Mapping a Literary Landscape: The Cambridge Companion to Asian American Literature

>>Thank you all very much for. Being with us this Sunday rest of the nation’s studies
program here us and my you we work very closely with the A.P.A. Institute here. Which is kind
of committed to can just send nature of some of the most interesting emergent work most
cutting edge cutting edge cultural production putting on various shows and exhibitions many
of you will have attended over the years and I hope if you have been to space you will
explore a little bit. [00:00:42]
I shouldn’t say this but I don’t think we’re going to be very rigorous in checking you
know a chance if you want to. Yeah yourself the drawings are not so kind of stuck around
and be vagrants and kind of explore the space. And learn like refers to something all the
people who’ve made it seem possible I mean to my Lord Churchill’s review of Ruby covers
and all of the stuff you question here at the institute receiving is a celebration I
think primarily of the new publication of this gorgeous volume the Cambridge Companion
to Asian American literature written and put together and conceived by my colleague Crystal
Perec and by Daniel Kim and they’re going to be talking about some of the ideas and
kind of impulses around volume and in just a second and it’s it’s really fascinating
book I don’t just sort of say about that’s my job to say but it’s a it’s a it’s actually
it’s a genuinely and getting gauging book it’s a hard it’s hard balance these days just
tons of introductions to almost any subject these days there’s lots of the crisis feedings
and book size of infantilize readers break down procedures of the spoon feeding of the
problems that don’t allow you to go to go with the flow. [00:02:03]
Last. So restricted and sort of cool city in terms of personnel management of the capabilities
of the budget books are trying to help them to steal you and me in the direction of really
sort of interesting books and plays and poetry some leave you may be less interested in the
topic when you begin but that’s certainly not the case because it’s a book about community
joy a series of essays in their own right incredibly elegantly written drawing attention
not just to some of us a classic and a lot of text you tell us and say really interesting
things about them contextualizing them and always remove the range of love connection
to you your works New Politics new context as well it has a kind of temporal spring two
thousand which is really unusual of course both in terms of these in terms of this discussions
it’s an invaluable resource something to undergraduates to Post Graduate Center and to the general
reader I mean just sections which I’m usually on things like a popular genres the new media
and new media where Betsy one towards definition of trust and spirit which there’s a kind of
inclusive spirit and a sort of generosity here. [00:03:36]
It’s not it doesn’t stop one verse books that sort of seeks to kind of define diddly mate
and almost kind of close off the field but celebrate it’s increasing on recognizability
and it’s increasing so since the same movement it’s a great deal of work and it copies are
available for sale to generous discount so please do you know the converse if you must
steal them. [00:04:02]
You must mustn’t. Mr Brooks in my life reported to me I had to steal So if you if you need
to do. Something about a guy be instituted for reading this NG OK So you know. Before
night for this evening I should be here in the in the bushes in the second set and restore
here to the truck project and they’re just going to be. [00:04:26]
Reading this and honest if they’re still there range of prices. First they’d see you treat
them. Like the things other guys do real. Sure before the. Rest. Of Us or. Do you just
eat all they want and trust that if you live you’re not really other things just one of
those sort of love the most are the times of crisis and this and you know it was a record
number really it was a big big cities in the past and amongst other things is also right
for. [00:05:08]
This is a bust just next home run one where else the infamous recently. Ghost month and
finally built by no means. Least interesting is an associate professor of English and American
Asian American studies that give the city of Pennsylvania another after after about
the other really sort of group discussion we’re traveling with. [00:05:32]
All of you if any responses any questions you any sort of forms of argumentation polite
or replied It’s all it’s all great. And after all the perceptions which are of course you’re
all invited if you want to people will be able to say that I do too so I think all prices
but I’ll be happy to sign up this sort of over again thank you all very much for coming
in thank you to the Daniel and Crystal. [00:06:06]
Thank you actually Here is a copy. I have to say thank you. So thank you for coming
out some dare suggest things to say which is one of my assy a very spaces and. Just
enjoy music programs years and it’s going to work just as every night there’s a big
struggle in this space or some space or their son Jamie said please check out their programming
and especially they said he took me to where her program putting this together I didn’t
really prepare very formal remarks which probably isn’t a do it just how much is based on home
for me and in the year and also because I’m here to hear my club Raiders and the Raiders
and representing us well I just wanted to say a couple of words about the process and
will and our intense day on my intentions at this. [00:07:04]
American literature I feel really strongly that I’m driven Asian American Asian American
it’s an extraordinary liberating writing place so absolutely brilliantly and scholarship
in place for several days. And that was acting in our intention to try to bring. The business
spotlight on that straight here work that’s being done in the Asian American stand even
especially very. [00:07:34]
So I hope it will be because I had learned so much in the process of putting this together
it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with some of the top scholars really rich and critics
in the field and and and it was very exciting to hear you got there Eric has a different
value. [00:07:56]
And organizational structure that we ended up with because we wanted to share. For the
last several decades here which we had hasn’t been out here it’s very similar and Jane like
say when things are that I would say about the deal for me personally is it’s one that’s
been really has the best medical and you know I feel it’s my Mr open and has welcomed me
with norms and others South Asian Americans are not necessary say in the one nine hundred
eighty S. [00:08:28]
started as even Americans but it’s one that I think many of us who are South Asian town
their selves are gravitating towards because it’s better to live concerns that have been
fairly personalized to us and thinking about questions of political justice and social
formations and we enable and the you know that is usually racial or disease which again
I are both very involved with them and there is a kind of publishing and you have been
very perceptive to a whole host of different kinds of work coming from lots of different
perspectives different ethnic and national groups that also varied has been about two
different kinds of critical perspectives and my chapter in particular has to do and I’m
missing your interventions and I really do think American cities as having been one of
the leading charge that one of the leading him places where that kind of work critical
time is in here interventions have been made more probably in American studies so that’s
been really important to me and it’s been a real pleasure to work with the scholars
that we have the authors are included in this volume and one of things that I kind of I
would say to you that I am at the other would suggest that about and I can say this because
you know was that i only one of many writers and I think this is a beautifully written
by you but it is it and I strove for it was defiant and scholars and we all see where
it is you know really excellent great areas and we didn’t know at any time this is the
essays and found that we had like for example really genuinely interested in making radar
for. [00:10:04]
And the kinds of interventions and leaders scholars are making assessable to our audience
and others in this text really read that challenge and one of the other things and the final
thing and I say it’s just a kind of collaborative spirit one of these you’ll see and you pick
up the. [00:10:22]
Greatest and it suggests that it is. The essays have coauthored by scholars in the field some
of whom are friends with others you know whenever they began writing. I think that high spirited
co-authorship is also something that has always fostered. Scholars and that I know also that
they and I made. [00:10:51]
Him who asked me to. Come. With him he’d been asked by Cambridge to originally sell his
own and I said what other editors who are you doing these projects which companions
