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Inhuman CitizenshipTraumatic Enjoyment and Asian American Literature$
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Juliana Chang

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816674435

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816674435.001.0001

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Shameful Citizenship

Shameful Citizenship

Animal Jouissance and Brian Ascalon Roley’s American Son

(p.62) 2 Shameful Citizenship
Inhuman Citizenship

Juliana Chang

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter focuses on Brian Ascalon Roley’s novel American Son and its representation of how racial shame is produced and consumed in order to provide enjoyment for the dominant regard of racial and imperial nationalism. It attempts to unravel the myth of neutrality that underlies and legitimates modern institutions such as law, democracy, and citizenship; instead it demonstrates how these apparently impersonal forms of modernity are highly affective, interested, and invested sites of racial and imperial power. This affective investment assumes the form of racial and imperial jouissance. Jouissance, or traumatic enjoyment, resolves the puzzling question of why subjects act against their rational self-interest.

Keywords:   American Son, racial shame, imperial nationalism, jouissance, traumatic enjoyment

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