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Writing Nation from (Un) Homes--Japanese American Families in Cynthia Kadohata's the Floating World and Lydia Minatoya's Talking to High Monks in the Snow
|Abstract:||本論文從家庭構成的角度想像亞美，主張還原泛亞美單一國族想像於個別家庭構成之多層時空、多源系譜、與多重認同。論文首先點出「家」／「國」譬喻中「國」以「家」為本，「家」為「國」血脈一統雛形的矛盾，申論日常現實中家庭複雜多元的組成往往與國族一元想像背道而馳。緊接著，以當代日美作家辛西亞．門畑 《浮世》(1989) 以及湊谷百合子《話予雪地高僧》(1992) 為主要文本，論文分析二次戰後遷徙於美國內陸的日美 (「非」) 家庭 ([un]home) 如何介入美國地理空間與歷史書寫，日美家庭的跨國移民背景與複雜家族組成又如何挑戰「家／國」想像中父系血脈一元、家裡國外壁壘分明的迷思。門畑與湊谷筆下的日美家庭絕非維繫國族一元的利器；它們在國家、種族、與文化罅縫間繁衍，並且不斷斡旋性別、世代、與跨國政治。|
This paper attempts to understand “Asian America” not as one nation, but as constituted by multiple families in a shifting web of space, time, genealogy, and identification. Analyzing the Japanese American families in Cynthia Kadohata’s The Floating World (1989) and Lydia Minatoya’s Talking to High Monks in the Snow: An Asian American Odyssey (1992), I restore Asian American studies to its familial dimensions, seeking in individual households the radical spaces from which a re-signification of “Asian America” is made possible. First, probing into the complicated implications of “unhome,” I demonstrate Kadohata’s attempt to re-read the seeming Japanese American “homelessness” in the post-World War II era into a position of socio-historical intervention. Then, I study the domestic complexities as presented by both texts, exploring how the makeshift nature and transnational origins of individual Japanese American families challenge the genetic continuity and domestic enclosure of a national family model. Asian American families as such must be known not simply as tools of genetic integration or cultural assimilation, but as spaces of national, ethnic, cultural transgressions and gender, generational, transnational negotiations. The change and development of Japanese American communities are, in one way or another, embedded in the establishment, extension, movement, and/or disintegration of individual families.
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