Author: Sunaina MarrMaira
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 978-0-8223-4409-4

Click Here To Purchase Missing: Youth, Citizenship, and Empire after 9/11

Ms. MarrMaira, author of Missing, is an associate professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Davis. In addition to this work, she has authored Desis in the House: Indian American Youth Culture in New York City and co-penned Youthscapes: The Popular, the National, the Global andContours of the Heart: South Asians Map North America.

Missing offers a poignant insider perspective of how South Asian Muslim and non-Muslim youth after 9/11 were impacted by overlapping and interconnected issues and topics ranging from citizenship, to detention, to politics, U.S. empire, the War on Terror, work, play, polyculturalism, fear and control, various economic struggles, education [in general terms and also the importance of education attached to the ability to navigate out of one class and into another---in  socio-economic terms], home, family, abrogation or erosion of basic rights and freedoms, ethnic/racial identification, military aggression, caste, pop-culture, liberalism and conservatism, and solidarity. Insight provided via narrative interviews and participant-observation with/of over sixty-seven youth from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tibet, Nepal, and Africa (2009, appendix)is enlightening, refreshing, and contributes greatly to the growing body of scholastic knowledge on South Asian studies.

Conclusions drawn from this extensive body of research are compiled by piecing together information gathered from legislative actions, Presidential directives, direct-interviews with impacted persons and/or families of those impacted, educators, civic groups, references/theories/analogies made from other scholastic and peer-reviewed periodicals, first-hand experiences, and more, as justification and supporting documentation for the arguments provided therein. Common strands that bind these shared stories together throughout this process, and noted most in responses, were centered upon perceptions [whether actual or perceived] of hostility, fear, suspicion, anxiety, disillusionment, betrayal, loss, and harassment post 9/11 for these marginalized persons.

Their stories depict the emotional and social impacts of racial profiling, detention, surveillance, and deportation on their community [both here in America and abroad]. Those theories and suppositions are built upon by tying together common threads that suggest how the concept of empire and imperialism has shaped these people’s actions and interactions with regard to nationalism and global dominance by the neoconservative and liberal leadership in America that has used fear as a political and economic strategy exacerbating and perpetuating inequities between societies and world communities.  

Ms. Maira’s research also delves into specific rhetoric [i.e. good/evil] used by the Bush Administration post 911, with regard to the war on terror. She posits that a “new version of racism” was born from that rhetoric because it defined terrorist as a Muslim, Arab, or South Asian. (2009, 241) There was a lot of anger and resentment about Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, especially from these marginalized people who felt these were attacks against innocent people and innocent nations would do little to nothing to combat terror around the world. [and I agree] Maira postulates that the war on terror is less about religion, human rights, and/or democratic freedom than how U.S. power and dominance of the world order can be effectuated. People who stood apart from President Bush on this premise were perceived as being ‘with the enemy’ [i.e. the use of being with or against by President Bush post 911] or abetting terrorists.  

Scholars and researchers were blacklisted and called “anti-American” by Lynne Cheney and Senator Joe Lieberman who formed the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). The purpose of ACTA was to document “unpatriotic” acts by academics. (2009, 31) [surely I am on their blacklist because I’ve also been outspoken against these wars] Is it possible that President Bush could use a reality check Maira asks?----her reply is that “not all enemies are Muslim, and not all Muslim are enemies.”  

I strongly suggest adding this book of research to any scholastic program involved with the teaching of anthropology, sociology, psychology, ethnography, conflict resolution, South Asian-American studies, political science, and youth studies.

Click Here To Purchase Missing: Youth, Citizenship, and Empire after 9/11