“Come almost home”: Deconstructing the Asian American Model Minority Myth in Chang-Rae Lee’s A Gesture Life

Asian American representation in the COVID-19 era “In being represented as citizen within the political sphere, the subject is ‘split off’ from the unrepresentable histories of situated embodiment that contradict the abstract form of citizenship. Culture is the medium of the present . . . but is simultaneously the site… Continue reading

Fear is a Virus: Xenophobia in Mostafa Keshvari’s Corona (2020)

In an interview for the Rhode Island International Film Festival in August 2020, Mostafa Keshvari, the director of Corona, stated: “The virus doesn’t discriminate … we need to learn from the virus and treat each other the same.” The idea of making a film to call for unity and solidarity… Continue reading

Covid-19 Triumphalism in China’s 2020 Docudramas

Just as Trump vociferated throughout 2020 regarding the “Chinese Virus” and “Kung Flu,” China was slowly turning international bad publicity to its advantage. Weiji, or crisis in the Chinese language, comprises two words: danger and opportunity. Flipping the former into the latter, Chinese propaganda for domestic consumption does not help… Continue reading

“We Are Not A Virus”: Challenging Asian/Asian American Racism in the 21st Century

The first time I collaborated with U.S. Studies Online: Forum for New Writing was when serving on a panel discussing Asian American historian Gordon H. Chang’s book Ghosts of the Gold Mountain in November 2020. [1] Sitting in front of my computer and seeing my colleagues from afar, I find… Continue reading

Asian American Solidarities in the Age of COVID-19

  ‘The majority of Americans [regard] us with ambivalence… We [threaten] the sanctity and symmetry of a white and black America whose yin and yang racial politics [leaves] no room for any other color, particularly that of a pathetic little yellow-skinned people…’ -Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer   “We don’t… Continue reading

Review of “The Market Logics of Contemporary Fiction” by Paul Crosthwaite

The most striking aspect of Crosthwaite’s latest monograph is the delicate balancing of complex interpretations of the relationship between fiction and the market, and accessible, colloquial examples and frameworks through which the reader is invited to analyse this relationship. The result of Crosthwaite’s success in negotiating this balance is that Market Logics is an attractive and engaging read for both newcomers to the economic humanities and experts alike. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘Who Rules the World?’, by Noam Chomsky

Many current American studies graduates were born around the time of the September 11 terrorist attacks and have grown up during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, two of the most controversial and polarising global events of the twenty-first century. The popularity of US foreign policy courses in American studies departments across the UK is therefore unsurprising. After all, students (and young people generally) tend to want to understand how the world around them works, and learning about the international behaviour of the most influential global player is in this respect a good place to start. Students’ motivations for enrolling often entail a desire to engage critically with US foreign policy in a deeper and more meaningful way than how it is often presented in the mainstream media and in political discourse. Continue reading

Reconstructing the American Gothic in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

In the first episode of the Netflix series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018–, henceforth CAoS), the title character’s Aunt Hilda declares, misty-eyed, that she is so proud of the young woman her nearly 16-year-old niece has become. Sabrina’s more cutting, rigid, and severe Aunt Zelda corrects her – “of the young witch you are becoming.” Zelda’s emphasis on the process of becoming, of the continual metamorphosis of young supernatural adulthood, speaks to the ways in which the series blurs boundaries, questions hierarchies, and constantly confounds binaries of identity. CAoS transforms the pathological, masculinist, and puritanical anxieties of the traditional American Gothic into a more fluid and shifting investigation of adolescence, femininity, and the uncanny. Continue reading

Review of ANZASA Conference 2019: Community, Conflict and the “Meaning of America” 14-16th July, University of Auckland

For their biennial conference, the Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association (ANZASA) encouraged those in attendance to engage with Perry Miller’s intellectual endeavour to define “the meaning of America.” Using Miller’s seminal work, An Errand into the Wilderness, as a launching pad, a thoughtful offering of keynote speakers, plenaries and panels emphasised the ongoing relevance of community, conflict, and the meaning of America in present-day research.  Continue reading

Video Games and American Studies: Reverberations of Trumpism in Far Cry 5

Politics and contexts of publication are two interesting focalisers when examining video games from an American Studies perspective. While not all video games are overtly political, many have explicit political agendas. The example of Far Cry 5 shows how real-world political rhetoric can find parallels in virtual environments, in this case the ludonarrative design of a video game. Continue reading