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University of California – Berkeley

1. Clark, Audrey Wu. The Asian American Avant-Garde: Universalist Aspirations in Early Asian American Literature.

Degree: English, 2010, University of California – Berkeley

AbstractThe Asian American Avant-Garde: Universalist Aspirations in Early Asian American LiteraturebyAudrey Wu ClarkDoctor of Philosophy in EnglishUniversity of California, BerkeleyProfessor Colleen Lye, Co-ChairProfessor Richard Cándida Smith, Co-ChairMy project traces a genealogy of universalism in early Asian American literature that led to the panethnic formation of the Asian American literary canon in the 1960s and 1970s. I contribute to the recent criticisms of panethnicity as the organizing principle of the field by arguing that the panethnic paradigm, based solely on the anachronistically imposed alliance of excluded diverse Asian ethnic groups, did not structure early Asian American literature. Instead, I argue that the authors of these early texts represented the racial particularity of their "Asian American" protagonists as universal. The protagonists' performances of universalism exposed the doubleness of American universalism – that is, the failed universalism that excluded racial minorities and the promised inclusive universalism that is yet to come. My conceptualization of Asian American universalism fortifies the theoretical aspect of the sociological paradigm of panethnicity by offering a different and more historically specific approach than the deconstructive readings of political resistance and melancholic abjection that have very recently theorized panethnicity. Since Americanism was conceived through liberal universalism during the period of Asian exclusion (1882-1943), becoming "Asian American" for these authors and their protagonists impossibly and yet productively universalized their racial particularity to their predominantly white audiences. For some critics, Asian American subjectivity is imagined through only the impossibility of Asian American universalism. By contrast, I argue that the Asian American is formed through the dialectic between racial particularity as an "alien ineligible to citizenship" and liberal universalism. The aim of the dialectic in each of the works I study is framed by the historical moment of each work's publication: In my first two chapters on Sui Sin Far's Mrs. Spring Fragrance and Sadakichi Hartmann's and Yone Noguchi's modernist haikus, I demonstrate that their protagonists and poetic personas attempt to claim space within the American literary imagination during the Progressive Era. In the latter two chapters, I examine the ways in which the protagonists of Dhan Gopal Mukerji's Caste and Outcast and Younghill Kang's East Goes West, and Carlos Bulosan's America Is in the Heart employ modernist forms of temporal nonlinearity to transcend the capitalist commodification of linear time during the Popular Front era. Through performances of American racial, gender, and class norms, all of the Asian American protagonists of my study not only reveal the exclusions and limitations of American universalism but also attempt to redeem it by articulating new sets of demands for racial, gender, and class…

Subjects/Keywords: Literature, American; Asian American Studies; Alternative Modernisms; Asian American Literature; Asian American Subjectivity; Early Asian American Literature

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APA (6th Edition):

Clark, A. W. (2010). The Asian American Avant-Garde: Universalist Aspirations in Early Asian American Literature. (Thesis). University of California – Berkeley. Retrieved from http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/5bd17375

Note: this citation may be lacking information needed for this citation format:
Not specified: Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Clark, Audrey Wu. “The Asian American Avant-Garde: Universalist Aspirations in Early Asian American Literature.” 2010. Thesis, University of California – Berkeley. Accessed December 01, 2020. http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/5bd17375.

Note: this citation may be lacking information needed for this citation format:
Not specified: Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Clark, Audrey Wu. “The Asian American Avant-Garde: Universalist Aspirations in Early Asian American Literature.” 2010. Web. 01 Dec 2020.

Vancouver:

Clark AW. The Asian American Avant-Garde: Universalist Aspirations in Early Asian American Literature. [Internet] [Thesis]. University of California – Berkeley; 2010. [cited 2020 Dec 01]. Available from: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/5bd17375.

Note: this citation may be lacking information needed for this citation format:
Not specified: Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation

Council of Science Editors:

Clark AW. The Asian American Avant-Garde: Universalist Aspirations in Early Asian American Literature. [Thesis]. University of California – Berkeley; 2010. Available from: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/5bd17375

Note: this citation may be lacking information needed for this citation format:
Not specified: Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation

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