Re-visioning Activism:The Fourth International Conference on Asian British and Asian American Literatures December 18-19, 2015

full name / name of organization: 
Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan
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Asian American activism emerged in 1968 as a political movement in which Americans of Asian descent came together to fight rampant racial stereotyping and institutional inequalities. Since its beginning, however, it has never been simply a shared fight for basic civil and human rights in the face of second-class citizenship. Over the past fifty years, it has become clear that minority experiences of racial discrimination are embedded within other social systems of subordination, including classism, sexism, ageism, speciesism, and environmental violence, and that the Asian Americans have played integral roles envisioning and making manifest a more just future.

The past decades have brought increasing interest in the intersectionality of cultural expressions of Asian American and Asian British activism. We are interested in the trajectories and connected histories of Asian American and Asian British experiences. Fraught with both a history and a continuing development of anti-Asian (and Islamophobic) sentiments, the pluralities of "the" Asian experience in Britain and America require a "big tent" approach. The kinds of experience raised by Hanif Kureishi's My Beautiful Laundrette and its representations of Asian and White communities are very different from those, for instance, expressed in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club. How can we address these diverse experiences under the rubric of minority Asian experiences without reducing "Asian" to an essentialized or monolithic experience? Where are the intersections and where the divergences? What does it mean to be Asian in Britain or America in an age of rapid Chinese industrialization, an age of ISIS terror, and an age of deep financial trouble in the West?

Presentations will address these and other issues.

Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following concerns:

1. representations of activism in Asian American and Asian British literatures;

2. key texts on the politics of Asian American and Asian British activism;

3. histories of activism in Asian American and Asian British literary formations;

4. Asian American and Asian British literatures and the radical 1960s;

5. ethnic literature as a form of activism;

6. intersections of Asian American and Asian British literature and social activism in Asia;

7. Asian American and Asian British participation in environmental movement; civil rights movement; women's movement; GLBT movement; labor movement; anti-war movements; struggles against urban gentrification, etc.;

8. Asian American and Asian British political engagement and the media; the new media; propaganda; academic activism; spirituality etc.

Please submit proposals in word or pdf format of 500 words to Dr. Serena Chou ( by July 30, 2015. Decisions will be announced by August 30, 2015.