The dragon, a symbol of Asian art and mythology, appears in many guises and is always adaptable -- a survivor par excellence. Asian Americans display this same supple strength as they move between their Asian culture and their American one. In American Dragons, Laurence Yep brings together twenty-five talented writers, each with a different story about the Asian American experience: - A Chinese American girl struggles to find her place in a suburban high school without denying her true intelligence. - A young woman is torn when her romantic feelings clash with the expectations of her Vietnamese parents. - A twenty-first-century teenager and his aging grandfather learn that it is possible to live in the future without losing touch with the past.
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The first anthology of its kind, Humor Me is a celebration of humor by authors from diverse cultures. Sixteen of today's most exciting writers -- among them Sherman Alexie, Gish Jen, Charles Johnson, and Lucille Clifton -- are represented in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, drama, cartoons, and graphic narratives. Whether using satire, parody, or farce, these writers explore the universal themes of love, family, sex, and race; and they do so in their own edgy, subversive, and sometimes skewed ways. In Sherman Alexie's short story "Assimilation, " a Coeur d'Alene woman wants to cheat on her white husband with an Indian man, any Indian man -- or, as Alexie puts it, "an indigenous stranger." In Sandra Tsing Loh's essay "Daddy Dearest, " the author cringes when an old friend asks if her father still wears his underwear backward and does the Chinese snake dance on Pacific Coast Highway. Nothing in Humor Me is taboo, as Erika Lopez proves in her illustrated tale of one environmentally conscious woman's attempt to subvert the tampon industry. Jim Northrup even takes on that American institution Jeopardy! in his satire "Shinnob Jep, " describing a game that quizzes its contestants on Native American trivia, including the categories "Trick or Treaties" and "Rez Cars." From low-brow to high-brow, from belly laughs to the cerebral, Humor Me places internationally renowned writers such as Charles Johnson and Gish Jen alongside rising stars Paisley Rekdal and Michele Serros and a host of newcomers, including Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Daniel Chacon.
The Hmong were driven out of Laos by the turmoil of the Vietnam War and settled in America in such large numbers that they are now the second largest Southeast Asian population in the United States. Twelve Hmong immigrants, including a female shaman, an ex-military officer, a reformed gang member, a doctor, and a woman who was snatched from her mountain village at the age of eight, deposited in Laos's French culture and finally returned to Laos years later, tell their stories of struggling with American life while preserving the values of their own ancient culture. The author also considers the 5,000 years of Hmong history and its lasting influence.
Provides a valuable contribution to the debates on American dissent in general and against racism in particular, the meaning of American nationality, the criminality of the evacuation and internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, and the immigration policies of the U.S. government.
Min provides a critical overview of Asian American identity issues among second generation ethnic Asians. From the social constructionist perspective, the book is an anthology of empirical studies of Asian Americans' ethnic or pan-ethnic identities, examining ethnic attachments among second-generation Filipino, Vietnamese, Indian, Korean Americans, Chinese and Japanese Americans.
In their different and yet complementary perspectives, all of the essays in this collection reiterate the universal lesson of pluralism. They are divided into sections that deal with biraciality and biculturality, interethnic negotiations, poetic creations, narrative experiments, and (re)constructing self. The wide variety of approaches reflects the contributors' training in different cultures and across cultures. The book showcases refreshing new perspectives in reading that combine the views of literary scholars from three different continents. This collection creates a space for discussion and commentary, of heightened appreciation and increased creativity, a forum that turns the discipline of Asian American Studies into a truly intercultural debate.
This inter-disciplinary study examines the theme of consumption in Asian American literature, connection representations of cooking and eating with ethnic identity formation. Using four discrete modes of identification--historic pride, consumerism, mourning, and fusion--Jennifer Ho examines how Asian American adolescents challenge and revise their cultural legacies and experiment with alternative ethnic affiliations through their relationships to food.
In Double Agency, Tina Chen proposes impersonation as a paradigm for teasing out the performative dimensions of Asian American literature and culture. Asian American acts of impersonation, she argues, foreground the limits of subjectivity even as they insist on the undeniable importance of subjecthood. By decoupling imposture from impersonation, Chen shows how Asian American performances have often been misinterpreted, read as acts of betrayal rather than multiple allegiance. A central paradox informing the book—impersonation as a performance of divided allegiance that simultaneously pays homage to and challenges authenticity and authority—thus becomes a site for reconsidering the implications of Asian Americans as double agents. In exploring the possibilities that impersonation affords for refusing the binary logics of loyalty/disloyalty, real/fake, and Asian/American,Double Agencyattends to the possibilities of reading such acts as "im-personations"—dynamic performances, and a performance dynamics—through which Asian Americans constitute themselves as speaking and acting subjects.
