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Globality and Asian North American Narratives

Eleanor Ty

Publication Year: 2010

Unfastened examines literary works and films by Asian Americans and Asian Canadians that respond critically to globality—the condition in which traditional national, cultural, geographical, and economic boundaries have been—supposedly—surmounted.
In this wide-ranging exploration, Eleanor Ty reveals how novelists such as Brian Ascalon Roley, Han Ong, Lydia Kwa, and Nora Okja Keller interrogate the theoretical freedom that globalization promises in their depiction of the underworld of crime and prostitution. She looks at the social critiques created by playwrights Betty Quan and Sunil Kuruvilla, who use figures of disability to accentuate the effects of marginality. Investigating works based on fantasy, Ty highlights the ways feminist writers Larissa Lai, Chitra Divakaruni, Hiromi Goto, and Ruth Ozeki employ myth, science fiction, and magic realism to provide alternatives to global capitalism. She notes that others, such as filmmaker Deepa Mehta and performers/dramatists Nadine Villasin and Nina Aquino, play with the multiple identities afforded to them by transcultural connections.
Ultimately, Ty sees in these diverse narratives unfastened mobile subjects, heroes, and travelers who use everyday tactics to challenge inequitable circumstances in their lives brought about by globalization.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-9

I thank my colleagues in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University for providing a collegial and intellectually stimulating teaching and working environment that enables me to pursue my research interests. I am grateful to the dean of arts, the research...

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Introduction: Reading Globality

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pp. ix-xxxvii

In an article in Newsweek ten years ago, Daniel Yergin made observations about globality based largely on the merger of big, big companies from different countries, such as car manufacturers Daimler-Benz and Chrysler,1 pharmaceutical makers Hoechst (Germany) and Marion Merrill...

I. Doing Global Dirty Work

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pp. 1-41

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1. The 1.5 Generation: Filipino Youth, Transmigrancy, and Masculinity

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pp. 3-19

Half a century after its independence from the United States, the Philippines is still very much in a neocolonial stage.1 Epifanio San Juan Jr. notes that “the Filipino has been produced by Others (Spaniards, Japanese, the Amerikanos), not mainly by her own will to be recognized” (Articulations...

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2. Recuperating Wretched Lives: Asian Sex Workers and the Underside of Nation Building

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pp. 20-40

This Place Called Absence, by Asian Canadian Lydia Kwa, and Fox Girl, by Asian American Nora Okja Keller, are novels that bear witness to the horrors of being a prostitute to foreigners either in one’s own or in another country. Kwa’s work recreates the lives of two young...

II. Performing and Negotiating Transcultural Identities

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pp. 41-81

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3. “All of Us Are the Same”: Negotiating Loss, Witnessing Disability

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pp. 43-62

That our bodies have been the site of various socially constructed meanings has been recognized by a number of feminist critics from Simone de Beauvoir to Judith Butler. In the past decade, cultural and race theo - rists have also argued that race is ideologically constructed and that...

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4. Feminist Subversions: Comedy and the Carnivalesque

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pp. 63-86

Nina Aquino and Nadine Villasin’s play Miss Orient(ed) and Deepa Mehta’s film Bollywood/Hollywood (2002), both set in Toronto, use humor, irony, and parody to question and challenge the insidious effects of global American culture on Asians, particularly those in the North...

III. Future Perfect: Feminist Resistance to Global Homogeneity

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pp. 87-127

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5. Shape-shifters and Disciplined Bodies: Feminist Tactics, Science Fiction, and Fantasy

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pp. 89-107

As I have argued, novels by writers of the first generation of Asian North Americans, such as those by Maxine Hong Kingston, Carlos Bulosan, and Joy Kogawa, though frequently infused with legends and myths, have tended to be mainly autobiographical and based on the realities of...

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6. Scripting Fertility: Desire and Regeneration in Japanese North American Literature

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pp. 108-128

A number of Japanese North American novels have explored the traumatic experience of dislocation, internment, confiscation of property, and dispersals of the Japanese Canadian and Japanese American communities during and after the Second World War and the consequences...

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Coda: Rethinking the Hyphen

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pp. 129-142

Since the late 1970s and early 1980s, with the development of Asian American studies as a discipline and the Asian American movement as a panethnic coalition in the United States (see Espiritu, Asian American Panethnicity, 10), it has become common practice to refer to nonwhite...


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pp. 143-150

Works Cited

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pp. 151-165


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pp. 167-207


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pp. 169-175

About the Author

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pp. 177-216

E-ISBN-13: 9780816673551
E-ISBN-10: 0816673551
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816665082

Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2010