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Unfastened: Globality and Asian North American Narratives

Eleanor Ty
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Unfastened examines literary works and films by Asian Americans and Asian Canadians that respond critically to globality—the condition in which traditional national, cultural, geographical, and economic boundaries have been—supposedly—surmounted. Eleanor Ty sees in these diverse narratives unfastened mobile subjects, heroes, and travelers who use everyday tactics to challenge inequitable circumstances in their lives brought about by globalization.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7355-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction: Reading Globality
    (pp. ix-xxxviii)

    In an article inNewsweekten years ago, Daniel Yergin made observations about globality based largely on the merger of big, big companies from different countries, such as car manufacturers Daimler - Benz and Chrysler,¹ pharmaceutical makers Hoechst (Germany) and Marion Merrill Dow (United States), and consumer electronics king Sony (Japan) and Columbia Pictures (United States). He noted that “the world is entering into a new type of capitalism.” Governments are “retreating from control of the commanding heights of their economies: they are privatizing and deregulating. Barriers to trade and investment are coming down rapidly. Ever-cheaper communications and ever-faster computers,...

  5. I Doing Global Dirty Work

    • 1 The 1.5 Generation: Filipino Youth, Transmigrancy, and Masculinity
      (pp. 3-19)

      Half a century after its independence from the United States, the Philippines is still very much in a neocolonial stage.¹ Epifanio San Juan Jr. notes that “the Filipino has been produced by Others (Spaniards, Japanese, theAmerikanos), not mainly by her own will to be recognized” (Articulations of Power,118). Filipinos are transnational subalterns, used in many countries as cheap and temporary labor: the “‘warm body export’ of Filipino workers to the Middle East; Filipinas as ‘mail-order brides,’ ubiquitous prostitutes around enclaves formerly occupied by U.S. military bases; and ‘hospitality girls’ in Tokyo, Bangkok, Okinawa, and Taipei” (San Juan, The...

    • 2 Recuperating Wretched Lives: Asian Sex Workers and the Underside of Nation Building
      (pp. 20-40)

      This Place Called Absence,by Asian Canadian Lydia Kwa, andFox Girl,by Asian American Nora Okja Keller, are novels that bear witness to the horrors of being a prostitute to foreigners either in one’s own or in another country. Kwa’s work recreates the lives of two young “ah ku” who work in the brothels of Singapore in the early 1900s, while Keller’s book recounts the makeshift and desperate existence of two teenage prostitutes in Korea in the 1960s. Carefully researched by the authors, both novels attempt to give voice to women whose stories have not been well documented in...

  6. II Performing and Negotiating Transcultural Identities

    • 3 “All of Us Are the Same”: Negotiating Loss, Witnessing Disability
      (pp. 43-62)

      That our bodies have been the site of various socially constructed meanings has been recognized by a number of feminist critics from Simonede Beauvoir to Judith Butler. In the past decade, cultural and race theorists have also argued that race is ideologically constructed and that racial identity is a process dependent on social and historical circumstances (see Omi and Winant, “On the Theoretical Status of the Concept of Race,” 203). More recently, scholars who work on disability have contended that “disability is an unstable category” similarly dependent on material circumstances, social perception, and representation (Davis,Bending Over Backwards,9). Lennard...

    • 4 Feminist Subversions: Comedy and the Carnivalesque
      (pp. 63-86)

      Nina Aquino and Nadine Villasin’s playMiss Orient(ed)and Deepa Mehta’s filmBollywood/Hollywood(2002), both set in Toronto, use humor, irony, and parody to question and challenge the insidious effects of global American culture on Asians, particularly those in the North American diaspora. First performed in Toronto in December 2001 and then again in the spring of 2003,Miss Orient(ed)is a raucous and entertaining theatrical production featuring an all - female cast of Filipina Canadians.¹ Set in the world of the “Miss Pearl of the Orient” beauty pageant, the play reveals the ways in which contemporary Filipinas have been stereotyped,...

  7. III Future Perfect:: Feminist Resistance to Global Homogeneity

    • 5 Shape-shifters and Disciplined Bodies: Feminist Tactics, Science Fiction, and Fantasy
      (pp. 89-107)

      As I have argued, novels by writers of the first generation of Asian North Americans, such as those by Maxine Hong Kingston, Carlos Bulosan, and Joy Kogawa, though frequently infused with legends and myths, have tended to be mainly autobiographical and based on the realities of social history.¹ Writers of the late 1980s and 1990s, such as Amy Tan, Jessica Hagedorn, Gish Jen, Wayson Choy, Chang - rae Lee, and others, have continued this tradition but have incorporated postmodern techniques of intertextuality—the use of parallel and disjunctive narratives, dreams, and postcolonial history—in their novels. However, most of these...

    • 6 Scripting Fertility: Desire and Regeneration in Japanese North American Literature
      (pp. 108-128)

      A number of Japanese North American novels have explored the traumatic experience of dislocation, internment, confiscation of property, and dispersals of the Japanese Canadian and Japanese American communities during and after the Second World War and the consequences of these events. The best - known example is Joy Kogawa’sObasan,which delineates the mostly silent suffering of Japanese Canadians during that period. Other works about Japanese Americans during the war include Monica Itoi Sone’sNisei Daughterand John Okada’sNo-No Boy.Recently Japanese Canadian and Japanese American novels have been moving away from focusing on that subject and have attempted...

  8. Coda: Rethinking the Hyphen
    (pp. 129-142)

    Since the late 1970s and early 1980s, with the development of Asian American studies as a discipline and the Asian American movement as a panethnic coalition in the United States (see Espiritu,Asian American Panethnicity,10), it has become common practice to refer to nonwhite writers in America, more recently in Canada and Europe, as African American, Asian Canadian, or in Britain, black British writers. This hyphenated status has been seen as a marker of one’s belonging to two worlds, of one’s hybrid identity, and has also been criticized as a sign of nonbelonging to the mainstream culture (see Ling,...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 143-150)
  10. Works Cited
    (pp. 151-166)
  11. Filmography
    (pp. 167-168)
  12. Index
    (pp. 169-176)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 177-177)