Fiction. "Collectively, these stories in INTO THE FIRE, gathered by the editors with intelligence and grace, are impressive in their geographical breadth. The narratives span the globe, and in this very dispersal correspond to the migrations of exile and return fundamental to the Asian American psyche. Individually, these stories are distinctive in their emotional range: each one flying inland, straight into the heart of our experience" - Cathy Song, author of SCHOOL FIGURES.
This book examines U.S. multiculturalism from the perspective of Asian American writings, drawing contrasts between politically acquiescent multiculturalism and politically conscious multiculturalism. Chae discusses the works of writers who have highlighted a critical awareness of Asian Americans’ social and economic status and their position as 'unassimilable aliens', 'yellow perils', 'coolies', 'modern-day high tech coolies', or as a 'model minority', which were ideologically woven through the complex interactions of capital and labor in the U.S. cultural and labor history. Chae suggests that more productive means of analysis must be brought to the understanding of Asian American writings, many of which have been attempting to raise awareness of the politicizing effects of U.S. multiculturalism.
From the Eaton sisters' literary works at the turn of the previous century to Gish Jen's 2004 novel The Love Wife, Recontextualizing Asian American Domesticity explores the ways in which the trope of American domesticity is experimented, resisted, and reinvented in Asian American women's literature. In order to contextualize Asian American women's writing within the terrain of American cultural and literary history, this book considers how the trope of domesticity is deployed in constructing Asian American women's subjectivity, especially through the tension and dynamic between Asian and white American womanhood. Seung Ah Oh focuses specifically on the female homosocial bond and the conflict surrounding the notion of Asian American domesticity, both as a gendered and a national site with the conflicting desires within and behind Asian American women's voices, endlessly shifting the notion of Asian American home and domesticity. Recontextualizing Asian American Domesticity is appropriate for all students and scholars. Book jacket.
Recovered Legacies: Authority and Identity in Early Asian American Literature employs contemporary and traditional readings of representative works in prose, poetry, and drama to suggest new ways of understanding and appreciating the critically fertile but under-examined body of Asian American writing from the late 1800s to the early 1960s. The essays in this volume engage these works -- in different genres, from different periods, and by authors of different ethnicities -- with a strong awareness of historical context and a keen sensitivity to literary form. The resulting collection helps to recover the rich and diverse literary heritage of Asian America and argues persuasively for the significance of these works to the American literary canon.
Transnational Asian America: Literary Sites and Transits examines the diasporic and transnational aspects of Asian American literature and asserts the importance of a globalized imaginary in what has been considered an ethnic subgenre of American literature. The thirteen essays in this volume engage works of prose and poetry as aesthetic articulations of the fluid transnational identities formed by Asian American writers who move within and across national boundaries. With its emphasis on the transmigratory and flexible nature of Asian American literary production, the collection argues for an equally multivalent mode of criticism that extends our readings of these works beyond the traditional limits of the American literary canon. Individual chapters feature such writers as Chang-rae Lee, Karen Tei Yamashita, Jhumpa Lahiri, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Ha Jin, with attention to such discourses as gender, space and mobility, transnationalism, identity, genre, and post-coloniality.
This book examines cultural representations of African American and Asian American masculinity, focusing primarily on the major works of two influential figures, Ralph Ellison and Frank Chin. It highlights the language of gender and sexuality that writers use to depict the psychological injuries inflicted by racism on men of color—a language that relies on metaphors of emasculation. The book focuses on how homosexuality comes to function as a powerful symbol for a feminizing racism, and explains why this disturbing symbolism proves to be so rhetorically and emotionally effective. This study also explores the influential concept of literature that these writers promote—a view of writing as a cultural and political activity capable of producing the most virile and racially authentic forms of manhood. In comparing African American and Asian American writings, this book offers the first scholarly account of how black and yellow conceptions of masculinity are constructed in relation to each other.
