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Chapter 10 - On Recovering Early Asian American Literature

from Part III - Institutionalization and Canon Formation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 June 2021

Asha Nadkarni
Affiliation:
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Cathy J. Schlund-Vials
Affiliation:
University of Texas, Austin
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Summary

Beginning in the early 1970s, scholars have been recovering an Asian American literary archive. The first anthologies of Asian American literature defined the field in divergent ways. Some focused on US-born writers and a politics of cultural nationalism. Others embraced a wider range of writers and a variety of political positions. The second wave of anthologies and scholarly discussions reacted against more limited views of Asian American literature and extended the field to encompass more women writers, genres such as poetry and drama, works written before the 1960s, and authors from beyond those of East Asian descent. Depending on the particular project, recovery has meant unearthing forgotten writings, revaluing discounted or discredited texts, or rethinking the sociopolitical context of works. Recovery continues today in print and digital editions released by both independent and mainstream publishers. Questions remain about which authors and works deserve recovery, and the stakes are high since inclusion in a canon can serve as a proxy for inclusion in a culture.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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