Invisible Subjects: Asian America in Postwar Literature

Heidi Kim (Author)

Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
April 01, 2016
6.1 X 1.0 X 9.3 inches | 1.05 pounds
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About the Author

Heidi Kim is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


"Blending scholarship in American studies with critical insights from Asian American studies, Kim (Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) not only offers a unique perspective on the "masters of American literature" in their specific social-historical contexts but also dialectically proves the irrepressibility of Asian American presence in American history, culture, and society. Whereas Susan Koshy has explored the Chinese presence in the Mississippi Delta as legal complexity and challenge to the Jim Crow law, Kim critiques and narrates the history of the South with Chinese as complicating and substantiating American South and Asian American experiences. In that sense, Invisible Subjects defines a new approach to the understanding of American literature in relation to Asian American experiences and American experience in the Asia Pacific." --Y. Shu, CHOICE

"What can Asian American studies teach us about 1950s literature? And what can cold war literary culture offer Asian Americanists? Invisible Subjects answers these questions with brilliance and brio, rewriting literary history in an Ellisonian vein. A bold and dynamic scholar, Heidi Kim theorizes the role of race in American literature through fresh interpretations of Faulkner, Steinbeck, and the Melville Revival. Americanists of all kinds would be well advised to read and ponder this important study." --Harry Stecopoulos, author of Reconstructing the World: Southern Fictions and U.S. Imperialisms, 1898-1976

"Marshaling a solid array of readings, Kim demonstrates how the Asian, as invisibly included and invisibly excluded, functions to solidify the racial dynamics of American culture. Her work thus not only re-interprets canonical American literature but also re-defines the parameters of Asian American studies." --Alan Nadel, author of Television in Black-and-White: Race and National Identity

"In the tradition of Leslie Fiedler and Toni Morrison, Heidi Kim brilliantly teases out the latent racial meanings residing in the margins of U.S. literature. She shows us how 'shadowy' Asian figures and over-mythologized Pacific Islanders serve as conduits for restoring Cold War politics to the American canon. A must for Asian American Studies and scholars of Cold War literature." --Leslie Bow, author of Betrayal and Other Acts of Subversion: Feminism, Sexual Politics, Asian American Women's Literature

"Pathbreaking and nuanced, Invisible Subjects compellingly shows how U.S. Cold War consensus culture favored the development of an imperceptible Asian American presence within American literature. With captivating and cogent prose, Heidi Kim eloquently delves into the way the invisible Asian American upsets the ethos of postwar conformity by being the trace of racial and social disparities." --Cindy I-Fen Cheng, author of Citizens of Asian America: Democracy and Race during the Cold War