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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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The Ironic Temporalities of Cultural Nationalism

The Ironic Temporalities of Cultural Nationalism

(p.48) Two The Ironic Temporalities of Cultural Nationalism
The Semblance of Identity
Stanford University Press

Asian American Studies as a discipline continues to be informed by the political objectives of cultural nationalism, yet critics have repeatedly exposed the nativism, misogyny, and homophobia embedded in its constructions of identity. Despite their emphasis on the mimetic capabilities of literature and the possibility of realism, cultural nationalist critics and writers repeatedly sought to align textual content with the historical terrain in which praxis is actualized. In this sense, realism demands a close connection between the temporality of the text and the time of history. Moreover, cultural nationalism assumed an idealized critical subject for whom the history and realities of racism are accessible as knowledge. This chapter examines cultural nationalism and its ironic temporalities by focusing on literary criticism by Bruce Iwasaki and writings by Frank Chin, along with their claims about the agency of the author. It considers how such claims coexist uneasily with the temporal protocols of political discourse and literary representation.

Keywords:   Asian American Studies, cultural nationalism, identity, literature, realism, temporality, literary criticism, Bruce Iwasaki, Frank Chin, literary representation

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