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 rethink the conventional ways of...
Cold War Friendships: Korea, Vietnam, and Asian American Literature by Josephine Nock-Hee Park; Repetition and Race: Asian American Literature after Multiculturalism by Amy Tang
Elda Tsou is associate professor in the Department of English at St. John’s University. Her first book, Unquiet Tropes: Form, Race, and Asian American Literature, reconceived Asian American literature as a set of classical rhetorical tropes figuring specific historical problematics. Her next book argues that the special affinity defining the relationship of the Asian American subject to whiteness articulates an alternate model of racialization that she calls a “politics of proximity.”
Elda Tsou; Cold War Friendships: Korea, Vietnam, and Asian American Literature by Josephine Nock-Hee Park; Repetition and Race: Asian American Literature after Multiculturalism by Amy Tang. Twentieth-Century Literature 1 March 2020; 66 (1): 147–156. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-8196751
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