UPDATE: [Collections] Special Journal Issue â MELUS (1/1/08)

full name / name of organization: 
Stephen Hong Sohn
contact email: 

CFP: UPDATE: Special Journal Issue â€" MELUS (1/1/08)

Alien/Asian: Imagining the Racialized Future

        To accommodate more submissions, the deadline has been extended. Please
note the new deadline below. The timeline remains the same with the intent
to publish the special issue by Winter 2008/Spring 2009. There has been
some confusion regarding whether or not this is an “abstract” or “full
article” deadline, but I am expecting FULL articles on the deadline below.
 The call also slightly widens the boundaries for article submissions. As
a clarification, paper submissions do not need address texts solely
published 2000 onward.

This special issue of MELUS invites original article-length submissions
(6,000-10,000 words, MLA format) addressing the racialization of the
Alien/Asian subject in works of science fiction, fantasy, speculative
fiction, or other such similarly aligned textual genres. The so-called
“Asian” has been the site of multiple anxieties that have marked this
subject as the inscrutable immigrant alien (Immigration Act of 1924), the
subhuman monster (as embodied by the evil machinations of Fu Manchu), or
the eerily agreeable “model minority.” This special issue seeks
innovative, dynamic readings on the perennial “alienness” of the Asian that
draws inspiration from these historical developments and stereotypes which
now cast the Asian as cyborg, robot, alien species, perhaps inhabiting a
post-apocalyptic world in which race takes on complicated new formations
and intersectionalities.
We broadly define Asian/American narratives and texts. Papers will
dialogue with each other through broad theoretical, thematic and analytical
methodologies including but not limited to “post” critiques (e.g.
postmodernism and posthuman), hybridity and contact zones, allegories of
empire and colonialism, cell and tissue theory, materialist approaches that
consider scientific studies, new media studies and hypertext, just to name
a few. Articles might examine the configuration of dystopic and fantastic
futures in texts such as Cynthia Kadohata’s In the Heart of the Valley of
Love, Karen Tei Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange and Through the Arc of the
Rainforest, Sesshu Foster’s Atomik Aztex, Alejandro Morales’s Rag Doll
Plagues, Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, Hiromi Goto’s The Kappa
Child, Larissa Lai’s Salt Fish Girl, Amitav Ghosh’s The Calcutta
Chromosome, Vandana Singh’s and Yoon Ha Lee’s short fiction, the work of
Lawrence Yep, Tess Gerritsen’s Gravity, Minsoo Kang’s Of Tales and Enigmas,
the vampire fictions of Cecilia Tan, among many others. Not to be
overlooked, we hope to solicit articles that address experimental,
avant-garde poetic works that interrogate the Alien/Asian in relation to
science, technology, and/or the future such as Cathy Park Hong’s Dance
Dance Revolution, Brian Kim Stefans’s Before Starting Over, Mei-mei
Berssenbrugge’s Four Year Old Girl, and Shanxing Wang’s Mad Science in
Imperial China. In addition, articles might examine Greg Pak’s screenplay
and adapted movie Robot Stories, which uses an almost entirely Asian cast
to play overtly with categories of humanity and machinery, while leaving
loudly unspoken the representation of race. Alternately, submissions might
compare Asian American textual productions with the rich implications of
Grace Park’s “colorblind” casting as the humanoid Lt. Sharon Valerii, a
Cylon in the current Sci-Fi original series, Battlestar Galactica, or other
recent casting choices in LOST and Heroes, television shows which continue
to draw on the “Asian” as a participant in a science fictional world in
which Americans are black, white, and Latino but never Asian.
Although not a requirement in any sense, this call also encourages papers
drawing on Asian/American texts (fiction, non-fiction, drama, and poetry)
published from 2000 onward. How do these “contemporary texts” imagine the
trope of alien-ness within their literary boundaries and how do they query
the future locations and landscapes that will comprise Asian American
literature and studies? How do changing immigration laws and subsequent
representations of immigration change, alter, or challenge the conception
of Asian/American as “alien subject”? How does the conceptualization of the
“illegal alien” take shape in these cultural productions and to what
effect? Are there new forms of Asian-Orientalisms that continue to posit
the Asian as alien or representations that turn “Asian alienation” on its
head? How does the global mobility of Asian American subjects de-stabilize
the representation of the “Alien Asian” in the so-called new global
economy? Papers taking this particular route might consider new “racial
formations” represented in Asian American literature or different patterns
of immigration that de-stabilize or reconsider notions of transnationalism
or globalization.
Is the literal dehumanization of the Asian Other in actual effect
dehumanizing, and/or perhaps (paradoxically) metaphorically enabling? What
kinds of permutations to the interracial romance, discourses of hybridity
and “hapa” identity emerge from these conceits? Do speculative futures
suggest a post-race politic that destabilizes and challenges the grounds of
Asian/American Studies?

Please e-mail articles as anonymous word attachments with an accompanying
abbreviated 1 page c.v. to Stephen Hong Sohn at Stephen.H.Sohn_at_gmail.com by
January 1, 2008. Any queries may be forwarded to the same e-mail address.

Stephen Hong Sohn
Assistant Professor
English Department
Stanford University
450 Serra Mall (Building 460)
Stanford, CA 94305
650-723-3014

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Received on Thu Oct 25 2007 - 00:26:33 EDT