Inter-referencing Asian Canadian Studies: imagining diasporic possibility outside the (Canadian) nation
Christine KIM and Christopher LEE
ABSTRACT This paper proposes to use inter-Asian methodologies to reread Asian Canadian Studies. As an intellectual and political project, Asian Canadian Studies has largely been constituted through its responses to the Canadian nation-state and anti-racism alliances but has failed to seriously engage with Asia as a critical problematic. Informed by theories and practices of inter-referencing developed through inter-Asia critique, we reconsider the specific pressures, local debates, and historical moments that have produced the field’s central arguments and reframe the field as a series of localized reference points in dialogue with each other as well as with Asia. We conclude by turning to Madeleine Thien’s novel Dogs at the Perimeter in order to ask what it might mean to localize Asian Canadian Studies and reposition it as part of a transpacific rather than nation-based formation.
KEYWORDS: Inter-referencing; Asian Canadian Studies; diaspora; nation; decolonizing
Notes on contributors
Christine Kim is Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University. Her teaching and research focus on Asian North American literature and theory, diaspora studies, and cultural studies. She is the author of The Minor Intimacies of Race (University of Illinois Press, 2016) and co-editor of Cultural Grammars of Nation, Diaspora and Indigeneity (Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2012). She has contributed chapters to essay collections on Asian Canadian literature and theatre and published articles in Interventions, Mosaic, Studies in Canadian Literature and Journal of Intercultural Studies. Christine is co-director of SFU’s Institute of Transpacific Cultural Research. Currently she is working on a SSHRC funded book-length project on representations of North Korea, cultural fantasies, and Cold War legacies.
Christopher Lee is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies Program at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of The Semblance of Identity: Aesthetic Mediation in Asian American Literature (Stanford University Press, 2012). He recently co-edited special issues of Canadian Literature (“Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation”) and Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas (“Beyond Canada 150: Asian Canadian Visual Cultures”). He is currently Associate Editor of American Quarterly.