Narratives of Diaspora: Representations of Asia in Chinese American Literature (BOK)
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In Chinese American literature, countries such as China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore are experienced as well as imagined - experienced because some authors were born in Asia and have first-hand acquaintance with life in their birth-country, imagined because all representation inscribes ideological bias. For US-born authors of Chinese descent, Asia is often imagined with the help of parental stories, reading and research, and awareness of US political involvement and military activities in Asia. For naturalized Chinese American authors, Asia is the site of memories, often manifested as nostalgia or as interrogation and critique. Walter S.H. Lim explores how and why different Chinese American authors arrive at their choice of literary subject-matter and what this choice reveals about the cultural politics of national identity and belonging. Tracing the development of the literary production of Maxine Hong Kingston, Amy Tan, Lisa See, and Russell Leong, among others, this study captures the effects of international politics and globalization on Chinese American diasporic consciousness.