The new formalism may no longer be so new, but its call to reinvigorate the study of form continues to be heard, as two recent books on Asian American literature can attest. While it is true that Asian American studies has traditionally favored historical or sociopolitical approaches to literature, the formal turn of the last decade or so has produced a growing body of scholarship to which we can now add Josephine Park’s Cold War Friendships and Amy Tang’s Repetition and Race.1 The new formalism has unevenly pursued questions of race and racial formation as compared, for instance, to its scrutiny of gender, sexuality, or class. Park and Tang make significant contributions to that scholarship by dint of their subject matter alone, but more than this, they sketch out something like a distinct Asian American epistemology—an inquiry into how Asian American literature might...

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