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Asian Canadian Writing Beyond Autoethnography

Eleanor Ty

Publication Year: 2008

Asian Canadian Writing Beyond Autoethnography explores some of the latest developments in the literary and cultural practices of Canadians of Asian heritage. While earlier work by ethnic, multicultural, or minority writers in Canada was often concerned with immigration, the moment of arrival, issues of assimilation, and conflicts between generations, literary and cultural production in the new millennium no longer focuses solely on the conflict between the Old World and the New or the clashes between culture of origin and adopted culture. No longer are minority authors identifying simply with their ethnic or racial cultural background in opposition to dominant culture.

The essays in this collection explore ways in which Asian Canadian authors (such as Larissa Lai, Shani Mootoo, Fred Wah, Hiromi Goto, Suniti Namjoshi, and Ying Chen) and artists (such as Ken Lum, Paul Wong, and Laiwan) have gone beyond what Françoise Lionnet calls autoethnography, or ethnographic autobiography. They demonstrate the ways representations of race and ethnicity, particularly in works by Asian Canadians in the last decade, have changedhave become more playful, untraditional, aesthetically and ideologically transgressive, and exciting.

Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgements

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pp. vii-viii

We would like to acknowledge and express thanks to the various individuals, institutions, and organizations that helped make this book possible. First and foremost, sincere thanks to the contributors for their insightful work and generous collaboration. Some of the essays developed from papers they delivered, along with many other presenters, at the conference...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-28

Asian Canadian Writing Beyond Autoethnography explores some of the latest developments in the literary and cultural practices of Canadians of Asian heritage. The focus of the volume is on works by writers, artists, and intellectuals published in the last ten years that have shifted noticeably and even dramatically...

Part 1 Theoretical Challenges and Praxis

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1 The Politics of the Beyond: 43 Theses on Autoethnography and Complicity

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pp. 31-54

It is a commonplace thesis that the critical act is nearly always complicit with its object of criticism. “Beyond Autoethnography,” my subject here—that is, how or why “recent cultural productions” have “moved beyond the politics of identity, beyond what Françoise Lionnet has termed ‘autoethnography,’ or ethnographic autobiography”—resonates with complicity.2 Two premises are implicit in this statement—at least as...

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2 Autoethnography Otherwise

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pp. 55-70

Reading ethnic literatures as ethnic literatures is a practice embedded in a variety of discourses, including publishing and academic ones. Literary critics sometimes attend to the former discourses in analyzing the creation of niche markets and audiences. We understand the material conditions of book publishing...

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3 Tides of Belonging: Reconfiguring the Autoethnographic Paradigm in Shani Mootoo’s He Drown She in the Sea

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pp. 71-84

In Shani Mootoo’s latest novel, He Drown She in the Sea, the similarities between the author’s and the protagonist’s social identities—both are Indo-Caribbean immigrants to Canada—and the realistic detail with which the racial and class tensions in both of these places are portrayed suggest that the novel...

Part 2 Generic Transformations

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4 Strategizing the Body of History: Anxious Writing, Absent Subjects, and Marketing the Nation

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pp. 87-114

Writing the self, in autobiographies and memoirs, is often seen as a way to “break the silence,” especially for marginalized subjects and those people who have been rendered invisible through racist exclusion from Canadian cultural life. I want to argue in this chapter, however, that self-writing...

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5 The Politics of Gender and Genre in Asian Canadian Women’s Speculative Fiction

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pp. 115-132

In his 1995 essay “An End to Innocence: The Ethnography of Ethnography,” Van Maanen described recent developments in the discipline, and particularly the way in which ethnographers have lately turned against those forms of ethnographic...

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6 “Auto-hyphen-ethno-hyphen-graphy”: Fred Wah’s Creative-Critical Writing

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pp. 133-150

In his creative and critical writing alike, poet and critic Fred Wah manages to be both writer and reader in a way that collapses the distance between these two activities and encourages new reading practices. Wah uses the term “poetics...

Part 3 Artistic/Textual/Bodily Politics

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7 Troubling the Mosaic: Larissa Lai’s When Fox Is a Thousand, Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night, and Representations of Social Differences

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pp. 153-178

Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night(1996) and Larissa Lai’s When Fox Is a Thousand (1995) both play with readerly expectations of ethnic literature, “moving beyond the politics of identity, beyond what Françoise Lionnet has termed ‘autoethnography,’ or ethnographic autobiography,” and yet...

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8 Ken Lum, Paul Wong, and the Aesthetics of Pluralism

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pp. 179-200

With regard particularly to the rituals involving fire, incense and walking the mountain, I remark to Paul Wong that the danger of exotification veers perilously close. In the context of performance art, with its Eurocentric basis, the threat is very real. Who is this for? Both within a Eurocentric practice and outside of it, we have a need...

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9 Potent Textuality: Laiwan’s Cyborg Poetics

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pp. 201-224

Scott McFarlane writes that “the textuality of the political, social, and cultural fabric is more and more in evidence. The nation is written. The nation is graphic. As writing it is doubly marked by identity and otherness.”Ten years after McFarlane wrote these words, the graphic nature of the nation has...

Part 4 Global Affiliations

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10 “Do not exploit me again and again”: Queering Autoethnography in Suniti Namjoshi’s Goja: An Autobiographical Myth

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pp. 227-246

Suniti Namjoshi’s work occupies an “elsewhere” territory on a map of contemporary postcolonial transnational literature. She is a border subject who resists reterritorialization into a framework of nationally defined studies of literature...

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11 An Ethnos of Difference, a Praxis of Inclusion: The Ethics of Global Citizenship in Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night

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pp. 247-266

Traditionally defined as a “nation,”3 the “ethnos” connotes group identification, based on the presence of shared traits which serve, in turn, as markers of differentiation from other groups. If autoethnography signals...

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12 Ying Chen’s “Poetic Rebellion”: Relocating the Dialogue, In Search of Narrative Renewal

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pp. 267-296

In a collection of essays published in 2004 entitled Quatre mille marches: un rêve chinois, Ying Chen retraces what she proposes to call a “poetic rebellion”1 based on two main claims. The first is her refusal to be identified by her Western readers as a minority writer, that is to say, a spokesperson for China and the...

Bibliography

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pp. 297-316

Contributors

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pp. 317-320

Index

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pp. 321-330


E-ISBN-13: 9781554581399
Print-ISBN-13: 9781554580231
Print-ISBN-10: 1554580234

Page Count: 342
Publication Year: 2008