Race, Gender, Nation, and the Literatures of Postcolonial East Asian Diasporas


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships




This project explores the often obscured connections among heterogeneous Asian diasporas, colonial memories of Japanese empire, the global and local politics of racial hierarchy, and the emergence of post-war US hegemony, with a focus on transnational mobilizations and within the critical framework of interdisciplinary comparative race studies. The Japanese colonial empire emerged as one of the world's preeminent imperialist powers in the New Age of Imperialism. Nonetheless, it remains almost entirely absent from the expanding archive of postcolonial scholarship. This project elucidates how the postcolonial outlook helps to unmask the colonial-era origins of historical inequalities and ingrained racial discrimination that are particularly represented in the literatures of East Asian diasporas, but also analyzes how postcolonial studies perpetuate the colonial East-West dichotomy, keeping the historical relationships between Imperial Japan and its colonized subjects from being recognized. To this end, this project draws attention to the historical and contemporary political representations of East Asian diasporas in broadly framed Asian American literary texts as well as in East Asian diasporic films while examining the practices and loci of postcolonial East Asian diasporic politics.