and I would tell. Them that I was I really I it’s me it was incredible I was an incredible
experience I could imagine. [00:11:16]
Daniel is just and I’m. Just as I say he’s my COTTLE I think. He’s a wonderful collaborator
and I really think. That this is really great. You know these this is this box with all these
copyrights a couple weeks ago I was excited to see it but it actually hasn’t felt real
just now just a really wonderful. [00:11:50]
And I just want to start out Crystal Crystal is my kid. And. There’s a lot of pretty good
was so yeah there is. Just wonderful I can do is just give you a bit of backstory about
how this came into existence. I got an e-mail from a Ryan who’s an editor at Cambridge and
he just asked me to do this and I’ve been told by numbers a good number of people don’t
ever read it all if you’re going to go crazy so I knew I really said I don’t I would love
to but I don’t think I want to and then one day I asked for names of people who I could
contact and said Look Crystal’s was the person that I thought that I would love to work with
Crystal and we were you know very good friends of the I knew would be you know and so like
we did it right so as we started putting the thing together we actually asked Ray like
where did this idea came from this is not usual that a press approaches you to do. [00:12:51]
Value And he said that he it Cambridge is a pretty staid line it’s a pretty conservative
traditional press. And he said that he was at Berkeley you see Byrd University of California
Berkeley way did my Ph D. and at an event he said he looked around. And spell it out
but you know it’s a pretty predominantly American campus and to him this was a market. [00:13:17]
And the thing about presses whatever intellectual work you’re trying to do there are also there
presses the need to make money. And so this really the companion line is I mean this is
not to say goodbye by the book but it’s also to say that the companion series is the one
series of Cambridge of Cambridge is where they they hook to make money and it’s it’s
books in this series that subsidize the majority their publications and Ray came to brow to
give a talk about this and and most of their publications are hard covers that suffer a
hundred some bucks and they set in libraries and they’re meant for grad students and scholars
to go and read and not to check out not to circulate what subsidizes that to a large
degree the Cambridge companions and. [00:14:04]
I’ve known some books in the series because they’re very useful if you’re teaching on
a topic you’ve never taught before so I used when I was teaching Parker’s light in August
for the first time I picked up the Cambridge Companion to light in August when I was teaching
detective fiction for the first time. [00:14:21]
And I thought. Crystal I have an arc seem to be useful to those people and so this whole
thing would seem kind of like you could have been a drag like it wasn’t pitched as like
you had Here’s this cutting edge and college here where you can redefine field it was more
like be useful help spread the word about each an American literature and find writers
who can write beautifully and passionately about literature that is to them. [00:14:48]
And the payoff of that I actually says Joe park is here like all the essays I think are
very beautifully written as well but when I read your parks essay poetry I was actually
very grooved by. This cover this photograph here is from the island poems these were etched
into the walls at the attention center on an Angel Island the barrier a lot of Chinese
immigrants were detained while they were waiting to try to get to the states and. [00:15:15]
And I don’t know what to do with them but her chapter just movingly conveys this this
feeling of discontent that that sort of permeates a lot of Asian American poetry. And now into
how to teach it and that’s the thing and it’s so but I was also blessed last spring to have
one of the best group of students I’ve ever actually I can just say this without equivocation
that one of them is actually here but I have the best group of students in the center that
introduction Asian American literature class I’ve ever taught and they were so with used
and this wasn’t out yet but I’m so excited because that was the context right I want
to be able to sign this in good faith to the students when I teach introduction age American
literature. [00:15:58]
And the last point I want to make because I want to leave room for I really can’t wait
to hear everybody. The last thing I want to say is Ray Takeyh very he was in fact about
this that we needed to have an international range of authors and because Cambridge is
a world thinks of itself as a world press and the world is coextensive with the former
British Empire but. [00:16:24]
Basically they they wanted authors who were not just North American and I think. I think
that’s another really important direction provisionary is that he has become work as
national but there are there are scholars of America studies and. Literature in Asia
that I hope this book will speak to and actually I met in Beijing great Chinese scholars are
very interested in Chinese American author and they’re really fascinated by hygiene in
particular. [00:16:55]
But I feel like this is something that would speak to those authors those scholars and
get them to think about not just trying to use American writers but Asian American literature
more broadly and I had similar experiences in Korea I’ve given some talks there are conferences
I want to go to the Korean version of the Modern Language Association they have a book
fair and since in many ways that academic establishment is also very post-colonial most
of the books are from Cambridge University Press or Oxford Percy press and so when I
went there a few years ago there were no Asian I think there was one Asian American title
I think it was actually Joe’s book and poetry. [00:17:31]
And so that was the other thing I pictured is like this would be nice it would be nice
if this helps Scotland and Asia who want to put to work on Asian American literature they
have a basis for developing courses. So and they only have you know whatever thing I guess
the only copies of this that I’ve given away are to my grad students because they’re studying
for their exams now because the other thing that we were I mean again this was all about
ease being useful and conveying passion and so the other thing that we thought this would
be useful for were students who were a grad student were preparing their. [00:18:04]
Fields they’re comprehensive exams and so we think we’ve provided a good sort of foundation
for them to. Sort of develop a map of feel that they can flesh out and develop how are
they what now this is really the last thing the other thing that was great is like we
got to fight authors to write about topics that we didn’t know anything about so I don’t
know thing about psychiatry attempted action other than reading Ed’s novel and so Betsy
what Kristen’s like her chapter on shot of fish and romance side by fantasy that was
so instructive for me I typed. [00:18:40]
A few years ago and nothing to do I had no idea how to teach it but now I do and so this
is this is going to be useful for me and that’s basically what I wanted and again. Thank you
Christophe it was a pleasure. And. I don’t have to Cambridge Companion. [00:19:10]
And. I and yeah it’s true we’re all looking for it and the thing I want to say Krista
was you. Want to thank me for doing such a great job of organizing. And I want to thank
Crystal and Joe and whatever else is in this room in this red gangster who’s talking stare
Why are. [00:19:39]
We here especially. Who I had no credible conversation with at Brown after I did there
and Daniel told me this thing that is one of the most key moments for me as you know
it’s writing gangster when he said Yeah I was really interested because when I got to
that song where there is this line where the narrator is and it was. [00:20:04]
Not the hand of. These bugs that are floating out of the middle of the water at the hands
of Mr Russell dreams and scoops up these refugees are and the narrator says it was not his residence
with nothing. And then I said when I got to that and I thought. [00:20:24]
Yeah I. Thought you know as a writer you are. Going to go out you know and you don’t often
get to meet with them and you get that and then also it’s actually bringing in introducing
the works you and I have. People who so I think there’s like this thing about visibility
and I just write so being is being visible it’s not necessarily being likable and I think
that. [00:20:58]
You know something like that and it’s what it’s creating a context or more to be logical
so that the things that are embedded in the works actually get discharged in the way that
you know yes in some ways that the web is intended but it’s not just intention it’s
possibility and I think really it’s and has allowed us to see the possibility of what
is going to work you know so I’m very grateful. [00:21:29]
For tonight I thought I would agree from is a project that I’m developing questions for.
