Louise Ly

Racialized Intimacy: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender within Interracial Marital Relationships Among Asians Americans and Whites

For my dissertation, I propose to study processes of assimilation and racialization for heterosexual Asian Americans. While intermarriage has been used as the key indicator of incorporation for Southern and Eastern European immigrants at the turn of the last century, it may not be a valid predictor of loosening social boundaries between Asian immigrants, their offspring, and other Americans. Despite high rates of intermarriage between Asian Americans and White Americans, scholars consistently ignore substantial gender asymmetries. These marriages are far greater in number between Asian women and White men compared to those among White women and Asian men. In problematizing intermarriage as an indicator of racial assimilation, I seek to examine the racialized natures of gender and sexuality within Asian American interracial pairings. I will interview 30 Chinese Americans with White partners, 30 Whites with Chinese American partners, 30 Indian Americans with White partners, and 30 Whites with Indian American partners (an equal number of 15 women and 15 men for each subgroup). I seek to develop a comparative understanding of how gender and sexuality not only intersect with race, but how they intersect with various ethnic identities within the Asian racial category, while attending to class differences.