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Reading Asian American Racialization

SpeakerDr. Helen JunDepartment of EnglishUniversity of Illinois at Chicago
Date Nov 4, 2013
Time 3:30 pm  
Location Asian American Cultural Center1210 W NevadaUrbana
Sponsor Department of Asian American Studies and the Student Cultural Programming Fee
Phone 217-244-9530
Event type Lecture
Views 1119
Originating Calendar Asian American Studies

This talk engages discourses of Asian American racial difference in the post–civil rights period, by examining its relationship to the rise of neoliberalism as a hegemonic ideology since the mid-1960s. Jun argues that Asian American cultural production is uniquely situated to disclose various contradictions of violent neoliberal mandates of self-development and self-enterprise by analyzing two Asian American films, Better Luck Tomorrow (2002) and a.k.a. Don Bonus (1995). While she contends that the vocabulary of global capitalism in the United States has been mediated and constrained by multicultural neoliberalism, both these films can be framed to disclose the pathological violence of an instrumentalizing discourse of privatization.

Helen Jun engages in comparative analyses of race and culture in the context of U.S. empire. She specializes in Asian American and African American literature and history, with emphasis on issues of citizenship, nationalism, U.S. imperialism in Asia, globalization, and the prison industrial complex. She has recently completed a study of how Asian Americans and African Americans have been racially defined in relation to each other in her book, Race for Citizenship: Black Orientalism and Asian Uplift from Pre-Emancipation to Neoliberal America.


Free and open to the public

Reception and book signing to follow presentation


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