Compositional Subjects: Enfiguring Asian/American Women / Edition 1

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Overview

In Compositional Subjects Laura Hyun Yi Kang explores the ways that Asian/American women have been figured by mutually imbricated modes of identity formation, representation, and knowledge production. Kang’s project is simultaneously interdisciplinary scholarship at its best and a critique of the very disciplinary formations she draws upon.
The book opens by tracking the jagged emergence of “Asian American women” as a distinct social identity over the past three decades. Kang then directs critical attention to how the attempts to compose them as discrete subjects of consciousness, visibility, and action demonstrate a broader, ongoing tension between socially particularized subjects and disciplinary knowledges. In addition to the shifting meanings and alignments of “Asian,” “American,” and “women,”  the book examines the discourses, political and economic conditions, and institutional formations that have produced Asian/American women as generic authors, as visibly desirable and desiring bodies, as excludable aliens and admissible citizens of the United States, and as the proper labor for transnational capitalism. In analyzing how these enfigurations are constructed and apprehended through a range of modes including autobiography, cinematography, historiography, photography, and ethnography, Kang directs comparative attention to the very terms of their emergence as Asian/American women in specific disciplines.
Finally, Kang concludes with a detailed examination of selected literary and visual works by Korean women artists located in the United States and Canada, works that creatively and critically contend with the problematics of identification and representation that are explored throughout the book. By underscoring the forceful and contentious struggles that animate all of these compositional gestures, Kang proffers Asian/American women as a vexing and productive figure for cultural, political and epistemological critique.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Laura Hyun Yi Kang’s poised and tactful critique will greatly advance our understanding of the important social crises figured in the representation of ‘Asian’ women within the discourses of literary studies, cinema, history and historiography, and social science throughout the last century. Compositional Subjects is both a critique of the ideological and epistemological stakes of disciplinary formations and a bold exemplary work of interdisciplinarity itself.”—Lisa Lowe, author of Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822328988
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books
  • Publication date: 6/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 354
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.82 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Hyun Yi Kang is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 Generic Fixations: Reading the Writing Self 29
Ch. 2 Cinematic Projections: Marking the Desirous Body 71
Ch. 3 Historical Reconfigurations: Delineating Asian women as/not American Citizens 114
Ch. 4 Disciplined Embodiments: Si(gh)ting Asian/American Women as Transnational Labor 164
Ch. 5 Compositional Struggles: Re-membering Korean/American Women 215
Notes 271
Bibliography 323
Index 349
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