Positioning the New: Chinese American Literature and the Changing Image of the American Literary "Canon"

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Tanfer Emin Tunc and Elisabetta Marino

The reception of Chinese American literature by American critics and readers has undergone numerous changes since the marginalization of the first Chinese American writers. Today, Chinese American authors, such as Ruthanne Lum McCunn and Amy Tan, earn the praise of both scholars and the lay public alike and collectively, their work has played an important role in transforming the image of the United States and its literary output. As a recently published collection of essays edited by critic Harold Bloom entitled Amy Tan (2009) conveys, writers of Chinese origin are reshaping the American literary arena, and in the process are conveying the power that can emerge from cultural hybridity (i.e., the fruitful grafting between East and West) and multiculturalism. Their works are also regenerating and rejuvenating the image of America, rendering it in a constant state of flux. This perpetual process of reinvention, however, has problematized the American literary "canon," prompting scholars to ask if one can actually exist in a nation that is continually redefining itself—and remaining "forever young"—by prioritizing inventiveness and innovation over tradition and convention.

This edited volume, which is under contract with Cambridge Scholars Publishing, seeks chapters that will explore the past, present and future position of Chinese American authors within the framework of what Bloom identified as the "Western literary canon." Is Chinese American literature inside or outside the "canon"? If it is included in the canon, what are the social, political and cultural implications of this inclusion? In other words, how does its inclusion impact the evolving identity of the United States? The editors encourage the submission of chapters focusing on Chinese American literature (especially novels, poetry, short stories and plays) and literary criticism which address the specific themes of this call for papers.

All chapters must adhere to the Chicago Manual style (with footnotes) and be a minimum of 5,000 words (max. 6,000 words). Full-lengeth submissions (no abstracts please) should be sent to Drs. Tanfer Emin Tunc and Elisabetta Marino via email (chineseamerican09@gmail.com) by October 31, 2009.

We also request a one paragraph biography from each author.