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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Department of English

UCLA

This series is automatically populated with publications deposited by UCLA Department of English researchers in accordance with the University of California’s open access policies. For more information see Open Access Policy Deposits and the UC Publication Management System.

Cover page of An Empathetic Art: Renwen 仁文 Masculinity in Asian American Literature

An Empathetic Art: Renwen 仁文 Masculinity in Asian American Literature

(2021)

This essay advances an Asian American masculinity that blends the Confucian ideals of ren 仁 [benevolence, mutual care] and wen 文 [literacy, artistry, cultivation] with the feminist ethic of care. Through the works of David Wong Louie, Russell C. Leong, and Viet Thanh Nguyen, I advance a unique Asian American legacy, and inscribe a new benchmark for masculinity in the literary arts. For Asian Americans historically threatened with (ex)termination, and now, by anti-Asian violence around the Covid-19 plague), renwen is a survival imperative.

Cover page of (Refugee) Children's Stories: Untold Truths from the San Fernando Valley Refugee Children Center

(Refugee) Children's Stories: Untold Truths from the San Fernando Valley Refugee Children Center

(2021)

This volume was produced in collaboration with the San Fernando Valley Refugee Children Center, an organization committed to supporting unaccompanied minors who are seeking asylum after making the dangerous journey from Central America to the United States. Looking across the U.S. southern border, it draws together vivid first-person accounts from children at the SFVRCC with current research and testimonials from immigration attorneys, trauma therapists, and case workers to form a kind of children’s book for adults–that is, for the children to narrate and for adults to listen to. This collaborative project thus challenges the current discourse surrounding refugee experience and immigration policy by documenting and sharing the untold stories of the families involved. Together with our partners at the SFVRCC, we hope to educate and mobilize readers by providing a more holistic understanding of the refugee experience through the voices of those who have been excluded from the very discussions and structures that shape their lives.

Cover page of 《女战士对抗太平洋中国佬:华裔美国批评家非得选择女性主义或英雄主义吗?》张琼惠翻译

《女战士对抗太平洋中国佬:华裔美国批评家非得选择女性主义或英雄主义吗?》张琼惠翻译

(2021)

This article extends the terms of debate in Western feminism by analyzing the gender politics within Asian American cultural studies. On account of historical "emasculation" of Asian American men (exclusion laws, labor restrictions, cultural stereotyping, etc), Chinese American male writers feel the need to reassert manhood through heroic literary portrayal. I urge these writers to recover a cultural space without denigrating the "feminine" and to redefine heroism by transcending binaries.

Cover page of “Talk-Story: Counter-Memory in Maxine Hong Kingston's China Men.”

“Talk-Story: Counter-Memory in Maxine Hong Kingston's China Men.”

(2021)

This article interprets Kingston's China Men as "historiographic metafiction"--a revisionist novel which counters traditional historiography with an alternative mode of telling and reimagines the past to make room for a different future. Kingston's "talk story" technique allows her, by inter­ weaving oral and literary traditions and a polyphonic multiplicity of narratives, to fracture and subvert both Chinese patriarchal and white American authority. Like Foucault's genealogy, talk-story · thus "fragments what was thought unified" by decentering, disseminating and interrogating authority. But Kingston embellishes historical data and received myths with imagined details; she mixes fact and fantasy to herald a world grounded in reciprocity rather than domination.

Cover page of National Self-Critique Prompted by Immersion in (An)Other Culture: Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, Xu Zhimo, and Pearl Buck

National Self-Critique Prompted by Immersion in (An)Other Culture: Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, Xu Zhimo, and Pearl Buck

(2021)

This essay reveals how three closely related writers looked askance at their native cultures through their visceral identification with foreign cultures. Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, a Cambridge don, helped Chinese poet Xu Zhimo enroll as a special student at King’s College, and Xu became lifelong friends of several Bloomsbury members. Pearl Buck admitted that two of her fictional characters were based on Xu, who was widely believed to be the Chinese writer who prevented The Good Earth from being cut by her editor. Dickinson idealized Chinese culture and published a series of articles chastising England for its materialism and gunboat policies toward China. Xu, who admired the British Romantic poets, spoke out against repressive Confucian propriety. Buck, who translated and extolled the Chinese classic Water Margin, wrote scathing critiques about American missionaries and testified against the Chinese Exclusion Acts before Congress.

Cover page of (Mis)interpretations and (In)justice: The 1992 Los Angeles ‘Riots’ and ‘Black-Korean Conflict.

(Mis)interpretations and (In)justice: The 1992 Los Angeles ‘Riots’ and ‘Black-Korean Conflict.

(2021)

This article combines legal, sociological, and literary scholarship. Taking the lead from scholars of Critical Race Theory who have shown how African Americans and Korean Americans were positioned agonistically in People v. Soon Ja Du and in the media accounts about the LA uprising, I submit that “The Court Interpreter” by Ty Pak at once impugns and underwrites the oppositional racial identities dictated by the “master narrative.” Part III opens with Cheung’s interracial analysis of what she describes as “(mis)interpretations and (in)justice” during the 1992 Los Angeles “Riots” and “Black-Korean Conflict” (2005). Here, Cheung draws on fictional and legal material where racial issues are interpreted and misinterpreted within the context of a highly charged racialized climate in 1992 on the heels of the verdict that exonerated four white policemen captured on video as brutally beating Rodney King.

Cover page of “Ethnic Ethic and Aesthetic: Russell C. Leong and Marilyn Chin

“Ethnic Ethic and Aesthetic: Russell C. Leong and Marilyn Chin

(2021)

This essay takes issue with the subordination of aesthetics to ethics in Ethical Literary Criticism. Ethics and aesthetics must coexist for either to realize its full value through literature. For any ethical lesson to take hold, it must be presented in a pleasing form so that the reader can learn without undue resistance. Part of the role of the critic is to discern beneath the seductive aesthetic form its ethical kernel, which more often than not remains elusive. The works by Russell C. Leong and Marilyn Chin, which provide literary entertainment and ethical illumination simultaneously, demonstrate the inextricability and interdependence of ethics and aesthetics. The “lessons” therein are exceptionally delectable on account of the two writers’ multiple consciousness as Chinese Americans and ethnic Americans concerned with other marginalized groups, their visceral empathy with racial and sexual minorities, and their scintillating poetics, especially their novel deployment of Chinese expressions and classical allusions. Their ethics and aesthetics are mutually constitutive and enabling.