The short story cycle, a collection of stories that are simultaneously independent and interdependent, demonstrates a convergence of old traditions with a renewed concept of nationhood in a culturally plural society. The dynamics of the short-story cycle make it particularly approriate for the incorporation of immigrant legacies while adapting to the practices of the culture in which the work itself is created. This book specifically analyzes major works by a number of important Asian American and Asian Canadian writers, such as Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Shyam Selvadurai, Amy Tan, Rohinton Mistry, Sara Suleri, Garrett Hongo, Terry Watada, Toshio Mori, Sylvia Watanabe, M G Vassanji and Wayson Choy. The manner in which these diverse writers appropriate the cycle in order to dramatize the act of re-presentation of their origins becomes a metaphor for the complexity of modern culture and the process towards self-definition.
An informative and original collection of twenty-five essays, the Resource Guide to Asian American Literature offers background materials for the study of this expanding discipline and suggests strategies and ideas for teaching well-known Asian American works. The volume focuses on fifteen novels and book-length prose narratives (among them Meena Alexander's Nampally Road, Louis Chu's Eat a Bowl of Tea, Monica Sone's Nisei Daughter, Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club) and six works of drama (including David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly). Each essay contains information about the work (e.g., its publication or production history), its popular and critical reception, a biographical sketch of the author, the historical context, major themes, critical issues, pedagogical topics, a list of comparative works, an assessment of resources, and a bibliography. The Resource Guide concludes with four essays that present themes and approaches for the study and teaching of short fiction, poetry, and panethnic anthologies. This volume provides a fresh look at what "Asian American literature" means and serves as an introduction to the study and teaching of this flourishing field. It is an essential collection for students, teachers, and scholars of all American literatures.
This powerful study reconceptualizes ideas of ethnic literature while investigating the construction of ethnic heroines, shifting the focus away from cultural politics and considering instead narrative or poetic qualities which involve surprising relationships between Anglo-American women's writing and fiction produced by Asian American and African American women authors.
Nonfiction. " This compilation is the first comprehensive work to focus on South Asian American and South Asian immigrant women in the United States. It represents a pioneering effort to collect their creative works, personal histories and critical essays. It is through the voices in this volume that we begin to see how women of South Asian origin locate their positions within their respective communities, within wider interethnic networks, and within national and international social, economic, and political frameworks which impact upon women's lives in South Asia and throughout the South Asian diaspora" -Jane Singh from the Forward.
Asian-American women writers of all ages explore a complex range of identities through poetry, fiction, essays, and memoirs, most of which have never been published. The contributors take on little explored topics and expand the limits of ethnic-based identity, resisting stereotypes and breaking silences. Candid and memorable, their essays, stories, and poetry change popular assumptions and engage readers.
In this unique collection of touching and heartfelt short stories, ten young Asian-American writers re-create the conflicts that all young people feel living in two distinct worlds -- one of memories and traditions, and one of today. Whether it includes dreams of gossiping with the prettiest blond girl in class, not wanting to marry the man your parents love, or discovering that your true identity is ultimately your decision, these extraordinary stories by writers of Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Hawaiian, Filipino, and Korean descent explore the confusion and ambivalence of growing up in a world different from the one their parents knew -- and the choices we all must make when looking for a world to which we want to belong.
In this dramatic memoir of early-twentieth century immigration, the author shares her family's journey from rural China to a new life in California. In 1933, seven-year-old Li Keng's life changed forever. Her father decided to bring his family from a small village in southern China to California. Getting to America was not easy. Getting past America's strict anti-Chinese immigration laws was even more difficult. To do so, the family had to keep secrets and offer well-rehearsed lies. Life in America during the Great Depression brought many exciting surprises as well as a few disappointments. Hunger, poverty, police raids, frequent moves, and the occasional sting of racism were a part of everyday life, but slowly Li Keng and her family found stability and a true home in "Gold Mountain." An author's note contains photos and an update on her family. The book contains information on Angel Island and its significance in history as well as an explanation of the Chinese Exclusion Act.
An anthology of 32 stories by women of Japanese, Filipino, Chinese, Indian, & Southwest Asian ancestry, & stories by non-Asian women with strong links to the Asian American experience. Maxine Hong Kingston, Jessica Hagedorn, Bharati Mukherjee, Amy Tan, Gish Jen, Diana Davenport, Hisaye Yamamoto & many others.
