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The Impossible Politics of Difference GRACE KYUNGWON HONG B EYON D Disavowal AMERICAN STUDIES “This book is a significant intervention in scholarship on the politics of life and death, explaining why this dyad is so central to neoliberal forms of governance; building on women of color feminism’s analysis of the impossibility of separating out life and death; and showing the danger of forgetting that life for some means death for others.” —SHELLEY STREEBY, University of California, San Diego Death beyond Disavowal utilizes “difference” as theorized by women of color feminists to analyze works of cultural production by people of color as expressing a powerful antidote to the erasures of contemporary neoliberalism. According to Grace Kyungwon Hong, neoliberalism is first and foremost a structure of disavowal enacted as a reaction to the successes of the movements for decolonization, desegregation, and liberation of the post–World War II era. It emphasizes the selective and uneven affirmation and incorporation of subjects and ideas that were formerly categorically marginalized, particularly through invitation into reproductive respectability. It does so in order to suggest that racial, gendered, and sexualized violence and inequity are conditions of the past, rather than the foundations of contemporary neoliberalism’s exacerbation of premature death. Neoliberal ideologies hold out the promise of protection from premature death in exchange for complicity with this pretense. Using various books and films as case studies, Death beyond Disavowal finds the memories of death and precarity that neoliberal ideologies attempt to erase. Hong posits cultural production as a compelling rejoinder to neoliberalism’s violences. She situates women of color feminism, often dismissed as narrow or limited in its effect, as a potent diagnosis of and alternative to such violences. And she argues for the importance of women of color feminism to any critical engagement with contemporary neoliberalism. GRACE KYUNGWON HONG is associate professor of Asian American studies and gender studies at UCLA. She is author of The Ruptures of American Capital: Women of Color Feminism and the Culture of Immigrant Labor (Minnesota, 2006) and coeditor of Strange Affinities: The Gender and Sexual Politics of Comparative Racialization. Difference Incorporated Series UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA PRESS Printed in U.S.A. Cover design by HONG D EATH B EYO N D D I SAVOWAL ISBN 978-0-8166-9530-0 9 780816 695300 90000 > ...


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