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The Semblance of IdentityAesthetic Mediation in Asian American Literature$
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Christopher Lee

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804778701

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804778701.001.0001

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Introduction The Post-Identity Condition

Introduction The Post-Identity Condition

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction The Post-Identity Condition
Source:
The Semblance of Identity
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804778701.003.0001

This book explores Asian American culture and politics by focusing on the notion of identity. It considers how the critique of identity politics has reconfigured the parameters of Asian American Studies and traces the persistence of what it calls the “idealized critical subject,” a theoretical figure that operates throughout Asian American literary culture and cultural criticism. To understand the fraught relationship between identity politics and literary representation, the book analyzes texts from different moments in the history of Asian American literature, including those by Eileen Chang, Frank Chin, Maxine Hong Kingston, Chang-rae Lee, Michael Ondaatje, and Jose Garcia Villa. It looks at the referential limits of Asian America while remaining cognizant of its so-called “real-life referents.” The book also examines Georg Lukács's History and Class Consciousness, which illustrates how the relationship between knowledge and subjectivity can be theorized through an idealized critical subject.

Keywords:   identity politics, Asian American Studies, Asian American literature, idealized critical subject, literary representation, Asian America, Georg Lukács, History and Class Consciousness, Eileen Chang, Jose Garcia Villa

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