Rethinking the Hyphen
The hyphenated terms—African American, Asian Canadian, and Asian American—were good transitional designations for the last few decades of the twentieth century for writers whose works were concerned with “claiming America” or with exposing the discrimination of the mainstream culture’s treatment of ethnic citizens. This chapter argues that the hyphenated designation is no longer adequate because of the way writers like Salman Rushdie and Kazuo Ishiguro locate themselves and because of their subject matter. It concludes by presenting two categories of global narratives: the narratives by Asians in the diaspora whose works fall outside of the hyphenated paradigm of Asian plus adopted country, and the narratives by Asians in the diaspora that deliberately position themselves outside of their adopted countries.
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