This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: REVIEWS • 215 REVIEWS Compositional Subjects: Enfiguring Asian/American Women. By Laura Hyun
Yi Kang. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press. 2002. Compositional Subjects: Enfiguring Asian/American Women is an ambitious monograph that urges readers to think more critically about the usefulness of identity as a theoretical framework and the methodological limitations of disciplinarity. Laura Hyun Yi Kang applies her critique to knowledge produced by, about, and for Asian/American women, using the slash as a shorthand reminder of continental (Asian), national (American), and racial-ethnic (Asian American) pressures as they bear on our understanding of this cohort of women. In conversation with Michael Omi, Howard Winant, and Lisa Lowe, Kang describes the category of “Asian/American women” as an “overlapping but also distinct racial gender formation at the nexus of higher education, cultural politics, grassroots and institutional activism, and both national and international policies” (13). Kang bases her Foucauldian critique of identity on three intertwined processes—of visibility, surveillance, and documentation—that together produce intelligible and exploitable human bodies. Visibility refers to a process of naming and the resulting recognition of social identities, while surveillance and documentation ensure a fixing of differences within t...
View Full Document