Concubines and second sons: stereotypes, transnationalism, and the production of identity

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Dorothy Louise Kuykendal (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Keith Cushman

Abstract: The scope of my project identifies and critiques the fractured subjectivities of fictional characters through a transnational and transcultural lens. I focus my argument around characters who live in or originate from East and Southeast Asia. Critically, I build upon Edward Said's well-known binarist separation of latent and manifest Orientalism in order to argue that such a separation is unnecessary and in fact unproductive. I also engage with Homi Bhabha's work on stereotypes and that work's roots in Said's Orientalism (1978) in order to argue for a similar complication of Bhabha. What Bhabha applies to a post-/colonial model I wish to apply to a transnational, transcultural one in order to examine which stereotypes still have great force and influence, perhaps disproportionate, over how we relate to our fellow human beings. I approach both of these theorists through a series of close readings of drama, film, and fiction. Ultimately, I posit that those who can successfully create narratives of identity can capably manipulate stereotypes to their own advantage and then subvert them, or else re-shape that discursive framework and define themselves in different terms. However, the dissertation is particularly concerned with characters who have a harder time subverting or escaping stereotypes. These characters who struggle and fail to define themselves inevitably meet one of two fates: exile or suicide.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Asia, Asian americans, Stereotypes, Transnationalism, Edward Said, Homi Bhaba
Postcolonialism in literature.
Asians in literature.
Asian Americans in literature.
Stereotypes (Social Psychology) in literature.
Race in literature.
Minorities in literature.
Asia $x In literature.

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