Double Agency: Acts of Impersonation in Asian American Literature and Culture

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Stanford University Press, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 247 pages
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In Double Agency, Tina Chen proposes impersonation as a paradigm for teasing out the performative dimensions of Asian American literature and culture. Asian American acts of impersonation, she argues, foreground the limits of subjectivity even as they insist on the undeniable importance of subjecthood.

By decoupling imposture from impersonation, Chen shows how Asian American performances have often been misinterpreted, read as acts of betrayal rather than multiple allegiance. A central paradox informing the book—impersonation as a performance of divided allegiance that simultaneously pays homage to and challenges authenticity and authority—thus becomes a site for reconsidering the implications of Asian Americans as double agents. In exploring the possibilities that impersonation affords for refusing the binary logics of loyalty/disloyalty, real/fake, and Asian/American, Double Agency attends to the possibilities of reading such acts as "im-personations"—dynamic performances, and a performance dynamics—through which Asian Americans constitute themselves as speaking and acting subjects.

  

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Contents

Stereotype
35
DePosing Stereotype on the Asian American Stage
60
The Politics of Performance
89
Shamanism and the Subjects of History
113
Coda
185
Works Cited
223
Index
241
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About the author (2005)

Tina Chen is Assistant Professor of English at Vanderbilt Univers

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