Review, Compositional Subjects, Enfiguring Asian American Women

By employing trenchant interdisciplinarity kang

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Unformatted text preview: a productive approach when studying the histories and cultures of Asian American women. By employing trenchant interdisciplinarity, Kang begins her task of articulating the “historical contexts, ideological suppositions, and methodological tactics” that compose the category of Asian/American women. Examining the composition of Asian/American women through the lenses of literary criticism, film studies, history, and anthropology, Kang’s goal is to show how disciplines “privilege particular modes of subjection.” Beginning with the debates surrounding the classificatory status of Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, Kang registers her primary interest in the disciplinary and identity battles within and across the boundaries of literary studies and Asian American studies. Canonized as an American autobiography, The Woman Warrior was deployed to signal the inclusive potential of literary studies. While literary studies embraced The Woman Warrior as a marker of cultural difference, many Asian Americanists criticized the book for emphasizing sameness or universality among Asian Americans. As will be familiar to those engaged in Asian American studies, rather than being regarded as a single work of literature, The Woman Warrior was interpreted as speaking for an entire culture, as transmitting truth about an Other, and as supporting an understanding of national, gender and ethnic difference as stable. Kang revisits these debates and shows how the categorization of Kingston’s work a...
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This note was uploaded on 11/17/2009 for the course HISTORY 131405 taught by Professor Kate during the Three '09 term at University of Melbourne.

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