And it’s so. Has been very is being examination of the Vietnam War and the ways in which these
people I mean these bodies and landscapes and aftermath tend not to be as in American
depictions and obsessions that war and that it has to be present only as a backdrop to
what’s going on for the American soldier or the man. [00:22:04]
Right and oftentimes there is not a consideration of the fact that many people came and are
now Americans and so they’re they’re very identities in a sense as as new citizens passed
she would disrupt the memory of more for America and other Americans so I’ve been very focused
on that partly as a project you figure out where it came from and where I am and how
these two nations impact there but also as a way to kind of trace the things that war
and upheaval displacement cannot in a sense. [00:22:48]
Man like what are those things what are those stories that people carry Prost water which
they hold inside themselves for so and and at what point do those stories or are they
forced our how can they come out and when they come out as anybody even get how much
is being trailed across the water right so that’s what I’ve been focused on and in a
way it’s been very American it’s been very much about there was a war and there were
a number of sides to it and what about the needs not just the South Wales with the primary
have been focused on the. [00:23:22]
Left as refugees and I’ve been focused on it very much as an American project as an
American myself because I left if I had stayed in Vietnam I had no idea I could be a writer
so I understand that displacement is the thing that gets me into language in this very urgent
way and that through that hit me I became a writer and get that so then the question
is will let you know and say. [00:23:47]
I’m working on this project that So where we work has been about well you have roaches
the Vietnam War It’s is an American G.I. and so I push that aside and then you know there’s
a Vietnamese big mystery man or and I have meetings here and I wish my guys I. [00:24:04]
And you know there are these boat people women and children and old people that’s where the
focus of but not push them aside and right now working on a project that is focused on
these young women from the north who in one nine hundred sixty five answered which means
to join the fight and volunteer on her chin trail to keep the trail open so that they
can you move so much soldiers and military material down to the south and our communists
were fighting the Americans right so these women became an intro our North Vietnamese
war effort she had to fight the Americans and there were about two hundred thousand
total youth volunteers men and women young men and women and most of them were women
eighty percent of the girls and the girls were from like you know fourteen fifteen to
their early twenty’s and during the war they dig tunnels they bury the dead they treated
the wounded they shot an American bombers out. [00:25:07]
And many of them had never been away from home and so they were seen as like these verges
these I’m very virgins who were almost like men you know and great from morale and so
brave and they were emblems appeared OK but then post-war because some of them many of
them could not have children they because of their injuries is a stranger in the war. [00:25:33]
They became like. Everybody yourself like these bodies they carry the damaging residue
of war and they were not seen as for women because they could not feel well you know
there there is a higher to have children and so they became kind of ostracized and some
of it is women who could have children. [00:25:54]
Do this thing where they paid a man just sleep with them and they would become pregnant and
they would take full responsibility for the child to. It was part asking for a child they
would pay this man and they would raise the child in these forest encampments that were
on the edge of Hanoi and in a sense they went back into the jungle right so there’s this
story about this arc between girlhood and womanhood is moved from here to to commission
so I. [00:26:25]
Got involved and out I’m going to read some pieces from that for you guys like three different
moments right now it’s like they’re. I don’t know what’s going to have been I don’t know
if it will be a song fact I don’t know what we have I really don’t know but I thought. [00:26:44]
Well I have I’m here you guys take care we’re going to have a good time and so I’m going
to return to his family so it’s all questions really and I’ll just give you some beats for
me OK So at the very beginning. From the forest floor. I knew we were out a city girl and
country girl and girl school unschooled in the ways of the world someone’s daughter sister
favorite niece a brave and serious and silly hero who marched on to the trail smiling I
see her lying on the forest floor the trees a canopy arche over had each leaf murmuring
the names of the girls who came before and all the girls yet the living stepping into
the mighty shoes of the Dead I know that ran through a rain of fire raised her arms to
wage a war to carry the wounded and dreamed of. [00:27:43]
I know that her I see her now as she was so vivid the I know that. Is from. This trip
can be. Hovering about the Triple Canopy sort. After sortie the Americans searched but they
could not see the line moving through mountains and streams of material going south to the
V.C. who became every one hiding every. [00:28:19]
What seems immaterial they don’t people in their own countries doubt churches broken
altars everything sacrificed to the air return. To this baseless thoughts and that’s when
they are like an. Ancient building the civilization who bury their dead and birds right in clay
and I was thinking about them and thinking about the pieces that were at flood in from
on the high that are in some of these is INS in Vietnam that are related to Agent Orange
in their history so sad and earned as a jar and dry as she is loaded with waters some
in the ancestors grazed with her now in a fiery rain we the trees the ground the birds
to be. [00:29:19]
READ THIS FAIR don’t glaze. Our debt are burned in ways are unborn then they float in jars
you know reminders of all we could. Make in your video. For. This one is called Arg and
there’s a book by Robert. Arthur and he’s talking about this this every. Fire and how
I was thinking about how these young women who were cheering as these virgins you know. [00:30:04]
How they were fueling this movement which was of the fight against the Americans but
how they also have a desire for a type of society in which those or did not have to
and so that they had they had demands on a nation right so it wasn’t just that they were
willing to make the sacrifice bad idea and nation they wanted and so post or when they
if they would survive they lived you can taste the building has a. [00:30:33]
Right to the bitterness there is the art or. Art or begins with art or begins with bread
to feed a fire one needs a word we that and our bodies are beauty our willingness to face
and passionately what. Very genes from his. Virgins determined to chase paradise in this. [00:31:01]
To walk side by side a futile darkness inch each week free and look anyone in here. And
this is the last. Child child. I asked for. I lay down with a man and we’re here that
is true. A man who paid ease and shuns us from whom I only needed one thing. [00:31:36]
I’m not ashamed to have borrowed from one night and he. Had and security. So in closing
I was saying this thing about how. When I think about the position that Asian Americans
have had in this country there is a way in which I feel like we have been the ones who. [00:32:04]
You know we’re out of this. And yet have always been here not always but here for a very long
time much longer and I think it’s a knowledge and I’m just interested in the way in which
or I feel that what Asian Americans bring is the world you know that we are at the disturbance
that we are or the notion of us being unassimilable going from unassimilable to being the modern
minority whether trip but you know that that that we are still whole because we are reminders
and elsewhere and that elsewhere is the world so I think the disturbance that we have created
is precisely to do with these notions are talking about about all the roles that we
bring to this world and so the idea that there could be an American story where actually
neither America or an American is central to the narrative and yet that that’s still
very much a growing right I thought I had notions of what he is or what character gets
to be. [00:33:14]
The person you identify with I think you know so I kind of expanding these notions of. What’s
my relationship to this story or the story comes from the world and you’re in it but
it doesn’t have the face and doesn’t talk like. You know so I think that part of what
we can they just are is is is I guess the trouble is is ridge. [00:33:46]
I drove I just first of all I wanted to really thank her story and then you know and this
is that I for the first time and I met fanatic about twenty minutes ago so it’s a pleasure
to meet them. And to thank them both. And write to me tonight but also for asking me
to contribute to this wonderful volume and I’m really honored and humbled to be part
of. [00:34:16]
This collection of so many writers and and scholars that I really admire so thanks for
that. So what I’m going to do tonight is to give a sort of hopelessly condensed version
of the chapter that I contributed to via a sort of eight minute speed read version of
the chapter which could crash and burn but I presume reason I decided to do it this way. [00:34:45]
So that’s just to give a sense that in the chapter that I contributed was our comparative
race studies and interracial ISM so this sort of quickly sketch out if we give a sense of.
