Slanting I, Imagining We

Slanting I, Imagining We


255 pages


The 1980s and 1990s are a historically crucial period in the development of Asian Canadian literature. Slanting I, Imagining We: Asian Canadian Literary Production in the 1980s and 1990s contextualizes and reanimates the urgency of that period, illustrates its historical specificities, and shows how the concerns of that moment—from cultural appropriation to race essentialism to shifting models of the state—continue to resonate for contemporary discussions of race and literature in Canada. Larissa Lai takes up the term “Asian Canadian” as a term of emergence, in the sense that it is constantly produced differently, and always in relation to other terms—often “whiteness” but also Indigeneity, queerness, feminism, African Canadian, and Asian American. In the 1980s and 1990s, “Asian Canadian” erupted in conjunction with the post-structural recognition of the instability of the subject. But paradoxically it also came into being through activist work, and so depended on an imagined stability that never fully materialized. Slanting I, Imagining We interrogates this fraught tension and the relational nature of the term through a range of texts and events, including the Gold Mountain Blues scandal, the conference Writing Thru Race, and the self-writings of Evelyn Lau and Wayson Choy.


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Date de parution 31 juillet 2014
Nombre de visites sur la page 1
EAN13 9781771120425
Licence : Tous droits réservés
Langue English

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TransCanada Series he study of Canadian literature can no longer take place in isolation from larger external forces. Pressures of multiculturalism put empasis upon discourses of citi-zensip and security, wile market-driven factors increasingly sape te publication, dissemination, and reception of Canadian writing. he persistent questioning of te Humanities as invited a retinking of te disciplinary and curricular structures witin wic te literature is taugt, wile te development of area and diaspora studies as raised important questions about te tradition. he goal of te TransCan-ada series is to publis forward-tinking critical interventions tat investigate tese paradigm sifts in interdisciplinary ways.
Series editor: Smaro Kamboureli, Avie Bennett Cair in Canadian Literature, Department of Englis, University of Toronto
For more information, please contact:
Smaro Kamboureli Avie Bennett Cair in Canadian Literature Department of Englis University of Toronto 170 St. George Street Toronto, ON M5R 2M8 Canada Pone: 416-978-0156 Email:
Lisa Quinn Acquisitions Editor Wilfrid Laurier University Press 75 University Avenue West Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5 Canada Pone: 519-884-0710 ext. 2843 Fax: 519-725-1399 Email:
Asian Canadian Literary Production in the 1980s and 1990s
Larissa Lai
Wilfrid Laurier University Press acknowledges te support of te Canada Council for te Arts for our publising program. We acknowledge te financial support of te Government of Canada troug te Canada Book Fund for our publising activities.
Library and Arcives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Lai, Larissa, 1967–, autor  Slanting I, imagining we : Asian Canadian literary production in te 1980s and 1990s / Larissa Lai.
(TransCanada) Includes bibliograpical references and index. Issued in print and electronic formats. ISBN 978-1-77112-041-8 (pbk.).—ISBN 978-1-77112-042-5 (pdf ).— ISBN 978-1-77112-043-2 (epub)
 1. Canadian literature (Englis) —Asian Canadian autors—History and criti-cism. 2. Canadian literature (Englis) —20t century—History and criticism. I. Title.
PS8089.5.A8L33 2014
C2014-901721-9 C2014-901722-7
Front-cover image by Haruko Okano:he Hands of te Compassionate One, 1993 (acrylic on canvas, 5' wide by 9' ig); poto by Al Reid Studio. Cover design by Martyn Scmoll. Text design by Angela Boot Malleau.
© 2014 Wilfrid Laurier University Press Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
his book is printed on FSC recycled paper and is certified Ecologo. It is made from 100% post-consumer fibre, processed clorine free, and manufactured using biogas energy.
Printed in Canada
