Sonic Displacement, Sonic Placemaking: The Poetics of Diaspora in Yoko Tawada, Jessica Hagedorn, M.I.A., and Cathy Park Hong


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This project investigates the relationship between literature, sound, and displacement in the work of Asian diasporic writers. Combining sound studies practices with a phenomenological approach to literary texts, the study listens closely to the sonic irruptions within Jessica Hagedorn’s Filipino-American immigrant punk-rock novel “The Gangster of Love”; Sri Lankan/British rapper M.I.A.’s first and second albums “Arular” and “Kala”; Korean-American poet Cathy Park Hong’s patois-inventing, book-length sequence “Dance Dance Revolution”; and selected essays, poems, and stories of the Japanese-German author Yoko Tawada. In developing new readings of diasporic texts—readings that argue for the indispensability of diasporic literature within a larger literary and social discourse—the project also seeks to contribute toward a new critical framework for reading sound in literature, one that foregrounds sonic irruptions and the ways in which they can be heard as sites of rupture in hegemonies of language.