By Xiaojing Zhou
Asian American literature abounds with advanced depictions of yankee towns as areas that toughen racial segregation and forestall interactions throughout barriers of race, tradition, classification, and gender. although, in towns of Others, Xiaojing Zhou uncovers a far diversified narrative, offering the main finished exam up to now of ways Asian American writers―both celebrated and overlooked―depict city settings. Zhou is going past reading well known portrayals of Chinatowns via paying equivalent recognition to lifestyles in different elements of the town. Her cutting edge and wide-ranging process sheds new gentle at the works of chinese language, Filipino, Indian, jap, Korean, and Vietnamese American writers who undergo witness to a number of city studies and reimagine the yankee urban as except a segregated nation-space.
Drawing on serious theories on area from city geography, ecocriticism, and postcolonial stories, Zhou exhibits how spatial association shapes id within the works of Sui Sin a long way, Bienvenido Santos, Meena Alexander, Frank Chin, Chang-rae Lee, Karen Tei Yamashita, and others. She additionally indicates how the standard practices of Asian American groups problem racial segregation, reshape city areas, and redefine the id of the yank urban. From a reimagining of the nineteenth-century flaneur determine in an Asian American context to supplying a framework that enables readers to work out ethnic enclaves and American towns as collectively constitutive and transformative, Zhou offers us a provocative new approach to comprehend essentially the most vital works of Asian American literature.
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Additional info for Cities of Others: Reimagining Urban Spaces in Asian American Literature
Although she has taught in Chinatown for a year, Miss Mason remains an outsider; she is unaware of Ku Yum’s cross-dressing— which is known to Ku Yum’s playmates and the Chinatown community. Without intimate interactions with the Chinatown residents, Miss Mason’s participatory observation proves to be inadequate in knowing the Other. And her patronizing sense of duty enhanced by her assumption of the father’s lack of parenting responsibilities compounds her blindness. The implied mutually informative relationship between Miss Mason’s subject position and her interpretive gaze undermines the privileged visual sense and its mastery of the urban scenes and, with it, the knowledge about the Other, as well as the authority in the interpretive power of the white male journalist, the 39 40 CHAPTER 1 photographer, and the ethnographic fiction writer portraying Chinatown.
Alexander re-represents the city as “American space” by allowing her female Asian Indian characters to inhabit the city through border crossings, transformative encounters, subversive memories, and artistic as well as social activism. Drawing on postcolonial and feminist theories, I highlight the relationship between the raced, gendered body and the metropolitan space in the subject formation of South Asian women immigrants and diasporans, whose actual and symbolic crossings of streets in New York City mobilize a transformative process of both the postcolonial female subject and the American city.
8 The intersections of racial formation and the fear of an impending epidemic catastrophe in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Shah contends, created “a new articulation of space and race” that made Chinatown “a singular and separate place that henceforth could be targeted in official inspections and popular commentary” (24–25). The production of fear reinforces the boundaries of the raced body and space. Discourses on medicine and social morality played a significant part in the networks of racial identity and knowledge production.