CFP: CAALS@AAAS 2020, April 9-11, 2020, Washington, DC

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Call for Papers: CAALS@AAAS 2020
Circle for Asian American Literary Studies
April 9–11, 2020, Washington, D.C.

Troubling Fictions: Reassessing the Politics of Asian American Literature

a 2-part panel sponsored by CAALS

As the infamous Kingston-Chin debates between cultural nationalism and feminism as well as the AAAS book award controversy around Blu’s Hanging make starkly evident, literature can prove troublesome for our fantasies about Asian America as a political and intellectual coalition. Indeed, in theorizing such fissures, the field of Asian American literary studies indexes both the possibilities and the limitations of a capacious “Asian America” even as it remains “a rubric we cannot not use,” as Susan Koshy famously remarked. Scholars have articulated the generative troublemaking power of Asian American literatures to interrogate state technologies such as the contradictions of citizenship, the racialized necropolitics of U.S. imperialism and neocolonialism, and the biopolitical manufacture of model minoritization. Yet, what if we consider the panethnic signifier of “Asian American” itself as a “troubling fiction”? That is, as not just that which troubles but is also incessantly troubled. How might texts trouble common expectations or demands about the politics, characteristics, thematic and formal qualities of “Asian American literature”? Conversely, to what extent does troubling “Asian American literature” challenge the political work that literary studies asks the aesthetic object to perform? To contemplate these questions, we invite papers that analyze newer works, shine light on previously neglected texts, or offer rereadings of canonical works to reassess the politics and uses of Asian American literature in response to the shifting contexts and political urgencies of our times. 

We envision two, linked panels to be held at the Association for Asian American Studies annual conference. Please submit a 250-word abstract and a two-page CV to Chris Eng (ceng02 [at] syr.edu) and Douglas Ishii (douglas_ishii [at] emerson.edu) by September 18, 2019. CAALS is an international organization of scholars, teachers, writers, and students of Asian American literature. We welcome scholars at all career stages.