as the “problem,” Prashad examines how they also rendered South Asians as the “solution”—an alternate brown model minority.
Vijay Prashad’s latest, Uncle Swami, continues the critique of the model minority myth by challenging the master narrative of South Asian American identity formation. Prashad confronts post 9/11 Islamophobia and charts the burgeoning world of South Asian American political identity, from the birth of political activism among second-generation immigrants to the meteoric rise of South Asian American politicians. By illuminating these dynamic communities whose identities are all too often lumped together, Uncle Swami celebrates the possibilities for South Asian American resistance, as well as the potential for cross-racial solidarity in struggles for justice. Himanshu Suri of Das Racist says “I remember where I was when my bandmate Ashok lent me his copy of The Karma of Brown Folk. I felt like I found a handbook to explain my identity issues. A couple of months later, 9/11 happened down the block from that same high school and we knew things would be different. Uncle Swami picks up there and leads people through life as a South Asian in the wake of 9/11.” Join us as we proudly present one of the leading voices on cultural and racial politics in America at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
Ashwini Rao, member of the South Asia Solidarity Initiative and Board of Directors at the Brecht Forum will be live-tweeting the event. Sonny Singh of Red Baraat will live-blog the event on Montevidayo
Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of The Karma of Brown Folk
and The Darker Nations
(The New Press); the latter was chosen as a Best Nonfiction Book of the year by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and won the Muzaffar Ahmad Book Prize. A well-known journalist and commentator, Prashad writes for Frontline (a column “Letter from America” and occasional reported stories) and for Asia Times. He is a contributing editor for the Kathmandu-based Himal and an editor for the Lahore-based magazine Bol. He is a regular writer for Counterpunch, a magazine edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair.This event is co-sponsored by the South Asian Journalists Association
and the South Asian Solidarity Initiative