Since the publication of The Woman Warrior in 1976, Maxine Hong Kingston has gained a reputation as one of the most popular—and controversial—writers in the Asian American literary tradition. This book traces her development as a writer and cultural activist through both ethnic and feminist discourses, investigating her novels, occasional writings, and her two-book ‘life-writing project’. The publication of The Woman Warrior not only propelled Kingston into the mainstream literary limelight, but also precipitated a vicious and ongoing controversy in Asian American letters over the authenticity—or fakery—of her cultural references. This book traces the debates through the appearance of China Men (1981), as well as the novel Tripmaster Monkey (1989) and her most recent work The Fifth Book of Peace.
A sian American literature by women is increasingly attracting critical attention as an important sub genre of American literature. Current debates over the literary canon, the changing profile of literary and cultural studies, the increasing presence of women’s and ethnic writing both within and beyond the canon may all explain the increasing popularity of AsianAmerican women’s writing both within the US and beyond its geographical borders. Yet, the critical debate on AsianAmerican women’s writing has barely begun when compared with
popularity as a feminist writer, she deserves recognition as a pacifist writer and activist, and that we need to reconceive of her work as part of an on-going pacifist project. I make the claim that Kingston can be considered alongside other AsianAmerican authors, notably Le-Ly Hayslip, as contributing towards the evolution of an AsianAmerican women’s peace literature.
Kingston as poet and peacemaker
‘I have almost finished my longbook,’ says Maxine Hong Kingston in To Be the Poet (2002). ‘Let my life as a poet begin
According to the author, queer as an identification and subjectivity is important to his writing of transnational South Asian art histories. This book talks about new transnational South Asian art histories, to make visible histories of artworks that remain marginalised within the discipline of art history. This is done through a deliberate 'productive failure', by not upholding the strictly genealogical approach. The book discusses authorship by examining the writing about the work of Anish Kapoor to explore the shifting manner in which critics and art historians have identified him and his work. It focuses on the author's own identification as queer and South Asian American to put pressure on the coherency of an LGBTQI art history. It connects formal similarities of abstract work produced in the 1960s in New York City by Cy Twombly and Natvar Bhavsar. The book deals with an art history that concerns facile categories such as South Asian/non-South Asian and black/white, and discusses the works of Stephen Dean, Mario Pfeifer, Adrian Margaret Smith Piper, and Kehinde Wiley. It focuses on practice-led research by discussing 'Sphere:dreamz,; which was produced by queer-identified South Asian women. Continuing the focus, the book looks at the multi-site exhibition 'Mixing It Up: Queering Curry Mile and Currying Canal Street', organised by the author in 2007. It addresses the question of how certain subjects are considered as 'belonging' and others as not; and the role of art in the reconstitution of notions of 'home' and transnational South Asian art histories.
I want to change the world through artistic pacifist means. (Maxine Hong Kingston, 1991)
‘The beginning is hers’: the political and literary legacies of Maxine Hong Kingston
In 1989, Maxine Hong Kingston expressed her pleasure at the blossoming of AsianAmerican literature: ‘Something wonderful is happening right at this moment … Amy Tan published The Joy Luck Club , and Hisaye Yamamoto published Seventeen Syllables , Frank Chin has a collection of short stories, and I think maybe
The election of Barack Obama was a milestone in US history with tremendous symbolic importance for the black community. But was this symbolism backed up by substance? Did ordinary black people really benefit under the first black president? This is the question that Andra Gillespie sets out to answer in Race and the Obama Administration. Using a variety of methodological techniques—from content analysis of executive orders to comparisons of key indicators, such as homeownership and employment rates under Clinton, Bush, and Obama— the book charts the progress of black causes and provides valuable perspective on the limitations of presidential power in addressing issues of racial inequality. Gillespie uses public opinion data to investigate the purported disconnect between Obama’s performance and his consistently high ratings among black voters, asking how far the symbolic power of the first black family in the White House was able to compensate for the compromises of political office. Scholarly but accessible, Race and the Obama Administration will be of interest to students and lecturers in US politics and race studies, as well as to general readers who want to better understand the situation of the black community in the US today and the prospects for its improvement.
Form: queer zen
In the summer of 2012 I participated in the National Endowment for the
Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute programme titled ‘Re-envisioning
American Art History: AsianAmerican Art, Research, and Teaching’.1 Margo
Machida, one of the pioneers of exploring artworks by artists of Asian descent
through a transnational lens, and Alexandra Chang, curator of special projects
and the director of global arts programs at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute research centre at New York University (NYU), organized the intensive
three-week programme and
‘ian culture – she describes it as ‘ kapu ’, or taboo – is very strong here. This clashes with her own sense of herself as an insider by way of her ancestral history, yet she, like her grandparents before her, nevertheless remains externally designated as something of an outsider, not ‘kama‘āina’, a quite charged Hawai‘ian term which translates as ‘native’. Hawai‘ian AsianAmerican critic Stephen Sumida has discussed the politics of the ‘local’ in Hawai‘i at some length in his study of Hawai‘ian literatures, And the View From the Shore: Literary Traditions of Hawai‘i . The
There is no soundtrack is a specific yet expansive study of sound tactics deployed in experimental media art today. It analyses how audio and visual elements interact and produce meaning, drawing from works by contemporary media artists ranging from Chantal Akerman, to Nam June Paik, to Tanya Tagaq. It then links these analyses to discussions on silence, voice, noise, listening, the soundscape, and other key ideas in sound studies. In making these connections, the book argues that experimental media art – avant-garde film, video art, performance, installation, and hybrid forms – produces radical and new audio-visual relationships that challenge and destabilize the visually-dominated fields of art history, contemporary art criticism, cinema and media studies, and cultural studies as well as the larger area of the human sciences. This book directly addresses what sound studies scholar Jonathan Sterne calls ‘visual hegemony’. It joins a growing body of interdisciplinary scholarship that is collectively sonifying the study of culture while defying the lack of diversity within the field by focusing on practitioners from transnational and diverse backgrounds. Therefore, the media artists discussed in this book are of interest to scholars and students who are exploring aurality in related disciplines including gender and feminist studies, queer studies, ethnic studies, postcolonial studies, urban studies, environmental analysis, and architecture. As such, There Is No Soundtrack makes meaningful connections between previously disconnected bodies of scholarship to build new, more complex and reverberating frameworks for the study of art, media, and sound.