Growing Up Asian American in Children's Literature, Proposed Edited Collection - Deadline May 15, 2012

full name / name of organization: 
Ymitri Mathison
contact email: 

According to the U.S. Census, in 2010 Asian Americans comprised of 18.5 million and 6% of the population. Constituted of several ethnicities and races, they are frequently lumped under one monolithic umbrella with their individual ethnicities reduced to catch-all terms of "Asian" or "Chinese" or "Indian." Yet, in spite of the many stereotypes attached to them, Asian American children and adolescents are constructing unique identities within the intersections of several communities and making their presence felt within American public spaces.

"Growing Up Asian American in Children's Literature" seeks to explore some of the major issues Asian American children and adolescents face growing up in the United States in the latter half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century. Part of the mission of the collection is to define the term Asian American inclusively, to include all the "Asian" ethnicities from the Asian continent, the Pacific Rim, and also from around the world. Some questions the collection will discuss are what does it mean to be Asian and American? Is there a loss of identity in assimilation? How are Asian American children's experiences different from other minority groups? Are different regions of the country factors in how they grow up, such as California and New York/New Jersey? How do they construct themselves racially and culturally?

The collection will be interdisciplinary and may include non-traditional texts, such as picture books, comic books, TV shows or movies, toys, and traditional adolescent classics such as John Okada's No-No Boy (1957) and Laurence Yep's Dragonwings (1975), graphic novels, such as Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese (2006), and recently published novels, such as Thanhha Lai's 2012 Newbery Honor Book Inside Out and Back Again (2011), and N. H. Senzai's Shooting Kabul (2010).

Possible article topics may include, but are not limited to:

• What it means to be Asian and American
• Identity and assimilation: white on the inside and yellow/brown on the outside
• Race/racism/exoticized and marginalized
• Immigrant (FOB) vs. the second/third generation (ABC or Desi).
• Bi-racialism, ethnicity, and hybridity
• Diaspora, home and homeland, transnationalism
• Globalization, citizenship, and mobility
• Family separations (war-torn homeland/refugees)
• Education and stereotypes of the model minority
• 9/11
• Religion in a Christian country: Muslim, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.
• Poverty/ illegal immigration
• Bilingualism, translation, and the child interpreter
• Alien/foreigner but never "American"
• Gender, sexuality, homosexuality

A major university press has indicated a strong interest in the project. Please submit a detailed 500-1000 word abstract and a brief CV by May 15, 2012 to Ymitri Mathison at Completed articles of 6000-7500 words must be submitted by November 1, 2012, following MLA formatting guidelines. I hope to turn in the collection to the publisher in early 2013 for a possible publication date in late 2013. Inquiries welcome and all emails will be acknowledged.