Transpacific Mixed-Race Literatures: A Reading and Dialogue (Sawyer Seminar IX)

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2014-04-04 03:07Z by Steven

Transpacific Mixed-Race Literatures: A Reading and Dialogue (Sawyer Seminar IX)

University of Southern California, University Park Campus
Ronald Tutor Campus Center (TCC)
Room 351/352
Sunday, 2014-04-06, 10:00-17:00 PDT (Local Time)

How do Transpacific mixed-race authors inscribe and represent their heritage in their artistic representations? Are there common tropes or literary forms that inform these novels? What type of analysis might emerge from putting writers in dialogue with critical theorists?


Brian Castro, Professor and Chair of Creative Writing
University of Adelaide, Australia

Australian novelist of Chinese, Portuguese, and English descent; author of 12 novels including award-winning novels Birds of Passage (1982 Vogel Literary Award), Double-Wolf (1991 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction), Stepper (1997 National Book Council Prize), Shanghai Dancing (2004 Victoria and New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards), and The Garden Books (2005 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award).

Marilyne Brun, Lecturer
Université de Lorraine, France

Author of “Literary Doubles and Colonial Subjectivity: Brian Castro’s The Garden Book,” The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies (2012), “Racial Ambiguity and Whiteness in Brian Castro’s Drift,” Journal of the European Association for Studies on Australia (2011), and many other scholarly articles on the writings of Brian Castro.


Kien Nguyen, Novelist

Novelist of Vietnamese and American heritage. Author of 3 novels: The Unwanted: A Memoir of Childhood (2001), The Tapestries (2002), and Le Colonial (2004).

Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies
San Francisco State University

Author of This is All I Choose to Tell: History and Hybridity in Vietnamese American Literature (Temple University Press, 2011).


Paisley Rekdal, Professor of English
University of Utah

Writer of Chinese American and Norwegian heritage; author of four books of poetry, Crash of Rhinos (2000), Six Girls Without Pants (2002), The Invention of the Kaleidoscope (2007), and Animal Eye (2012), as well as a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee: Observations on Not Fitting In (2000). Her work has received a Village Voice Writers on the Verge Award, two Pushcart Prizes, and the University of Georgia Press’ Contemporary Poetry Series Award.

Viet Nguyen, Associate Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity
University of Southern California

Author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America (Oxford, 2002).

Presented by the Center for Japanese Religions and Culture’s “Critical Mixed-Race Studies: A Transpacific Approach” Andrew W. Mellon Foundation John E. Sawyer Seminars Series at the University of Southern California.

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The Unwanted: A Memoir of Childhood

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs on 2011-10-03 03:41Z by Steven

The Unwanted: A Memoir of Childhood

Hachette Book Group
368 pages
5-1/2″ x 8-1/4″
Paperback ISBN:9780316284615

Kien Nguyen

A story of hope, a story of survival, and an incredible journey of escape, ‘The Unwanted’ is the only memoir by an Amerasian who stayed behind in Vietnam after the fall of Saigon and who is now living in America.

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Eurasian/Amerasian perspectives: Kim Lefèvre’s Métisse Blanche (White Métisse) and Kien Nguyen’s The Unwanted

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2011-10-02 20:55Z by Steven

Eurasian/Amerasian perspectives: Kim Lefèvre’s Métisse Blanche (White Métisse) and Kien Nguyen’s The Unwanted

Asian Studies Review
Volume 29, Issue 2 (2005)
pages 107-122
DOI: 10.1080/10357820500221162

Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen, Associate Professor of Historical and Philosophical Studies
University of Melbourne

This article examines the articulation of Kim Lefèvre’s and Kien Nguyen’s difficult and traumatic childhoods in wartime Vietnam through their respective works Métisse blanche, first published in France in 1989, and The Unwanted, first published in the United States in 2001. Both Lefèvre and Nguyen had Vietnamese mothers and Western fathers—Lefevre’s was French. Nguyen’s was American. Their experiences are separated by a gap of thirty years, but their accounts reveal significant commonalities as well as differences. Their personal stories reflect those of the many children born of Vietnamese and European or American parents who were caught up in the maelstrom of colonialism, war, social prejudice and politics, and suffered rejection from both sides. Lefèvre grew up in colonial and postcolonial Vietnam while Nguyen was a child of the Vietnam War and relates the treatment meted out to so-called “half-breed” children in post-1975 communist Vietnam. Both bore the stigma of their mixed blood against a background of Vietnamese xenophobia and nationalism. Their looks signalled their heritage and were an unavoidable and unwelcome reminder of Vietnam’s fraught interaction with the West.

Eurasian/Amerasian métissage

Métissage as a positive site of cross-cultural mediation and negotiation has only recently been valorised in literary and critical discourse. Interpreted as cultural hybridisation, “cultural creolisation”, “cultural cross-breeding”, or, in Srilata Ravi’s aptly-chosen words “cultural cross-braiding” (Ravi. 2004. p. 300). métissage highlights the enriching effects of cultural pluralisation. The term “cross-braiding” beautifully illustrates the concept of entwined lives and cultures. As Ravi notes in ‘Métis, Métisse and Métissage’, …

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