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Race and ResistanceLiterature and Politics in Asian America$
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Viet Thanh Nguyen

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195146998

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195146998.001.0001

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A Crisis of Representation

(p.3) Introduction
Race and Resistance

Viet Thanh Nguyen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the way critics have tended to read Asian American literature, as cultural works that demonstrate resistance or accommodation to the racist, sexist, and capitalist exploitation of Asian immigrants and Asian Americans, may be as much a reflection of the critics' professional histories, political priorities, and institutional locations than as what may be found in historically-framed, close readings of the works themselves. Furthermore, the relationship of critics to literature parallels the relationship of Asian American intellectuals generally to Asian America. Instead of resistance or accommodation, the chapter argues for using the same flexible strategies often chosen by authors and characters to navigate their political and ethical situations. These flexible strategies are an outcome of the ideological diversity of Asian American populations, which is often overlooked by Asian American intellectuals intent on uncovering only resistance.

Keywords:   accommodation, Asian American, critics, diversity, immigrant, intellectuals, literature, resistance

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