NEMLA 2015 Panel: Maternal Hauntings in Asian American Literature and Popular Culture

full name / name of organization: 
Jina Lee
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Avery Gordon in Ghostly Matters claims, 'The way of the ghost is haunting, and haunting is a particular way of knowing what has happened or is happening. Being haunted draws us affectively, sometimes against our will and always a bit magically, into the structure of feeling we come to experience, not as cold knowledge, but as a transformative recognition.'
Asian American literature is abundant with representations of hauntings, ghosts, and feminine spectral identities. Authors such as ChangRae Lee, Amy Tan, Nora Okja Keller, Theresa Hak Kyung Ja, Maxine Hong Kingston, Jhumpa Lahiri, Suki Kim, Susana Choi, Bharati Mukherjee, Carlos Bulosan, Jessica Hagedorn, Frank Chin, Hisaye Yamamoto, and others utilize these hauntings and ghost figures to demonstrate what 'has happened or is happening' to, perhaps, provide 'transformative recognition' of trauma, memory, and historical discontinuities.

This panel seeks to investigate these representations and consider the following:
Are these representations vehicles through/by which postcolonial and diasporic trauma is articulated?
What are the haunted histories and locations of the Asian American experience in the literary field and in the American field of cultural production?
Are hauntings the vehicle by which the politics of the body and interracial explorations are negotiated?
How is the folklore oral tradition distinctive from literary representations?
How are modern writers negotiating this tradition?
What are the implications of the haunting on/of the mother-daughter continuum?
How are representations in pop culture distinctive from literary representations? Are the aesthetics a means to gain cultural capital?
What are the limits of Western critical approaches to literary representations in Asian American studies?

This panel seeks to theorize the maternal haunting, feminine spectral identities, and ghost figures in Asian American literature. Topics or critical paradigms can include, but are not limited to: memory, rape, trauma, the abject, silence, transnationalism, eroticism, materiality, femininity, miscegenation, consumption, loss, reception theory, and reader-response.

Description:

This panel seeks to theorize the maternal haunting, spectral identities, and ghost figures in Asian American literature and popular culture. Are these representations vehicles through and by which postcolonial and diasporic trauma is articulated? What are the haunted spheres of the Asian American experience in the literary field and in the field of cultural production? Are hauntings the vehicle by which the politics of the body and interracial explorations are negotiated? How are iterations in popular culture distinct from literary ones?