Race & Resistance: Literature & Politics in Asian America

Race & Resistance: Literature & Politics in Asian America

Race & Resistance: Literature & Politics in Asian America

Race & Resistance: Literature & Politics in Asian America

Synopsis

Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America examines the idealisation of Asian America by its intellectuals, the saturation of Asian America with capitalist practices, and the challenges posed by Asian America's ideological diversity. Viet Nguyen argues that Asian American intellectuals need to examine their own assumptions about race, culture, and politics, and he makes his case through the example of literature, which still remains a cultural arena of cultural production for Asian Americans. Significantly, in examining Asian American literature, what we find is that the literature embodies the complexities, conflicts, and potential future options of Asian American culture.

Excerpt

Asian American literary critics are part of a larger class of Asian American intellectuals, broadly defined here to include academics, artists, activists, and political leaders. As an intellectual class, we share a certain set of assumptions about the object of our collective work, Asian America, and in Race and Resistance, I argue that this consensus can be seen through the work of Asian American literary critics, particularly in the theory of value that literary critics use to assess literature. These critics have been inclined to see Asian American literature as a body of texts that demonstrates opposition to, or accommodation with, the various kinds of oppression that Asian Americans have had to endure. Even as critics recognize that there are some, perhaps many, Asian American works that embody a politics of accommodation or a tendency toward accommodation, these critics are still predisposed to read for resistance, to either look for and place value upon those works that embody this type of politics or emphasize the propensity toward opposition that may be found in ambivalent texts. Likewise . . .

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