Immigrant Subjectivities in Asian American and Asian Diaspora Literatures

Immigrant Subjectivities in Asian American and Asian Diaspora Literatures

Immigrant Subjectivities in Asian American and Asian Diaspora Literatures

Immigrant Subjectivities in Asian American and Asian Diaspora Literatures

Synopsis

Offers a new way of reading Asian American and Asian Diaspora literatures, thereby addressing an overlapping lacuna in ethnic, postcolonial, and area studies: the construction of immigrant subjectivities.

Excerpt

This book addresses an overlapping lacuna in current scholarship on ethnic, postcolonial, and area studies. In Asian American studies, few critics have engaged texts in order to construct immigrant subjectivities, which become the Other in the Manichean division to formulate the (Asian) American Self. In postcolonial discourse shaped by the Commonwealth legacy, the emphasis has been largely on Anglophone and Francophone literatures of Africa, Australia, the Caribbean, and the Indian subcontinent, with scant scrutiny of the Pacific Rim or its continuum in immigrant enclaves in the West. Finally, in modern China studies, scholars seem content to remain in a "cultural ghetto" and ignore, for instance, Taiwan's postcolonial condition. My project fills in these gaps by exploring the intersecting space of the three disciplines—immigrant subjectivities, with a particular focus on Chinese-speaking immigrants.

Divided into three parts, this book interrogates, in Part 1, the representation of immigrants in Asian American and, to a lesser extent, Asian Diaspora literatures. Immigrant subjectivities in these texts are frequently subsumed in the urgent need of self-fashioning and take the peculiar form of "immigrant schizophrenic" in chapter 3. Part 2 explores how the drive to "claim America" manifests itself as an eroticization of white bodies in male immigrant and minority writers. With gender and power inextricably coupled in these texts by males, the critical engagement in Part 2 draws . . .

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