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Explorations of Blasianness Through Mixed Race Narratives in Postmodern Literature

  • Jones, Jalen
Publication Date
Jul 15, 2022
eScholarship - University of California
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This study is an exploration of mixed race narratives in postmodern literature, specifically in its iterations of Blasianness. In exploring the literary representation of Blasian individuals, this research does not seek to impose a concrete definition on what it means to exist at the intersection of Blackness and Asianness. Rather, it implores the implications of representing Black/Asian mixedness as it has manifested thus far via literary fiction.Because of the newness of its presence in the popular imagination, we have yet to form a developed vocabulary for thinking about multiraciality as it pertains to Blasianness; a central goal of this study is to extend us towards remedying that epistemological shortcoming. Adding to the burgeoning field of Critical Mixed Race Studies, this paper dissects the limits and possibilities of Blasian representation by interrogating modernity, racialization, and what critical mixed race studies theorist Michele Elam calls the anti-Bildungsroman—an alternative coming-of-age narrative that positions mixed race characters as periphery to an assimilationary arc. Using the resulting framework alongside the narratives of Lisa Countryman from Don Lee’s Country of Origin and Joey Sands from Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters, I argue that the representation of Blasians in postmodern literature complicates how we imagine racial being in ways that are both limiting and expansive.

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