Asian American Women's Popular Literature: Feminizing Genres by Pamela Thoma

By Pamela Thoma

Popular style fiction written by way of Asian American girls and that includes Asian American characters won a marketplace presence within the past due 20th and early twenty-first centuries. those “crossover” books—mother-daughter narratives, chick lit, detective fiction, and nutrients writing—attempt to bridge ethnic audiences and a broader analyzing public. In Asian American Women's well known Literature, Pamela Thoma considers how those books either depict modern American-ness and give a contribution significantly to public discussion approximately nationwide belonging.
Novels akin to Michelle Yu and Blossom Kan’s China Dolls and Sonia Singh’s Goddess for Hire, or mysteries together with Sujata Massey’s Girl in a Box and Suki Kim’s The Interpreter, reveal Asian American women’s ambivalence in regards to the trappings and prescriptions of mainstream American society. Thoma exhibits how those writers’ works handle some of the pressures on ladies to control their roles relating to relations and finances—reconciling the calls for of labor, buyer tradition, and motherhood—in a neoliberal society.

A quantity within the American Literatures Initiative.

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Extra resources for Asian American Women's Popular Literature: Feminizing Genres and Neoliberal Belonging

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6 Given neoliberalism’s investments in changing governance, citizenship, and subjectivity, we should understand NMD as a public response to these changes and a site for managing anxieties about them as well as providing affective experience, although not always the comfort of containment, in the cultural sphere. Illustrating the interplay between popular culture media forms and formats, and the dissolving boundaries between culture, commerce, and 42╇ /╇ asian american mother-daughter narrative politics, NMD is a deeply developed formation of print, visual, and digital intertexts.

Further, my understanding of popular literature includes how genres are particularly dynamic during periods of intense change, since to be legible as popular genres they must engage dominant social knowledge (Hariman 19). Most importantly, and with a focus on authors’ textual negotiation of citizenship discourses as instructive narrative practices, my inquiry heeds concerns about the critical tendency to read texts “in the manner of an insurance adjuster” (Jun 5). Asian American Women’s Popular Literature aims to balance the critical goal to profile “Asian Americans as agents in the production of popular culture” with awareness of how popular texts may compel and shape neoliberal citizen-subjects in the model of the aspiring individual that dares not fail (Davé, Nishime, and Oren xiv, 1–2).

Or, processes such as “accommodation,” “assimilation,” “inclusion,” and “Americanization” have been retrieved from the dustbin of rigid interpretation for more nuanced analysis. Scholars acknowledge that, rather than being entirely free agents of creative expression and political vision, “authors’ choices are constrained by the discursive fields they enter” (P. 48 For example, Anupama Jain argues that especially in the context of contemporary global migration and diasporas, anxieties about belonging and identity are endemic; as well, “‘becoming American’ should be interpreted as a process in which there is always some aspect of volition, adaptation to the country combined with the maintenance of ethnic or other identifications predating immigration, an inevitable ambivalence about transformations that are engendered by migration” (20).

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