By Joshua Takano Chambers-Letson
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Additional resources for A Race So Different: Performance and Law in Asian America
Three years later, the Supreme Court reaffirmed this principle in a case that applied the Chae Chan Ping holding to an ethnic Japanese petitioner in Nishimura Ekiu v. 39 This 1892 case involved a woman who immigrated to the United States aboard a steamer, pursuing a husband who had previously arrived in the country. Resonating with Cho-ChoSan’s ultimate foreclosure from national belonging and reflecting the particular will to keep Asian women from immigrating to the United States (discussed in greater detail in the next chapter), she was denied entry.
Legal discourse forgets its own performative power, transforming a court’s performative utterance into a codified reality. Whether or not the person subject to a jury’s finding committed the felony, the jury’s finding makes him or her a convicted felon as a fact of law unless and until a higher authority intervenes to overturn this determination. As Austin warned, “Of all people, jurists should be best aware of the true state of affairs. Perhaps some now are. ”49 But the United States has a stare decisis system, whereby a decision in a given case will determine future application of the law.
Demonstrating the ways in which the state, and immigration law in particular, deployed a visual logic to compel Asian American subjects to perform for the state’s optic, I argue that the internee’s photographs pose a performative intervention into the visual surveillance and regulation of Japanese America while raising significant questions about the limits of visibility as a strategy for liberation. 26 / introduction The final section of the book turns to the racialization of Asian immigrants and Asian Americans from the period of the Vietnam War to the GWOT.