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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
December 10, 2016
Canadian Excellence


Unfastened: Globality and Asian North American Narratives

Unfastened examines literary works and films by Asian American and Asian Canadians that respond criticially to globality -- the condition in which traditional national, cultural, geographical, and economic boundaries have been (supposedly) surmounted.  In this wide-ranging exploration, Eleanor Ty reveals how novelists such as Brian Ascalon Roley, Han Ong, Lydia Kwa and Nora Okja Keller interrogate the theoretical freedom that globalization promises in their depiction of the underworld of crime and prostitution.  She looks at the social critiques created by playwrights Betty Quan and Sunil Kuruvilla, who use figures of disability to accentuate the effects of marginality.  Investigating works based on fantasy, Ty highlights the ways feminist writers Larissa Lai, Chitra Divakaruni, Hiromi Goto, and Ruth Ozeki employ myth, science fiction, and magic realism to provide alternatives to global capitalism.  She notes that others, such as filmmaker Deepa Mehta and performer/ dramatists Nadine Villasin and Nina Aquino, play with the multiple identities afforded to them by transcultural connections.

Ultimately, Ty sees in these diverse narratives unfastened mobile subjects, heroes, and travelers who use everyday tactics to challenge inequitable circumstances brought about by globalization in their lives.

$22.50 paper
ISBN 978-0-8166-6508-2
$67.50 cloth
ISBN 978-0-8166-6507-5


Acknowledgments                                                                                                      vii
Introduction: Reading Globality                                                                                   ix

I. Doing Global Dirty Work
1. The 1.5 Generation: Filipino Youth, Transmigrancy, and Masculinity                              3
2. Recuperating Wretched Lives: Asian Sex Workers and the Underside of Nation Building  20

II. Performing and Negotiating Transcultural Identities                                                    
3. “All of Us Are the Same”: Negotiating Loss, Witnessing Disability                                  43
4. Feminist Subversions: Comedy and the Carnivalesque                                                  63

III. Future Perfect: Feminist Resistance to Global Homogeneity
5. Shape-shifters and Disciplined Bodies: Feminist Tactics, Science Fiction, and Fantasy      89
6. Scripting Fertility: Desire and Regeneration in Japanese North American Literature         108

Coda: Rethinking the Hyphen                                                                                         129

Notes                                                                                                                            143
Works Cited                                                                                                                   151
Filmography                                                                                                                   167
Index                                                                                                                            169