Begin Here: Reading Asian North American Autobiographies of Childhood

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University of Hawaii Press, 2007 - Social Science - 234 pages
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An analytically innovative work, Begin Here widens the current critical focus of Asian North American literary studies by proposing an integrated thematic and narratological approach to the practice of autobiography. It demonstrates how Asian North American memoirs of childhood challenge the construction and performative potential of national experiences. This understanding influences theoretical approaches to ethnic life writing, expanding the boundaries of traditional autobiography by negotiating narrative techniques and genre and raising complex questions about self-representation and the construction of cultural memory. By examining the artistic project of some fifty Asian North American writers who deploy their childhood narratives in the representation of the individual processes of self-identification and negotiation of cultural and national affiliation, this work provides a comprehensive overview of Asian North American autobiographies of childhood published over the last century. Importantly, it also attends to new ways of writing autobiographies, employing comics, blending verse, prose, diaries, and life writing for children, and using relational approaches to self-identification, among others.

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To Begin Here
The Asian Childhood Writing Beginnings
Cultural Revolutions and Takeovers War as Structure
The Liminal Childhood Biraciality as Narrative Position
Citizens or Denizens Inscribing the Tropes of Asian North Americanization
In North America Formulating Experience
The Childhood for Children The Cultural Experience of the Early Reader
Rewriting the Childhood
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About the author (2007)

Rocio G. Davis is associate professor of American and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Navarra.

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