Call for Papers | From Model Minority to Model Athlete: Perceptions of East Asians and Asian Americans in Sports. Call ends June 15, 2020

Figure Skater Mirai Nagasu at Olympics 2018.

This is a call for chapters for a proposed anthology, From Model Minority to Model Athlete: Perceptions of East Asians and Asian Americans in Sports, for Palgrave Macmillan’s East Asian Popular Culture book series. It is edited by Steve Bien-Aimé, Northern Kentucky University, and Cynthia Wang, California State University, Los Angeles.

In recent months, we have seen a rise in anti-Asian sentiments around the world given the global pandemic around coronavirus. Much of the media coverage has reinforced an Othering of Asians, with the Trump Administration repeatedly calling COVID-19 a “foreign virus”. This rhetorical positioning of the Asian body as a perpetual foreigner is nothing new, and this anthology aims to explore the ways in which East Asian and Asian American athletes have been represented and perceived in sports.

Sports is a leading cultural influencer because of its presence in media, education, finances, and other areas. In the leadup to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, media outlets reported that China’s push to host the Olympics was largely in part to demonstrate China’s status as a global superpower, showing the close relationship between sports and sociopolitics. While numerous articles and much research have been written about sports itself in the fields of critical, cultural, and communication/media studies, these largely reflect a decidedly Western perspective.

However, East Asian and Asian American athletes, particularly women, have experienced tremendous success in Western sports such as tennis, soccer, golf, and figure skating. Although success has not always translated into international name recognition, in the United States, more recent success of Asian American athletes has occurred concurrently with the rising profile of Asian Americans in other leading US sectors such as education, business, politics, and entertainment. In fact, Asian Americans have been making great achievements in predominantly male sports such as basketball and football. The high-profile accomplishments of Asian American athletes works to broaden and/or shatter stereotypes of Asian Americans in the United States, particularly the Model Minority “nerd” who lack any physical prowess. These examples demonstrate the influence that sports have on societal dynamics of race and power.

Despite the growing influence of East Asian and Asian American athletes, they are still underrepresented in Western media and in scholarship. This proposed edited volume adds much-needed literature to sports, popular culture, East Asian studies, and Asian American studies. We are looking for chapters that focus on the importance of sports in various cultural and media contexts, how East Asian and Asian American athletes have been used to define and redefine racial and gender boundaries, and how these same athletes embody “Asian-ness,” “American-ness” and/or “Other-ness” in their media representations. We are also looking for articles addressing these topics that negotiate the complex nuances between East Asian and Asian American contexts and issues. Sports’ prominence in global popular culture makes the intersections explored in this edited volume a crucial addition to existing conversations around both sports and East Asian/Asian American studies.

We are asking for chapters that address how East Asians and Asian Americans in sports intersects with a wide array of concepts including (but certainly not limited to):

      • Media representation and stereotypes
      • Globalization
      • Political economy
      • ‘Race, race relations, and power
      • Immigration
      • Gender and sexuality
      • Ethnic identity
      • Intergroup conflict
      • Social media and digital cultures
      • Diasporic networks

Please submit a 500-word abstract and your CV (or a mini-bio) to and by June 15, 2020. Authors will be notified in September 2020 of the book’s and their individual chapter’s acceptance. Full drafts of 5,000 to 8,000 words (including references and footnotes) will be due by December 2020. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.

Steve Bien-Aimé & Cynthia Wang

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.