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Literature > American Literature > Asian American Literature

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This Is All I Choose to Tell Cover

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This Is All I Choose to Tell

History and Hybridity in Vietnamese American Literature

Authored by Isabelle T. Pelaud

In the first book-length study of Vietnamese American literature, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud probes the complexities of Vietnamese American identity and politics. She provides an analytical introduction to the literature, showing how generational differences play out in genre and text. In addition, she asks, can the term Vietnamese American be disassociated from representations of the war without erasing its legacy?

Pelaud delineates the historical, social, and cultural terrains of the writing as well as the critical receptions and responses to them. She moves beyond the common focus on the Vietnam war to develop an interpretive framework that integrates post-colonialism with the multi-generational refugee, immigrant, and transnational experiences at the center of Vietnamese American narratives.

Her readings of key works, such as Andrew Pham's Catfish and Mandala and Lan Cao's Monkey Bridge show how trauma, racism, class and gender play a role in shaping the identities of Vietnamese American characters and narrators.

Tiananmen Fictions outside the Square Cover

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Tiananmen Fictions outside the Square

The Chinese Literary Diaspora and the Politics of Global Culture

Belinda Kong

An exciting analysis of the myriad literary effects of Tiananmen, Belinda Kong's Tiananmen Fictions Outside the Square is the first full-length study of fictions related to the 1989 movement and massacre. More than any other episode in recent world history, Tiananmen has brought a distinctly politicized Chinese literary diaspora into stark relief.

Kong redefines Tiananmen's meaning from an event that ended in local political failure to one that succeeded in producing a vital dimension of contemporary transnational writing today. She spotlights key writers-Gao Xingjian, Ha Jin, Annie Wang, and Ma Jian-who have written and published about the massacre from abroad. Their outsider/distanced perspectives inform their work, and reveal how diaspora writers continually reimagine Tiananmen's relevance to the post-1989 world at large.

Compelling us to think about how Chinese culture, identity, and politics are being defined in the diaspora, Tiananmen Fictions Outside the Square candidly addresses issues of political exile, historical trauma, global capital, and state biopower.
 

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Treacherous Subjects

Gender, Culture, and Trans-Vietnamese Feminism

Lan P Duong

Treacherous Subjects is a provocative and thoughtful examination of Vietnamese films and literature viewed through a feminist lens. Lan Duong investigates the postwar cultural productions of writers and filmmakers, including Tony Bui, Trinh T. Minh-ha, and Tran Anh Hung.

Taking her cue from the double meaning of "collaborator," Duong shows how history has shaped the loyalties and shifting alliances of the Vietnamese, many of whom are caught between opposing/constricting forces of nationalism, patriarchy, and communism. Working at home and in France and the United States, the artists profiled in Treacherous Subjects have grappled with the political and historic meanings of collaboration. These themes, which probe into controversial issues of family and betrayal, figure heavily in fictions such as the films The Scent of Green Papaya and Surname Viet Given Name Nam.

As writers and filmmakers collaborate, Duong suggests that they lay the groundwork for both transnational feminist politics and queer critiques of patriarchy.

Unending Nora Cover

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Unending Nora

Julie Shigekuni

Unending Nora is a love story, though not in the ordinary sense. Having retreated to the streets of the east San Fernando Valley amidst an intense heat wave, Nora Yano, who has lived the first 29 years of her life as a devout Christian and an outcast, strikes up a relationship with a stranger and experiences sexual intimacy for the first time. When Nora mysteriously disappears, her best and only friends Caroline and Melissa, each with their own lives to consider, must decide what they’re willing to risk to find her. The complications that ensue, along with an unexpected arrival home, set this novel in motion. Beneath the stories of four compelling women, Shigekuni creates a web of ideas concerning the after effects of wartime internment. Fresh out of the camps, a displaced and emotionally scarred generation clustered together to form a community; they even took on a religion in order to adapt to the society that oppressed them. Now their offspring, four young women coming of age in their thirties, must carve their own path. Unending Nora is a story about finding love through adversity. In an ambitious examination of faith, shame, and desire, Julie Shigekuni takes up where John Okada left off over fifty years ago with his masterpiece No-No Boy—to tell the story of a community ready to mark its place in the larger world.

