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Title: "A transitory step to someplace else" : the literature of first generation migrants from China to America
Author: Upton, Joe
ISNI:       0000 0004 8503 3177
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis investigates the literature published since 1965 by first generation migrants from China to America. Given the peculiar history of the Chinese in America and the inevitable importance of both superpowers to the twenty-first century, this thesis asks what this group of writers can tell us about China, America, and what lies between them? By combining close reading of key texts with explorations of social, historical and political context, this thesis contributes to the recognition of how migrant writing is central to understanding the modern world. 'In-between' and 'grounded' spatialities that contain, are evoked by, or are associated with this literature are examined in this thesis. Chapter One explores how Chinatown functions as an imagined space of Chineseness 'abroad', and how different representations of the neighbourhood render its essentialised significations always already incomplete. The space of the nation for Chinese migrants in America is complicated by the Cold War and its afterlives, as well as by the racializing and nationalist habits of both nations, and Chapter Two investigates how these histories and discourses have dovetailed. Meanwhile, the 'transnation', whilst ostensibly offering to transcend the nation, can become a kind of 'no man's land', as examined in Chapter Three. The life writing produced by these authors brings into question the glocal concerns of the publishing market, and Chapter Four explores the ramifications of ethnic autobiography's frequent association with the figure of the 'native informant'. In the wake of the 'rise of China' and America's response to it, by studying China and America side-by-side in the literature of these authors, this thesis overturns the cultural, national, racial and political significations of 'Chineseness' and 'Americanness' as thought in distinction.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PS0374.I48 Immigrants