(In)security: Envisioning the Future of Asian / Asian American Literature and Studies (SAMLA 95 panel)

deadline for submissions: 
July 15, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA)
contact email: 

    Historically in the United States of America, immigrants of Asian origin have been the subject of extremely violent legal measures—one need only recall the 1882 “Chinese Exclusion Act” or the other major laws against the naturalization of Asians voted in 1924 and 1934. These acts aimed at excluding or limiting their presence on racial grounds—that lasted until the 1965 “Immigration and Nationality Act”—which enact and signify political and social rejection, were accompanied by cultural exclusion, denial, and marginalization, through powerful operating racist and Orientalist stereotypes such as “inferior race,” “yellow peril,” “unassimilable,” “perpetual foreigners,” and even “model minority” —all of which are rife in Anglo-American literature since the 19th century.

    As Lisa Lowe had rightfully formulated it in her groundbreaking study Immigrant Acts (1996), the conception of the “Asian American” is “haunted” by a national memory that has consistently envisioned them as the “foreigner-within”—even when “born in the United States and the descendant of generations born here before” (5-6). Lowe’s analysis has unfortunately been confirmed anew in the current pandemic and post-pandemic times—most recently through the back-to-back shootings in California in January 2023. It is also no wonder that the myriad forms of symbolic and physical violence and antagonism manifested against Asian Americans have led to an exasperation of their sense of unbelonging, illegitimacy, misfitness and (in)security.

    While these aspects have been continuously brought to the forefront and confronted by academics and writers of different fields, genres and affiliations, our panel aims to prolong some of the examinations and expand the epistemological and aesthetic possibilities of reconnecting the text and the world. We thus welcome presentations on any aspect of studies and/or teaching in literature, language, history, culture, and arts within the realms of Asian/Asian American Studies that will address the following question: How do Asian American studies and literature not only chronicle conditions and realities of (in)security, but also engage with them? What acts and manners of writing could be identified as meaningful and pertinent ways of not only dealing with these conditions and realities, but also confronting them whilst further providing solutions and venues for change? Comparative or interdisciplinary studies, multiethnic, transnational, and cross-cultural research related to the SAMLA 95 theme, (In)security, are especially welcome. Please submit a 250-300 word abstract/proposal, a brief academic bio, and any A/V or scheduling requests to both I-Hsien Shannon Lee (ilee11@gsu.edu), and Nicoleta Alexoae-Zagni (nicoleta.alexoae-zagni@univ-paris8.fr) by July 15, 2023.


SAMLA 95 homepage: https://samla.memberclicks.net/