Every reasonable effort as been made to acquire permission for copyrigt material used in tis text, and to acknowledge all suc indebtedness accurately. Any errors and omissions called to te publiser’s attention will be corrected in future printings.
No part of tis publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, witout te prior written consent of te publiser or a licence from te Canadian Copyrigt Licensing Agency (Access Copy-rigt). For an Access Copyrigt licence, visit ttp://www.accesscopyrig or call toll free to 1-800-893-5777.
for my moter and fater, Yuen-Ting Lai and Tyrone Lai
It was all well and good to ave a tragic story in te past, but wat if it returns? W at if it comes back wit all it as stored up, to be resolved and decided, to be answered. Se couldn’t foresee an easy time, as Bin must ave envisaged.… Would e be kind to er moter and fater? In te end tat is wat se meant, se realized, tat is wat se wanted. hey deserved kindness, and Tuyen doubted weter tis gost could deliver it.
Wat We All Long For Dionne Brand
I old my culture in my ands and form it on my own, so tat no one else can sape te way it lies upon my body
“he Body Politic” Hiromi Goto
Preface and Acknowledgements
INTRODUCTIONAsian Canadian Ruptures, Contemporary Scandals
CHAPTER 1 Strategizing te Body of History: and Marketing te Nation
Anxious Writing, Absent Subjects,
CHAPTER 2 he Time Has Come: Self and Community Articulations in Colour. An IssueandAwakening hunder
CHAPTER 3 Romancing te Antology: Supplement, Relation, and Community Production
CHAPTER 4 Future Orientations, Non-Dialectical Monsters: Storytelling Queer Utopias in Hiromi Goto’sCorus of Musroomsandhe Kappa Cild
CHAPTER 5 Etnic Etics, Translational Excess: he Poetics of jam ismail and Rita Wong
CHAPTER 6 he Cameras of te World: Race, Subjectivity, and te Spiritual, Collective Oter in Margaret Atwood’sOryx and Crakeand Dionne Brand’sWat We All Long For
CONCLUSION Community Action, Global Spillage: Writing te Race of Capital
Notes Bibliograpy Index
229 237 247
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f course tis is a personal project. How could it be oterwise? he O 1980s and 1990s appear to me as an extraordinary moment in Cana-dian cultural politics because tey were also te moment of my own emer-gence f rom te sleep of invisibilization into a subject wit a measure of public voice. he first anti-racist project I worked on was te 1990 exibit Yellow Peril: Reconsidered,by te video artist and curator Paul organized Wong and is collaborator Elspet Sage, troug teir production company On Edge, wic Paul oused in is Main Street apartment on Vancouver’s East Side. It was a national exibition tat travelled to six artist-run centres across te country, sowcasing te works of twenty-five Asian Canadian artists working in contemporary media. hroug a reclamation of te racist name “yellow peril,” te sow was, for me, a moment of inauguration into an oppositional politics of race tat was bot empowering and unsettling. I lived it out at work and at play, in intellectual and creative modes as muc as personal ones. It drew me into a consciousness of my own subjectivity and agency (or lack tereof ), in ways tat I ad not considered before, peraps in ways tat were not available for consideration until tis cultural moment. For me, te “reconsideration” of te “yellow peril” occurred before its overt “consideration.” he problem wit race for te duration of my cildood growing up in Newfoundland in te 1970s was tat it was a repressed but very muc live force beneat te surface of Canadian cultural life. Bot “consideration” and “reconsideration” were a uge relief, as toug one could finally point out te tiger sleeping in te corner of te room. In te years after te implementation of te Multiculturalism Act, so muc was possible—not because of te act itself, but because community-based artists’, writers’, and activists’ responses to its limitations added to an organic energy tat was already tere in racialized Canadian communities. It was a moment in wic te Japanese Canadian Internment, te Cinese Head Tax and Cinese Exclusion Act, te Indian Act, and teKomagata Maruincident could be spoken of and interrogated for teir social, cultural, and political effects as muc as for teir legal ones. Mainstream reaction