In this groundbreaking collection of personal writings, young Asian American girls come together for the first time and engage in a dynamic converstions about the unique challenges they face in their lives. Promoted by a variety of pressing questions from editor Vickie Nam and culled from hundreds of submission from all over the country, these revelatory essays, poems, and stories tackle such complex issues as dual identities, culture clashes, family matters, body image, and the need to find one's voice. With a foreword by Phoebe Eng, as well as contributions from accomplished Asian American women mentors Janice Mirikitani, Helen Zia, Nora Okja Keller, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Elaine Kim, Patsy Mink, and Wendy Mink, Yell-Oh Girls! is an inspiring and much-needed resource for young Asian American girls.
This anthology of work by three Asian American women playwrights-Wakako Yamauchi, Genny Lim, and Velina Hasu Houston-features pioneering contemporary writers who have made their mark in regional and ethnic theatres throughout the United States. In her introduction, Houston observes that the Asian American woman playwright is compelled "to mine her soul" and express the angst, fear, and rage that oppression has wrought while maintaining her relationship with America as a good citizen.The plays are rich with cultural and political substance and have a feminist concern about women's spirit, intellect, and lives. They portray Asian and Asian American women who challenge the cultural and sexual stereotypes of the Asian female. Yamauchi's two plays deal with how easily a country can dishonor its citizens. In "12-1-A," a Japanese American family is incarcerated during World War II in an Arizona camp where Yamauchi herself was interned. "The Chairman's Wife" dramatizes the life of Madame Mao Tse Tung through the lens of events at Tien An Men Square in 1989. Lim's "Bitter Cane" is about the exploitation of Chinese laborers who were recruited to work the Hawaiian sugar cane plantations. In "Asa Ga Kimashita" ("Morning Has Broken"), Houston explores a Japanese woman's interracial romance in postwar Japan and the influence of traditional patriarchy on the lives of Japanese women.These plays will entertain and enlighten, enrage and profoundly move audiences. With honesty, imagination and courage, each grapples with the politics of life. Author note: Velina Hasu Houston teaches in the University of Southern California's School of Theatre and is the author of "Tea," one of the most produced plays about the experience of Asians in America.
Poetry by Asian American writers has had a significant impact on the landscape of contemporary American poetry, and a book-length critical treatment of Asian American poetry is long overdue. In this groundbreaking book, Xiaojing Zhou demonstrates how many Asian American poets transform the conventional “I” of lyric poetry-based on the traditional Western concept of the self and the Cartesian “I”-to enact a more ethical relationship between the “I” and its others. Drawing on Emmanuel Levinas’s idea of the ethics of alterity-which argues that an ethical relation to the other is one that acknowledges the irreducibility of otherness-Zhou offers a reconceptualization of both self and other. Taking difference as a source of creativity and turning it into a form of resistance and a critical intervention, Asian American poets engage with broader issues than the merely poetic. They confront social injustice against the other and call critical attention to a concept of otherness which differs fundamentally from that underlying racism, sexism, and colonialism. By locating the ethical and political questions of otherness in language, discourse, aesthetics, and everyday encounters, Asian American poets help advance critical studies in race, gender, and popular culture as well as in poetry. The Ethics and Poetics of Alterity is not limited, however, to literary studies: it is an invaluable response to the questions raised by increasingly globalized encounters across many kinds of boundaries. The Poets Marilyn Chin, Kimiko Hahn, Myung Mi Kim, Li Young Lee, Timothy Liu, David Mura, and John Yau
Writers of South Asian descent have been garnering more and more success, acclaim, and attention. Story-Wallah gathers the finest South Asian voices in fiction for the first time in a single volume. As Shyam Selvadurai writes in his introduction, "The stories jostle up against each other . . . The effect is a marvelous cacophony that reminds me of . . . one of those South Asian bazaars, a bargaining, carnival-like milieu. The goods on sale in this instance being stories hawked by story-traders: story-wallahs." In this book, some of the world's best fiction writers hawk their wares from different parts of the South Asian diaspora -- Sri Lanka, India, the United States, Great Britain, Guyana, Malaysia, Trinidad, Fiji -- creating a virtual map of the world with their tales. These stories explore universal themes of identity, culture, and home, and Story-Wallah includes a rich array of experiences: a honeymoon in Sri Lanka, the trials of a Bangladeshi refugee in England, life on a sugar plantation in Trinidad, the attempts of an Indian family to arrange a marriage for their rebellious daughter. This anthology is essential reading for anyone with an interest in South Asian writers and the dynamic, important tales they have to tell.