In Alegal: Biopolitics and the Unintelligibility of Okinawan Life, Annmaria Shimabuku explores a subject of current scholarly discourse—the political, social, legal, philosophical, and cultural implications of a mixed-race identity.1 In an earlier article, she problematizes such terms as hāfu, haiburedo, miscegenation, and even “identity” itself, which she surrounds with quotation marks. She asks, “Should we transcend ‘identity,’ and get back to real issues? Otherwise, must we constantly be confronting nativists, essentialists, fundamentalists, and Third World nationalists?”2

Focusing on real issues of American militarism and Japanese capitalism in Okinawa, Shimabuku makes a persuasive case for the term “alegal” in her title. In the introduction, she explains its definition as:

that which is irreducible to a binary of legal versus illegal or extralegal.… The function of the “a,” therefore, does not refer to what or where the law is not: words already exist for that, namely, “illegal”...

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