TitleAttending the languages of the other
NameNakamura, Rika (author), Busia, Abena (chair), Shen, Shuang (internal member), Spellmeyer, Kurt (internal member), Schalow, Paul (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectLiteratures in English,
American literature--Asian American authors--History and criticism,
Literature--Asian American authors
DescriptionThis dissertation engages in an examination of three Asian North American authors' acts of reclaiming "Asia." I discuss the attempts made by Mitsuye Yamada, Joy Kogawa, and Nora Okja Keller to recuperate their ancestral land as a force that intervenes in their normative North American perceptions, discursive practices, and subject constructions. Despite the current popularities in the Asian North Americanists' transnationalist, diasporic, and/or internationalist reclaimings of "Asia," what has been rarely explored is the ways in which "Asia" emerges in these authors' narratives as the Other that intervenes, disrupts, and problematizes their North American part of perceptions and experiences. It is this exploration I undertake.
My dissertation also investigates how my authors negotiate their need to seek recognitions from their dominant nations and to simultaneously disrupt the traditional and hegemonic narratives by which they procure those recognitions. In particular, I will look at the ways in which my authors reconstruct the memories of World War II: the North American internment, the atomic bombing in Japan, Japanese colonialism and sexual enslavement of Korean women as well as the difficulties of narrativizing those memories within the North American context. Through these acts, my authors try to delineate, explore, and redress their present state of racial-ethnic experience and to seek the forms of political subjectivities in North America.
I submit that this process of negotiation, the simultaneous claiming and disclaiming each author engages, is closely connected with their endeavor to envision "Asia." All three authors try to read, configure, and make sense of this signifier of Otherness and to attend the (non)languages of the Other which they initially dismissed as silence and/or noises. The dissertation explores how my three authors perceive, in their different ways, their Asian Other's linguistic articulations as what makes them interrogate their normative North American perceptions and discursive practices. Consequently, I argue that the "two languages" the authors try to access enables them to destabilize their singular perspective and vision, allowing them to interrogate their own monolingualist normality. Finally, I investigate some instances in which this act of attending can also risk becoming an act of owning and possessing.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 230-248)
Noteby Rika Nakamur
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.