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Asian Americans in DixieRace and Migration in the South$
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Jigna Desai and Khyati Y. Joshi

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037832

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037832.001.0001

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Selling the East in the American South

Selling the East in the American South

Bengali Muslim Peddlers in New Orleans and Beyond, 1880–1920

(p.33) Chapter 1 Selling the East in the American South
Asian Americans in Dixie

Vivek Bald

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses the complex racializations and negotiations of South Asian sailors who jumped ship in Southern and Northeastern seaports and became entrepreneurs who traded ethnic notions within the larger cultural economy of Orientalism of the time. This early history expands the South Asian American narrative to include a group of previously unknown migrants who lived and worked in the United States as early as the 1880s. It points to the significance of the cultural and economic context of turn-of-the-century American Orientalism within which they were able to establish a viable commercial network. Moreover, it reveals different trajectories of migration from the subcontinent—trajectories that South Asians followed through the Southern states and into the economic and cultural orbit of the Caribbean and Central America.

Keywords:   South Asian sailors, American Orientalism, South Asian American, migration trajectories

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