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What’s “Chinese” in Chinese Diasporic Literature?

  • Emma J. Teng

Abstract

In response to the call to reexamine the boundaries that circumscribe and define “modern Chinese literature”, this chapter considers the geographic and linguistic parameters of this field.1 Traditional distinctions between “Chinese literature” and “Asian American literature” rely on geographic, linguistic, and disciplinary divisions: the former being literature produced in China, written in the Chinese language, and studied by China specialists; the latter being literature produced in America, written in English, and studied by Asian Americanists. Recent trends within academia, however, have led to a blurring of these boundaries and a questioning of their continued relevance. This phenomenon, celebrated by some and decried by others, will have major implications for how we define the two fields of Chinese literature and Asian American literature in the new millennium.2

Keywords

Mother Tongue Chinese Language American Literature Chinese Writer Code Switching 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    See King-Kok Cheung, “Re-viewing Asian American literary studies”, in An Interethnic Companion to Asian American Literature, ed. King-Kok Cheung (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 1–38;Google Scholar
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    I take the phrase “swimming among languages” from Shirley Geok-lin Lim, “The im/possibility of life-writing in two languages”, in Lives in Translation: Bilingual Writers on Identity and Creativity, ed. Isabelle de Courtivron (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), pp. 39–48.Google Scholar
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    Hwee Hwee Tan, Foreign Bodies: A Novel (New York: Persea Books, 1999). Rojak is a Singaporean dish composed of a diverse mix of local foodstuffs.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Charles A. Laughlin 2005

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  • Emma J. Teng

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