The argument in the chapter. The pep talk to meant scene of America’s in the heart Carlos
bull sons one nine hundred forty six novel about Filipino migrant laborers in the U.S.
depicts the repayment of a debt Carlos the novel’s main character honors the pardon request
of his brother Macquarie O. [00:35:16]
who has just left to fight in World War two and repays the money he owes to Larkin quote
unquote Negro food Black who is also departing to join the Navy. Touched by the gesture Larkin
memorializes declaring quote I know each your brother again somewhere because I got my dime
without asking him but if I don’t see him again I’ll remember him every time I see the
face of the American dime. [00:35:44]
And establishing the link between these two men through the repayment of an undefined
debt the scene suddenly invokes a legacy of borrowing an exchange that speaks to a broader
tradition of Filipino and African American interracial Pollie ation indeed the very indeterminacy
of Macquarie. As debt the novel never really explains what he owes him for gestures all
the more insistently to the existence of multiple unknown and as yet unexplored depths of solidarity. [00:36:17]
On one hand it is a solidarity the scene suggests forged out of a link to condition of exploitation
as racialized labor offering us economic power I.E. under the sign of the quote unquote American
dime. On the other hand in establishing their bond through an informal economy of borrowing
the scene also intimates that this interracial solidarity is founded on forms of indebtedness
and exchange that this interracial solidarity is exchange economic or otherwise that are
forged within but in counterpoint to the prevailing economic and social logic of the nation. [00:36:58]
This richly suggestive scene at the end of Americas in the heart speaks to the concern
with interracial ism that has been foregrounded in a vibrant body of scholarship that has
emerged in the past two decades. Racial difference is most often defined against the normative
it’s often invisible centrally that whiteness enjoys which I think is a line I stole directly
from Daniel and crystals call for the tractor. [00:37:30]
But then put them in. This this emergent critical tradition of interracial isms and comparative
race studies has sought instead to under her thin understand legacies of alliance antagonism
and analogy with respect to other racial minorities that have been central to conceptions of Asian
American subjectivity the scholarship has set itself the task of developing new methodology
for thinking in comparing racial formations that might enable us not only to retrieve
and remap the complex histories of Asian America. [00:38:04]
In coalition and conflict with other racialized minorities but also to think and to organize
around race in ways that move us beyond the limitations of prior models of racial or ethnic
solidarity based on cultural nationalist and identity in forms of subjectivity and collectivity.
Much of the groundbreaking work in comparative race studies by V.J. push on karaoke here
of the mall unleashed a young Lord to lead a and others has been centered upon Afro-Asian
connections. [00:38:39]
Building closely on the historical and political legacies of decolonisation movements and social
justice movements in the US This work has retrieve the often buried histories and exceptional
instances of Afro-Asian linkages and collaboration both within the U.S. and across the Colonial
and formal former colonial world. Evidencing a strong investment in forms of interracial
solidarity grounded in common traditions of anti-imperialist and anti-racist resistance
this work is sought to elaborate the similar structural conditions by which racial minorities
share oppression under white supremacy and transnational imperial or racial capitalism. [00:39:24]
At the same time in addition to the Coalitional ethos and ideal of interracial Alliance underlying
the rubric of Afro-Asian ism and ethnic studies more broadly new paradigms and critical vocabularies
have also emerged for thinking beyond idioms of solidarity in defining Afro-Asian relations
a number of historical events and changing structures of power in the era after dark
decolonization have undermined the Coalitional rich relations rationality of the civil rights
conjuncture the caste minority identities in a shared struggle against white supremacy
These include among others. [00:40:04]
The L.A. riots changing patterns of immigration the racialization of religious identity after
nine eleven the growing salience of multiracial identity the rise of **** politics class class
divisions as well as shifting contours of U.S. nationalism and its globalization. In
response to these historically we configurations there was developed a growing number of efforts
from various intellectual and political quarters in particular **** theory and women of color
feminism to elaborate new comparative analytics centered around the question of difference
that is a number of emergent comparative models have sought to think not only in terms of
parallels but also to think the difference between and within racialized gendered and
sexualized productivity’s. [00:40:57]
On the one hand this trajectory reflects the development of intersexual analysis at the
same time this these new analytics of comparison have also emerged as critical and necessary
efforts to render legible and combat the new races and shifting structures of racial difference
that it once underwrite and are masked by the colorblind discourse of our contemporary
multicultural age of local capital. [00:41:24]
And then just to sort of fast forty even more quickly in the remainder of the chapter I
labrat one such analytic for doing this type of comparative race studies which is something
I’ve done and other work but I don’t pitch my own book that would be famous but they
really want censured around the sphere of citizenship or rather upon citizens ships
necessary of first alien age and very quickly alien itch. [00:41:53]
Defines the status of individuals in groups excluded from the legal social and cultural
forms of national membership and belonging located at citizenships threshold it marks
the. Boundaries against which the conceptual and political terms of national belonging
are in part defined and secured. At the same time and designating the peculiar status of
the quote unquote outsider within alien edged denotes a disruptive political and territorial
status one that blurs the boundaries between the inside and outside and one that casts
an unsettling shadow across the borders between the domestic and the form which I think speaks
a little to your final. [00:42:36]
The specific history of Asian alienate your relation to US citizenship is different from
the histories of other migrant or racialized groups yet while acknowledging the substantive
historical difference I suggest that the critique of citizenship produced by the political form
of alien also provides a useful framework for thinking across and between differently
racialized minority formations one that draws on the Coalitional ethos of Afro-Asian ism
while being attentive to the shifting stratifications of difference between and within mine or ties
to racial groups. [00:43:13]
That is on the one hand it opens up a comparative analytic space for considering how minority
groups and identities have been racially defined in relation and at times in opposition to
one another through this fear of citizenship at the same time it also represents a potentially
generative political and social formation situated as it is at the boundary of inclusion
and exclusion and the domestic in the form from which we might imagine modes of interracial
solidarity and affiliation that look beyond the discourse of American citizenship and
national forms of color to Vittie and I sort of use that in the chapter that that analytic
to sort of read three. [00:43:59]
To the canonical Asian American works with Daniels. Encouragement. Strong courage from
an American is in the hearts of Jon and Kate is No no boy and Karen to Yemen she does tropic
of orange. And sort of using that to sort of do it to serve an act this sort of comparative
