Floating Points: From Diasporic Spaces to Multicultural Places
Pao, Angela C.
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In the study of Asian immigrant communities and culture in North America, particularly in arts and literature, two intellectual approaches have emerged: the transnational which focuses on country and culture of origin regardless of the location of the diaspora community; and, the national which de-emphasizes diaspora in favour of a racial character distinct to the new generations of Asians born and residing in the U.S. and Canada today. In her talk, Angela Pao engages both approaches by presenting the benefits and drawbacks of examining social and cultural institutions, artistic products, and processes through a transnational and consequently de-territorialized perspective, as opposed to a domestic one that continues to emphasize Asian histories specific to a destination country or territory. Race and the context of uneven social and power relations between immigrant and local communities, more specifically, are the primary bases on which Pao examines the development of Asian immigrant culture, in particular, Chinese literature in North America, and its usefulness in helping interpret the local and global Asian immigrant experiences.