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Crossing Oceans

Reconfiguring American Literary Studies in the Pacific Rim

Noella Brada-Williams ,Karen Chow

Publication Year: 2004

This book’s intended mission is to compliment and extend the vision of a seminal volume, published in 1995, American Studies Today: An Introduction to Methods and Perspectives, which came out of the American Studies Research Centre in Hyderabad, India.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. v-vii

About the Contributors

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pp. ix-xii

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pp. xiii-xiv

We would like to thank Shirley Geok-lin Lim for encouraging us to attempt this volume, providing us with the title 'Crossing Oceans', and for her many years of dedicated mentorship to the two of us. In 2001, Professor Lim, along with Paul Lauter, the organizing committee, and their student conference volunteers hosted a dynamic conference at the University of Hong...

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1. Between Places: American Literature and Language in the Pacific Rim

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pp. 1-9

The increasing presence of American Studies in Asia can be witnessed by the establishment of centers such as the American Studies Research Centre in Hyderabad, India, the American Studies Center at the University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong-America Center at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In 1995, three scholars affiliated with the...

Part I: Defining American Literary Studies in Asia

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2. Pedagogies of Resonance: Teaching African American and Asian American Literature and Culture in Asia

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pp. 13-28

As a teacher and scholar, I have long been engaged with interracial dynamics in the United States. Since I began lecturing in Asia, particularly while teaching as a Fulbright Professor at the University of Hong Kong from 2000 to 2002, my chief concerns have been to explore the relevance of ethnic American studies in Asia and to present issues about race compellingly to Pacific R i m audiences. Asian audiences...

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3. When Asian American Literature Leaves 'Home': On Internationalizing Asian American Literary Studies

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pp. 29-40

Although the naming of Asian American literature is only a little more than three decades old, dating to the Asian American activism of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the turn of the century has witnessed an explosive growth in the academic study of Asian American literature on American soil.

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4. Reading a Foreign Place: Geography and American Literature

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pp. 41-50

One of the only defining characteristics that it seems possible to me to identify within the widespread and richly varied practice of 'American Studies in Asia' is the somewhat obvious point that it is engaged in the study of something foreign. Although 'America', in a myriad variety of forms, is indisputably present throughout the region, the academic practice of American Studies is nonetheless largely a study of foreign places, cultures,...

Part II: Teaching Texts, Teaching Contexts that Cross National Boundaries

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5. Teaching with Anthologies

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pp. 53-65

I was once embarrassed by using anthologies, much less creating them. I remembered e.e. cummings's poetic joke at the expense of Louis Untermeyer: mr u will not be missed who as an anthologist sold the many on the few not excluding mr u (1X1, #XI) The usual rap against anthologies was that they were superficial: they offered a hop, skip, and jump through literary history instead of providing in-depth...

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6. Institutional Imperatives Affecting the Teaching of Asian American Literature Inside and Outside the Pacific Rim

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pp. 67-77

This chapter juxtaposes teaching experiences at several US universities — two on the eastern edge of the Pacific Rim and one near the center of the North American continent — in order to answer questions about how our teaching techniques should respond to changes within the field of Asian American literary and cultural studies. This juxtaposition of teaching experiences raises many questions and a few...

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7. The Kiowa-Matsue Connection: Inventive Modeling and American Indian Literature Teach Japanese Identity

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pp. 79-87

Necessity — or in this case desperation — is the mother of invention, or, again in this case, of 'inventive modeling'. Two decades ago, while teaching at Shimane University in Matsue, Japan, a rniscommunication about a teaching assignment forced me — on the first day of class — to completely redesign an English composition course.¹ Since I had little time to plan a new course, I fell back on an American teaching...

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8. The Great White 'Race Adventure': Jack London and the Yellow Peril

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pp. 89-97

Jack London is one of the great American writers of the first two decades of the twentieth century. Like his contemporaries, Stephen Crane and Frank Norris, London was a widely read and admired author of the Naturalist movement. London's 'dog stories' such as The Call of the Wild and White Fang dramatized Darwinist principles in a frontier setting and gave him both economic stability and international fame. London...

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9. 'Stories to Pass On': Pedagogically Dialoging Maxine Hong Kingston and Toni Morrison

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pp. 99-108

Maxine Hong Kingston once told fellow writer Arturo Islas, 'No, we're not outsiders, we belong here, this our country This is our history and we are a part of America ... If it wasn't for us, America would be a different place.'

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10. Teaching "Representations of Asians in the American Public Imagination': The Problems of Representation as a Problematic

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pp. 109-120

This chapter began as an exploration of teaching American literature and culture in Asia — both great, swaying categories that fall under any extended scrutiny. Nevertheless, this was my brief, as it were. Therefore, the topoi of pedagogy (teaching), content (American Literature and culture) and context (in Asia) were explicitly in play. My initial approach emphasized context because I wished to provide a comparative analysis of...

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11. Forging Intercultural Feminist Theory in Practice: The Korean Classroom Politics of Feminist Reading on Sula

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pp. 121-129

This chapter aims to explore the Korean experience in English studies by forging intercultural feminist theory in practice between an African American feminist text such as Sula and Korean readers. By showing that performing a revisionary reading in the Korean university classroom plays a fundamental role in figuring out, shaking up, and reforming gender relationships in the 'present' Korean cultural context, this chapter...

Part III: Transnational Readings of Asian American Literature and Culture

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12. Between Memory and History: Maxine Hong Kingston's China Men and The Woman Warrior

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pp. 133-138

The representation of 'the question of ambivalence' (Bloom 1999, 1) toward ancestral tradition has been at the center of controversy on Maxine Hong Kingston's use of Chinese mythology and the mnemonic genre. Amy Ling has succinctly formulated the issue: 'Must the multicultural writer/artist be totally and exclusively answerable to his or her ethnic community, be the spokesperson of that community, tell the...

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13. 'An Identity Switch': A Critique of Multiculturalism in Gish Jen's Mona in the Promised Land¹

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pp. 139-154

With the publication of Typical American in 1991, Gish Jen attracted much public attention and has since been held as an important ethnic writer in the literary realm of Asian America.² A second-generation Chinese American herself, Jen is very perceptive of immigrant experience and extremely witty in her account of Asian American life. Mona in the Promised Land (1996) is her second novel, which is a sequel to her...

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14. Under Eastern Eyes: Ghosts and Cultural Haunting in Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior and China Men

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pp. 155-163

If an Asian reader wishes to locate a useful point of entry into the narrative universe and cultural world of Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior, he or she is likely to find it in the author's treatment of ghosts. The reason is that the story of the hungry ghost, the narrator's unnamed aunt, at the very start of the book invokes the context of the hungry ghost festival, which, in societies like Singapore and Hong...


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pp. 165-176

Works Cited

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pp. 177-192


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pp. 193-200

E-ISBN-13: 9789882200944
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622096400

Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2004