race sort of reading. [00:44:24]
So in the end the paradigm of alien age represents but one of a growing number of comparative
analytics employed and invented to make sense of shifting structures of racial difference
in hierarchy as new racialized categories and axes stratification of inclusion and exclusion
and of privilege and stigma are being created in ever more complex and naturalized ways. [00:44:56]
Indeed one might argue that a comparative race methodology has become required if we
truly hope to trace current manifestations of power and to understand how race operates
in our contemporary multicultural world thanks thank. One. Thank you. Well I’m I’m recording
this the audio now because I’m a narcissus but my wife was going to be here but our sitter
ditched at the last minute and so there we are. [00:45:39]
Thank you Crystal and you know this kind of birthday party isn’t that’s really what the
book like this newly born book is it’s a wonderful thing thank you so much for inviting me to
N.Y.U. for hosting us. You know my mind as of late is is that you know this thing that
just will not go away someone always trying to explain the six. [00:46:04]
Sest of Asian Americans and then there is a thing in the times where you know Confucianism
is once again trotted out as a reason as a reason for Asian American success and and
the way I see it is that a lot of Chinese Americans come to hold on to this this bastardized
version of Confucianism where it’s you do with the older generation tells you and you’re
completely subservient everything and yet if you look at the horrific thing of Confucianism
Confucius emphasised poetry literature music and rituals as as a court officer in those
times in the warring state side and even before China was trying to you had to be able to
come up with a verse on demand using certain characters and I kind of feel like Chinese
Americans would be less crazy if they had here to this vision that computers actually
have. [00:47:05]
A city. As far as wife my work in in terms of issue American literature is concerned
I you know in the late eighty’s it was possible to buy a recent book fiction and nonfiction
by in about Asian Americans I would I would do this every year and like but it in the
scrape now it’s impossible and it’s just exploding I kind of feel like I’m inside of this giant
balloon that’s still inflating and we’re still seeing what kind of animal it’s going to be
likes now coming out here or a wing coming here or them there’s a foreigner here like
it’s it’s still this evolving kind of thing and in particular a lot of my work is focused
in the sort of crime element and I relate really to to the authors working in the pulp
magazines in the Depression era where. [00:48:05]
Society was to blame for creating criminals a society gets the criminals that it deserves
that kind of course because at the time during the Depression it was a whole question of
like the failure of capitalism the failure of society to be truly inclusive and provide
people with hope. [00:48:26]
And see what’s going to say I grew up as one of these kids who. I don’t know if this still
looking but you know I was a second generation American I was the first one in my family
born here in the States the parking lot sister and my parents had this mom and pop businesses
they ran this crappy hotel in Jersey and. [00:48:51]
So it would only be like go to school and then like when you come home you’re like Employee
Number one like at nights weekends there are no sick days no holidays back you know to
work harder holidays because you know that was when the other real employees who actually
got paid you know had time off and you have to step up so like. [00:49:16]
I don’t know as I still think students you know my opposition says we’re going you know
or you’re all comfortable and well you know. I don’t know. The day so I became a father
about two and a half years ago and I’ve been writing the short stories and giving them
boys’ names. [00:49:38]
And this one’s called Martin. We went to Martin’s apartment because he was in bad shape he and
Diane and his fiance had split up for what he said was the final time session and Duckie
had gotten there before me Martin was sitting on the floor he had made a little nesting
area with the curled up blanket at the Basin. [00:50:04]
A floor like chipotle the router’s and Red Bull cans were inside the nest along with
all the remote controls. I brought the headsets I said holding up my bag even though the four
of us had grown up together in Jersey the other three guys seemed to forget about me
unless they needed something in this situation they wanted my Bluetooth headsets place so
calm. [00:50:30]
I’m sorry man said Martin Someone should have gotten word to you that the P S three is gone
that’s all right I said I was sweaty from running over and I’m a big guy the biggest
one in the group and session Doug you weren’t making room for me on the couch so I dropped
into the group planning chair it made a fart sound and stache laughed like a mean dog and
nice one he said that session ever tried to hurt your feelings but he didn’t care if he
did he was a Wall Street guy I guess you could say he was the most successful among us Doug
he was definitely the smartest he was in it Ph D. [00:51:14]
program it and why you do for the human interface in computing is housing was free but he never
had any money. Martin was on the management track at the Apple store and had also been
on track to be the first of us married he and Diana had met in college she was so beautiful
I could never understand when he said that they had argued about some things I would
have just given in to her. [00:51:43]
No matter what. I always gave him. I lived in an apartment that my parents owned on the
Upper East Side they lived in China for tax reasons and provided me a monthly allowance
until I found out what I really wanted to do my father said maybe my weight would have
to come down. [00:52:03]
I could. Start that diet tonight a large pizza with all the toppings was sitting on the coffee
table that meant to slice as per guy. I knew I had the discipline to eat just one I worked
my way off the reclining chair and slid my first and last slice onto a double paper plate. [00:52:26]
After my third bite half slots were gone and I thought to ask Martin what did you mean
that your P S three is gone what was it still one Martin said Diana took it because she
paid for it Doug he spoke up it was a birthday present his voice had changed since he was
fifteen it should have checked its status as a gift during the break up. [00:52:54]
Well said Martin she’s coming back for the flat screen the cake up machine and the lamp
and I need all those more than a P S three c’est surveyed the room. Let’s break all are
****. No said Martin Doug he reached in for his second slice and shut the box something
fluttered to the ground stashed wrapped it like hello there yes it says what was the
worst thing you ever did Martin took the part. [00:53:31]
It’s from a game called sharing better couples therapist gave us. Was supposed to help us
share more of our lives together what was the worst thing we ever did session. When
I was a kid I wanted one of those California license plates for my bike I like to have
blue they were we kept buying this one cereal try to hold California plate then I saw the
girl across the street had one I stole it one day when she left her bike in the driveway
I saw her crying when she found out. [00:54:04]
Her plate was gone I felt so bad I left her an anonymous Christmas present for years until
she moved away. That’s actually very touching said. Sash was the worst thing you ever did.
Jesus. So little choose for. Well. Actually something I did in college you see because
of my awesome grades I was nominated to join this Honor Society one of the components for
eligibility was that I had to do community project so I chose to raise two hundred dollars
for a local food bank I stood outside the student dining hall every day for a week like
a charm trying to get people to donate and we collected about fifty bucks I couldn’t
stand up bar of broccoli another few weeks a scrape up the money so I went to be A.T.M.
