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Compositional Subjects: Enfiguring Asian/American Women
by Laura Hyun Yi Kang
Binding: Library Binding, 368 pages
Publisher: Duke University Press Books
Weight: 1.49 pound
Dimension: H: 0.75 x L: 9.2 x W: 0.52 inches
ISBN 10: 0822328836
ISBN 13: 9780822328834
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Book Description:
In Compositional Subjects Laura Hyun Yi Kang explores the ways that Asian and American women have been figured by mutually imbricated modes of identity formation, representation, and knowledge production. Kang's project is simultaneously interdisciplinary scholarship at its best and a critique of the very disciplinary formations she draws upon. The book opens by tracking the jagged emergence of 'Asian American women' as a distinct social identity over the past three decades, and cautions against their easy consolidation and inclusion within both national and disciplinary boundaries. Instead, Kang directs critical attention to how the various attempts to compose them as discrete subjects of consciousness, visibility, and action demonstrate a broader, on going tension between socially particularized subjects and disciplinary knowledges. In addition to the shifting meanings and alignments of 'Asian,' 'American' and 'women,' the book examines the discourses, political economic conditions, and institutional formations that have produced Asian and Asian American women as a political identity, as an author of literary production, as visibly desirable and desiring bodies, as excludable aliens and admissible citizens of the United States, and as the proper labor for transnational capitalism. In exploring how these enfigurations are constructed and apprehended through a range of compositional modes including autobiography, cinematography, historiography, photography, and ethnography, Kang directs comparative attention to the very terms of emergence and legibility in specific disciplines. Finally, Kang concludes with a detailed examination of selected literary and visual productions by Korean women artists located in the United States and Canada, which creatively and critically contend with the problematics of identification and representation that are explored throughout the book. By underscoring the forceful and contentious struggles that animate all of these compositional gestures, Kang proffers Asian/American women as a vexing and productive figure for cultural, political and epistemological critique.

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