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Asian American Literature in Transition Volume Three: 1965–1996 offers a multidisciplinary perspective on the political and aesthetic stakes of what is now recognizable as an Asian American literary canon. It takes as its central focus the connections among literature, history, and migration, exploring how the formation of Asian American literary studies is necessarily inflected by demographic changes, student activism, the institutionalization of Asian American studies within the U.S. academy, U.S foreign policy (specifically the Cold War and conflicts in Southeast Asia), and the emergence of 'diaspora' and 'transnationalism' as important critical frames. Moving through sections that consider migration and identity, aesthetics and politics, canon formation, and transnationalism and diaspora, this volume tracks predominant themes within Asian American literature to interrogate an ever-evolving field. It features nineteen original essays by leading scholars, and is accessible to beginners in the field and more advanced researchers alike.
This chapter studies the work of memory in the domain of non-reconciled human rights, with respect to the cultural representations of the authoritarian Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. The work of memory, the author suggests, takes place outside the ambit of international human rights actors such as states and non-governmental organizations, and also that of conventional legal and juridical methods that are used to redress violations. To illustrate this point, she charts the history of the so called “Pol Pot time,” especially by means of a close reading of Rithy Panh’s 2011 memoir, The Elimination: A Survivor of the Khmer Rouge Confronts His Past and the Commandant of the Killing Fields. Bringing these postulations to the present moment, the chapter closes with a discussion of the United Nations/Khmer Rouge Tribunal.
This chapter explores why Lisa Lowe's essay on Heterogeneity, Hybridity, Multiplicity: Asian American Differences, from her book Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics, and its related focus on clearing a space for diaspora and transnationalism, was so instrumental in creating a paradigmatic shift in the ways in which literary scholars approached questions of inclusions and exclusion within Asian American studies. It explores why this essay struck such a responsive chord among Asian Americanist scholars and writers. While the conceptual framework that Lowe advanced in heterogeneity, hybridity and multiplicity has been foundational within Asian American literary studies, it is also notable for ushering in new forms of critique. In an increasingly neoliberal moment, there is an ever-likely danger of further homogenization of the Asian subject. Lowe's essay serves as an important reminder of the need for literary critique to think through the structuring differences of heterogeneity, hybridity, and multiplicity.