took out one hundred fifty bucks of my own money that I had saved from my campus job
put that to the pot. [00:55:12]
Session cleared his throat and grabbed a second slice of pizza way said Martin I don’t get
it that was your own money you put in yeah says that what’s so wrong about that I should
know raise money for that food bank you give someone something free they don’t learn how
to work for. [00:55:38]
All of those people who use food banks or people who’ve lost their jobs or homes that
doesn’t think they’ve got kids to feed let them starve a little look at our large friend
here he said or you may start to mean a single you out but if you with hungry for a few days
I don’t think a lot of people would say that that was a bad thing. [00:56:04]
My face when hot and I licked my lips. You see tonight stash. You’ll see that I skipped
my second slice. So so let the hungry people starve sit down Hell yes that stash when you
try to comfort people in distress you make them weaker the by their own way they’ll be
better off the boat in the long run well well if that’s against the why are we here to comfort
Martin Martin is our friend is not subject to ask you to stick in the street **** IS
WRONG WITH YOU. [00:56:43]
I felt moved to speak up maybe I can say something that made them even unrecognized the pain
that I suffered the worst thing I ever did was kill a bunch of tropical fish I blurted
out the the salt water tank at the dry cleaner I thought they got rid of that because it
was too expensive said Martin I don’t know how the power cord was paired up with the
T.V. cable I’ve climbed on to the dumpster and I quoted everything in the bank died. [00:57:12]
That’s sick so for me I suffered for though I know what I did was was one I couldn’t go
to quite ready I’m after that I love trouble even finish. I have lost everybody by that
Martin said so that dry cleaner run by those hairy people yeah I was said sesh daughter
was hot though she was in my gym class as your she was adopted she got off ended and
I was like pin you limit your give me attitude. [00:57:52]
MARTIN Laughter the first time that I pulled out the second slice he left the box open
and the last slice which would have been my second was sitting there pointing at me. Accusing
me of being an able to resist but I would look dumb he broke his silence by saying guys
I think they killed someone I know I know what killed someone yet the whole flock out
here it’s for real that. [00:58:26]
What happened that’s more. You know what that’s really bridge over like off road yeah we used
to drop rocks out of cars from it. Well when I couldn’t sleep I went out there was the
two in the morning but some parts were still going by picked up this rock I swear it was
the smallest one on in the world it was just a couple I saw a pair of headlights I didn’t
even write what I just kind of flipped it I heard the usual chatter I saw the campers
swerve in hit a tree it sounded like a can being crushed one act said sashed I remember
that accident a piece of the bridge fell a broke the windshield that was on a rock. [00:59:13]
Me the I feel better. So first of all to me but I didn’t love it and from what I saw for
all these years. It’s only one thing left for me to do is to call the cops to get murder
or statute of limitations as it stands. Actually said Martin there is no statute of murder. [00:59:36]
Doug he burst into tears and grabbed his phone call with cops on me right now c’est grabbed
the phone and threw it to the floor he and Martin both held down Duggie as he continued
to well I saw how worried they were for him how much they cared about him how badly they
felt for him I stood up and picked up the entire pizza box I began to eat my second
slice I was a. [01:00:05]
I just needed something to fill up the emptiness inside. The other guys and we call B.S. when
they needed something and sometimes they forgot that I was there duckie forgot that I was
with them that night on the bridge it’s true he did pick up the smallest rock of the world
but I had picked up a chunk of stone that broke it off from the bridge I keep it down
at the same time he threw his pebble and I was A.B. right for the driver’s face. [01:00:35]
As I chewed that cold slice I looked over at the three of the trio at best friends I
thought about what Doug and I were so badly that I could feel awful about killing someone
and then have my best friends hold me. To a. Laugh. I’d like to thank you. [01:01:05]
For inviting me because that’s a bird that I need to also provide in the country for
the people here and also for me to meet them from wonderful organising power and it’s such
an honor to be on this we were all spellbound is now three and three I mean I thought her
before I’d never write every word of her but now you really mean it really isn’t here so
I’ll just say that. [01:01:31]
The Asian American literary is that if I had known that right now I think Crystal and you
and I know about this they were flirting in the then volatility and I think there’s something
really special about this one because of crystal and then you know. That because they’re really
new and I think their work demonstrates the best of the field to both of them as you probably
know have done right here in cross racial conversation and they really look at kind
of critical in the illusions within the I think that I don’t think you can fill I think
there are incredibly critical. [01:02:04]
Really Horton that their new sense of political identity those things are really essential
to making money and the elegant and introduction to the companion brings out the dynamism of
the field and I think there is that sense running through the collections is really
really important and I want to highlight the crystals chronology in the collection just
really wonderful which dates from seven hundred sixty three to forty fourteen which shows
us that you know Asian American Studies maps on to mudder any in the brightest and so on
and it’s really it’s critical to have that kind of intervention and that kind of sweep
and the kind of openness and collection so. [01:02:45]
I as I alluded to I had actually done a couple of similar as this before ever one I just
kind of like cribbed from my first book fill those kind of sleeve and then the other one
I think you know. The other while I like to reading up like you thought when jesus life
is American and I want you but then when it went to any one person was you know this has
to be real and so it was really I just I sat back and I thought what is Asian American
but me are there any current here is there any way it’s such a heterogeneous feel and
so it was just the for and I just wrote it straight it was really exciting project for
me and so thanks to Dan you’ve already produced it I thought I just read a little bit from
it OK So this is a humor. [01:03:30]
In are shot through this content like all works of art. This is Poetry shaped by the
conditions of its creation and poetry with extraordinary portability adaptability to
multiple technologies of scription so that Celtic a as any other with the fires that
are recording that is poetry can be composed recited and remembered anywhere it can be
just old into walls and embedded in the code and then the complex political formation. [01:04:00]
And the complex from political formation of Asia America has produced. Indeed required
a poetry that expresses difficult and even shattering situations marked I raced constraints
within the United States as well that as the burdens of histories and ocean away minority
literature of course is inseparable from the politics of minority identity formation its
existence relies on a shared cultural entity that was the both identifiable inflexible
that Asian American Poetry exists that all is a tribute to is that it premieres in the
heyday of him and he thinks he’s and he’s and his movement era these groundbreaking
are is imagined upin ethnic unity through which experiences are representations ascribed
to particular ethnic groups could be claimed by a new and broader constituency and seeking
outcome and there are commonalities across Asian ethnicity these activists and cover
instances of exclusion of loss not only shrouded by the mainstream but also obscure or even
unknown to the community in question the ground of Asian American Art has that marked up a
singular hardship claimed within a larger collective and the feel of Asian American
poetry that was critically shaped out of twin crises the detention of Chinese immigrants
on Angel Island from the content of a nine hundred forty which damages on the cover of
the book and Japanese interment during the Pacific War the remarkable portrait composer
of these particular instances of incarceration offers a wide spectrum for understanding the
value in the sense that he imposed a cutter and an inscription poetry is a vital mode
for meditating upon a shared condition as well as a means of airing divergent responses
and to read the work of these detainees and internees is to discover the contours of a
collective verse as well as the plea personal reflections it is worth emphasizing however
that this poetry is not zero point yet though this ready coincides with the high of modern
as mania for the Far East that translated Chinese and Japanese verse there’s always
spare and fraught with longing these poets express much more in their minds reading their
poems we discover not only dejection but also fury result in her head you calculation poetry
of course writers such. [01:06:04]
Eleven distinctly formal modes and these checks for work close attention we may uncover a
deepening resonance in even their planes lines so I go on to read a couple of poems in German
and enjoyed a hose but now I’m going to jump to the end of this thing when I talk about
are the limitations of the frame of discontent. [01:06:24]
And yet as broad as discontent is as a river for comprehending this minority poet X. It
does not account for so much of the poetry not collected and read out of the side of
Asian America to isolate this feeling of course is a privilege or historic as the understanding
of Asian American literature and which is that expressed expressions are conditioned
by three situations mergence because it would otherwise be a nonsensical category like all
minority literatures Asian American literature is only legible through political frame and
