Theorizing in Narrative Form: Bing Xin 冰心

  • King-Kok Cheung


THEORIZING IN NARRATIVE FORM studies how “The Photograph” (1934) performs the work of theory in anticipating ideas later articulated by postcolonial and Asian American critics. It furnishes a dual critique of American Orientalism and Chinese familism, and contributes to ongoing debates about culturalist upbringing of adoptees from abroad. Susan Sontag’s observation that photography is made to serve colonialist ends is inverted by the eponymous photograph, through which the master’s tool is used to deconstruct the master’s vision. The narrative interweaves three strands of Orientalism—missionary denigration of the Chinese as heathens, stateside construct of the Asian model minority, and Chinese complicity in its enactment. This chapter stretches the contours of Asian American literature by aligning it with Chinese literature, comparative literature, and postcolonialist theory.


White Mother Model Minority Woman Writer Filial Obligation Adoptive Mother 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • King-Kok Cheung
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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