Unfastened Cover

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Unfastened

Globality and Asian North American Narratives

Eleanor Ty

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.

War, Genocide, and Justice Cover

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War, Genocide, and Justice

Cambodian American Memory Work

Cathy J. Schlund-Vials

In the three years, eight months, and twenty days of the Khmer Rouge’s deadly reign over Cambodia, an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians perished as a result of forced labor, execution, starvation, and disease. Despite the passage of more than thirty years, two regime shifts, and a contested U.N. intervention, only one former Khmer Rouge official has been successfully tried and sentenced for crimes against humanity in an international court of law to date. It is against this background of war, genocide, and denied justice that Cathy J. Schlund-Vials explores the work of 1.5-generation Cambodian American artists and writers.

Drawing on what James Young labels “memory work”—the collected articulation of large-scale human loss—War, Genocide, and Justice investigates the remembrance work of Cambodian American cultural producers through film, memoir, and music. Schlund-Vials includes interviews with artists such as Anida Yoeu Ali, praCh Ly, Sambath Hy, and Socheata Poeuv. Alongside the enduring legacy of the Killing Fields and post-9/11 deportations of Cambodian American youth, artists potently reimagine alternative sites for memorialization, reclamation, and justice. Traversing borders, these artists generate forms of genocidal remembrance that combat amnesic politics and revise citizenship practices in the United States and Cambodia.

Engaged in politicized acts of resistance, individually produced and communally consumed, Cambodian American memory work represents a significant and previously unexamined site of Asian American critique.

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Words Matter

King-Kok Cheung (ed.)

In this age of rapid transition, Asian American studies and American studies in general are being reconfigured to reflect global migrations and the diverse populations of the United States. Asian American literature, in particular, has embodied the crisis of identity that is at the heart of larger academic and political debates surrounding diversity and the inclusion and exclusion of immigrant and refugee groups. These issues underlie the very principles on which literature, culture, and art are produced, preserved, taught, and critiqued. Words Matter is the first collection of interviews with 20th-century Asian American writers. The conversations that have been gathered here—interviews with twenty writers possessing unique backgrounds, perspectives, thematic concerns, and artistic priorities—effectively dispel any easy categorizations of people of Asian descent. These writers comment on their own work and speak frankly about aesthetics, politics, and the challenges they have encountered in pursuing a writing career. They address, among other issues, the expectations attached to the label "Asian American," the burden of representation shouldered by ethnic artists, and the different demands of "mainstream" and ethnic audiences.

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Writers of the Black Chicago Renaissance

Steven C. Tracy

This collection comprehensively explores the Black Chicago Renaissance, a creative movement that emerged from the crucible of rigid segregation in Chicago's "Black Belt" from the 1930s through the 1960s. Heavily influenced by the Harlem Renaissance and the Chicago Renaissance of white writers, its participants were invested in political activism and social change as much as literature, art, and aesthetics. This volume covers many important writers such as Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Lorraine Hansberry as well as cultural products such as black newspapers, music, and theater. The book includes individual entries by experts on each subject; a discography and filmography that highlight important writers, musicians, films, and cultural presentations; and an introduction that relates the Harlem Renaissance, the White Chicago Renaissance, the Black Chicago Renaissance, and the Black Arts Movement._x000B__x000B_Contributors are Robert Butler, Robert H. Cataliotti, Maryemma Graham, James C. Hall, James L. Hill, Michael Hill, Lovalerie King, Lawrence Jackson, Angelene Jamison-Hall, Keith Leonard, Lisbeth Lipari, Bill V. Mullen, Patrick Naick, William R. Nash, Charlene Regester, Kimberly Ruffin, Elizabeth Schultz, Joyce Hope Scott, James Smethurst, Kimberly M. Stanley, Kathryn Waddell Takara, Steven C. Tracy, Zoe Trodd, Alan Wald, Jamal Eric Watson, Donyel Hobbs Williams, Stephen Caldwell Wright, and Richard Yarborough.

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