yet American poets of Asian descent who compose poem after poem that have nothing to do with
the burdens of minority are both going to experience and instead offer a moment of contentment
is that it for life or sheer willingness whether or not this poetry should be considered Asian
American is an open question that has been taken and its extreme as evidence for dramatically
opening recently dissolving the category so I’d like to close this account of what I have
presented as an elegant very heavy vets carried by turning to a particularly vexing with Tamlyn
a contemporary Chinese American poet whose expertise and I are visual are the winds and
mark of many remarkable lineage of Asian American poet deeply informed by the our world and
this is from Lynn’s Field Guide to American painting it’s a little bit long so so this
is when someone I think of the time for poems written with words in the air are reading
poems with feelings in them is long gone today no poem should be written to be read and the
best form of poetry would make all our feelings disappear the moment we’re having them this
sequencing of events constitutes a code more on crack open soothing than anything when
we could actually see paintings to be read poems. [01:08:04]
They looked at a beautiful poem should rewrite itself one have worked at a time in predetermined
intervals with their numerous circuit boards televisions and Peters do this together they
have a micro production I think within the feelings here rather than excess car that’s
a purely intro back if he thinks just because it’s projected out those names excess risk
for things can be more beautiful than anything feel. [01:08:30]
But it isn’t so much for feeling much less for the historicity Ranjan feel discontent
or so it seems in excess of how our lives are purely introverted feelings are buried
with that lens of just the amulet and the view that Aris is itself aspires to the status
of the painting and between the poem and the painting like the circuit board and the cancer
cell facing face then it is in fact eating her between these forms which will be as much
the absence of feeling the welter of the complex mechanism between the property and the painting
lays bare the difficulty of the metaphor and exposes the drug logical work. [01:09:09]
In that’s creating a poem out of the idea that sequences away feeling Lin has recoated
feeling into more durable goods to become crackable this imagined they can see the thing
is finally a consolation and perhaps through a lens new media imagination may return again
to an angel home to reread those lines which I discussed earlier in the essay and this
is why it’s from the poem on the wall of the detention center over a hundred poems around
the walls all pining at the delay progress what can one sad person say to another and
we may find an answer in then just as his poems to be looked at rewrite themselves so
they do the polls on which present so many lives sorry and so do the poems on the wall
of the detention facility speak to and against each other these poems which resent some interim
kinds of writing are projected onto one. [01:10:04]
I go beyond fantasy that canceling the war would be a more beautiful would be more beautiful
than feel visitors to the museum that is made out of the facility in Angel Island discovered
homes look down especially if they don’t reach a nice in a beauty that does not cancel the
wall that transforms it into a work of art with all the inaccessible complexes purely
drove the feelings of those caught within intact to turn a prison wall into something
of great beauty is frankly transformative power of the work of art and it has been the
project of Arab Asian American poets and scholars to preserve in my building continue the significant
labor now working on this at the end of the I see that working on this has made me think
about. [01:10:49]
Think about the concept of consolation so writing this essay has been very generated
for me and so you know I’ve been quite interested in poetry as consolation not as private solace
the public reckoning with racial injury and so that’s you know I think of and I’ve gone
back and looked at the history genealogy of consolation as an ancient art form and one
thing that you see over and over again and that genealogy is the mark of consolatory
writing is this vantage point really of the the stop this the poetic person you know stands
outside the city and looks down at the human plight. [01:11:27]
That he witnesses and that you know what’s important is that you know this is not a place
that the Libyan detachment but a vantage of poetry that expose a social cultural and open
the political conditions from a former distance and thinking about this and knowing that we
would be here tonight I think of. [01:11:47]
That beautiful education which actually you quoted from tonight. You know the beautiful
education of that war as this way and I think in your writing the way that you trace the
movement of the refugees to I think we see that same vantage point which is very beautiful
very human. [01:12:04]
And something a little formal consolation is reckoned so thank you. Well some of the
women. And you don’t have. These four as encampments with other women making you know having families
with children. When I mean they you know I’m working on this thing where I I read the last
couple of **** couples and that that’s part of the identity that they assume and that
they have beyond what is allowed to them in the society you know. [01:13:01]
Some of the women went back home. Never marry their you know people who they had been engaged
to either die or. No longer wanted to continue to have a relationship with them and there
is this thing around they are veterans as difficult as it was where you want to reintegrate
into the post-war. [01:13:25]
Society there was a place for them but the women during wartime while they were kind
as something and to be warriors post-war they were expected to revert to their real world
roles you know and part of what interests me about these women’s. Story is that there’s
something very disturbing about a woman desire to make claims on a society you know not just
to say like look what happened to my body during the war you know which you now face
because what did this to my body experience that you kind of. [01:14:04]
Lionized heart did this to me you know and so what is the question of what is to become
of me is really what is to become of us you know and the answer was like will you go away
you know well and then and we post-war have so much to deal with that like this question
is a really shameful question you know but it’s not one that this is I can address because
it’s our accent and it’s true post-war Vietnam really struggled it had you know the World
Bank had invited I was against it of that so there were a lot there was a lot going
on but there the women themselves. [01:14:43]
Just who they were and the way that they some of them continue to wear their uniforms from
the war time and wore their pigtails the hair in pigtails you know so in a sense they they
were it had stopped time to like they themselves you know and part of my looking at their stories. [01:15:04]
Has to do with trying to. You know. Engage with this question of like how does war and.
And what are the demands. Of a society what happens not just to the individual but to
the environment because that was through very dense jungle that went into Cambodia that
you know it’s not a finite like Strictly you know on this side of the Ford and I think
so there’s a way in which everything spills its border in wartime I think that it’s just
a fact you know everything spills its core I mean what are we looking at in terms of
this refugee crisis right now right when war happens people are moved and they’re on the
move you know and so if you’re not moved by that that is it does it a bureaucratic decision
or whatever an individual does but the fact is everything is in motion especially during
war and yet there. [01:16:04]
Repercussions of that or not I don’t think I did could be faced prior to entering into
a war let alone just so you know. Just above and one of the sections of the Cambridge Companion
is actually learning as I read this is actually like you has said that it is around persons
of war I said Ready very very says it massacring the flightline integration areas which of
course have a part place in recession but again there that’s very real easing of the
ways in which you think about twenty centuries long work Asia right hand fall after terms
of age where their production and sales are you saying exactly what the survey and she
said having this perception that’s about more and if we were to an Internet experience then
I’ll say Korea Vietnam and did work charity as a state three big race you don’t mention
that these women were victims of the Agent Orange and that’s what they can propagate. [01:17:05]
And I mean you didn’t say you didn’t just rush in on your underwear had been the follow
up in the New York federal courts for the first situated in Brooklyn court so I mean
you know this but we don’t take Americans don’t take the responsibility for the Agent
Orange for causing the damage and. [01:17:28]
But now I’m sure you know that one I mean if the American Asian American community supported
that case or about the Agent Orange then there were the been more you know where there were
reparations to correct war situation well it’s interesting when the agent orange question
here in this country and I’m thinking about the borders of consolation there’s an acknowledgement
of that perhaps it impacted us veterans. [01:18:01]
Right so you know like did you people did. Now the logical little bit of credit there
do you know I was saying but it does it’s not legally exist and. It’s just interesting
to me about it like what is what are the parameters you know and knowledge and that could lead
to some degree of consolation. [01:18:22]
For old looking for the beginning there’s a part with terms puts us on the fly through
the you know what if you can help like walk through the. Land. Like. OK So briefly for
those who haven’t read it it’s a chapter called home and you know it’s a tux it’s the first
one side and. [01:18:47]
This young girl was about six and she put the paper weight against her here and it has
a butterfly in it and she has she’s a refugee she’s come to the U.S. She’s in San Diego
with her father and some uncles who are who are right with her on the same boat and she’s
convinced that this butterfly is talking to her and it you know and it’s trapped that
it wants to get out and she says this to the Father and to the uncles like she says you
know I need your help like there’s you know and they say to her you know like that’s not
it’s unnatural basically you know I never heard of anything like that it can’t be a
good thing kind of you know and that night she like whisper to her father what it is
that the butterfly is saying to her right and she says you know she’s a shush shush
rag and he sits up and tells his head and she says What are you doing is it and he said
I’m trying to get out of his butterfly with my years you know and so there is this divide
between the adult world of what is possible and where we are the kind of pragmatism of
flag not being open to that anymore or that that’s a bad that that there’s no good there
let’s not go there. [01:20:05]
Keeping in mind that all of these where all of these man are tired you know they have
an awareness of. Everything that’s happened in a way that the child doesn’t you know so
it’s kind of like the butterflies least of their worries you know but for her it’s really
life you know like when we do it’s making this sound won’t stop like what what do we
do and so that idea of like what can be vocalized and what can’t be or why are you here and
what are you how are you responsible to that hunting so at the very end she takes matters
into her own hands and she throws this paper weight through a glass cabinet where there
are all these glass and those that have been collected by the family that they’re staying
with and they in a sense are also animals that have been collected by this family you
know because one of the ways the girl describes the glass animals is that they’re they’re
not very they don’t have they have nothing you know they’re so clean you know so she
draws the paperweight to do this the butterfly and she ends up breaking these animals and
and the sound is released into the room and so and swishing shisha. [01:21:21]
Sitara is like you know I started gangster when that chapter because I wanted an American
audience to wrap their tongues around the way the thought there says the word star you
know. And to breathe it as he said and that So you know that one of the primary things
in Gangster is it’s about ill and you believe he is about vocalisations that are outside
of language in a sense but still a perforated they’re carrying something and it’s not. [01:21:53]
You know clear what the meaning is but it’s still very pressurized it’s still it’s pregnant
you know silences are pregnant and sound is very sound is pregnant both. What it sounds
shadow of what it can sound so that but don’t take my word for. It I really like just I
mean yeah it’s just my reading but when I make that scene I was working on that scene
and really was building to that moment when it’s released into the. [01:22:26]
Is an audience that is not this. Is a sound that isn’t solely bound by Seth and yet it
holds a line that was like. I haven’t had a chance to read the preface sure about maybe
address some of those I want to hear a little bit more of what are. [01:22:46]
Your thoughts about the process of thinking about how to organize the collection and what
topics come and or not and I was just wondering about the specificity of American literature
a major American. As opposed to your words something like Asian American studies which
some of the other. Collections haven’t organized around or if you’re American history and I
was wondering whether or not there were specific topics that you felt really compound. [01:23:16]
Of this collection that you felt that the revegetation American literature perhaps could
not extend. We were given the charge to hear a sort of state of the art clips of the work.
To do the new cutting edge stuff and it gets really came back to let’s let’s put together
the most useful set of topics. [01:23:39]
We came up with like nine hundred twenty in the precepts to maybe. Some of the creativity
actually came out of that straight because then we realized well how could we get these
twenty topics into fifteen and so we smush them together and we decided to like rely
heavily on co-author ships cooperate so. [01:24:00]
And we we knew there were certain things we knew we needed me. Needed to cover like the
way that loss of her name Asian experience though that was something that an immigrant
in the immigration histories needs to be in there that was all pretty straightforward
and then we thought the way that we could be sort of novel within the constraints was
to foreground war and so that was a big thing like war has been so central to Asian American
experiences that we wanted to put those three chapters in the middle and we wanted to bring
up all the way up to the present because Crystal had mentioned me back when I was in grad school
which I realize is before some of my freshman students were even born which is you know
scary to me. [01:24:39]
And a little bird like it was it was unusual to think of South Asians as part of the Asian
American experience and to a certain extent has become that’s come to feel more comfortable
in the next frontier might be Arabs Middle Eastern. People Americans of a Middle Eastern
descent and and so we actually Srikanth us boss has worked a lot on sort of movement
from South Asian to Arab American and so you know that that was definitely something we
wanted to get in. [01:25:08]
And then we wanted to have a final section that talked about newer approaches and you
subjectivities the disability studies was something we definitely wanted to get in there
and then I mean all in all this explosion of new genres is something so this was sort
of how it came about but the basic question about literature I mean I think one of the
disservice is that is dead to writers sometimes by the sort of historical emphasis in the
political emphasis is that we don’t often get a chance to just say these are **** great
writers he’s my French and we wanted to really. [01:25:44]
Know thank you and he did that one point. But but we really just wanted to say look
this this is really it’s important that this is literature and that we treat it seriously
that that and so we wanted everybody has this sort of historical emphasis but we wanted
essays that real. [01:26:04]
For granted. That these were works of human creation these weren’t sort of like reflections
of historical reality they were shaped by the visual author’s aesthetic perspectives
you know and so I think that in that sense the conservatism of Cambridge worked in our
favor because they wanted you know their target audience I mean like I think what our editor
picture is is somebody who’s in an English department and doesn’t know anything about
Asian American literature but wants to put together a dictionary course we’re at Ajmer
commit to realize to their courses that hopefully our book is our go to for them it’s kind of
like here’s how you can get started you know. [01:26:45]
So but again like we have jobs the writers did a pretty nice big city you know. Job is
to sort of try to amplify you know to sort of be the echo and through that you know to
to further the resonances of the work that we’ve Meyer and by you know we hope it doesn’t. [01:27:05]
I just add that I think there’s a particular conjunction of like inventiveness say that
like Asian American History of the experience and produces as a literary form so one of
the things that we have and we have serious like what you think of as expected John Resig
like poetry drama beautifully you know rendered as you suggested in her reading but also and
this was you know Daniel’s idea that you know there are these kinds of genres like model
minority you know or in family right now it is that are very specific like I had to do
that are kind of grounded in Asian American experience but that are not you know they’re
not what you know what Nicholas Kristoff is I’m NOT have is believing at it that and say
that there is a case that we have are working on those kinds of questions or that the or
the as I say there is we have a chapter on translations right because of the ways in
which Asian American literature we almost just see in this in English very well what
does it mean. [01:28:04]
Think about kind of Asian reckon that our chance of world literature as literature is
it written in the very natural years and how does that change you know even air understand
what it means to tap that is an American experience or subjectivity so there are definitely So
I think when things that we wanted with the chapters that we have this also suggest that
there’s a kind of the imagine it is inventive where you get writers are engaged and that
changes our nation of what is literature and what are the categories literally analysis
that we have and the limits of the ones that we have in my disciplines and has Asian American
Studies in a push us. [01:28:39]
To new places with this it’s generic and critical interventions. Because I was think about this
earlier which is that. Along with the sort of the static invent this of the literature
I mean I think I think it’s also worth acknowledging that some of the most pointed political critiques
come from the writers. [01:29:00]
And so I mean when I wrote the Korean War Vietnam War section and what it thinks we
both wanted to highlight was the fact that the Korean and Vietnam these American population
the U.S. They were all. They were on the side that the U.S. fought where and so that in
those communities one feels about what he sees a lot of anti-communism a lot of Petri
tism in relation the I mean like my parents love America you know and and and so the writers
are generally to the left of that so the the dissent the important this I mean so the literature
is also important because it’s such a vibrant voice of the set and and that’s something
that I think our that we also like to let me with something we believe in it’s something
I think that comes across a lot of the essays. [01:29:51]
I think we’re in a battle that we’re happy to serve speak with you individually and there
is a perception that I love. You and thank.

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