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Race and ResistanceLiterature and Politics in Asian America$
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Viet Thanh Nguyen

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195146998

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195146998.001.0001

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Wounded Bodies and the Cold War

Wounded Bodies and the Cold War

Freedom, Materialism, and Revolution in Asian American Literature, 1946–1957

Chapter:
(p.61) 2 Wounded Bodies and the Cold War
Source:
Race and Resistance
Author(s):

Viet Thanh Nguyen (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195146998.003.0003

This chapter deals with the novels of Carlos Bulosan and John Okada in the context of the Cold War and the racial politics of masculinity. Bulosan, a Filipino American, and Okada, a Japanese American, present their concerns about racial oppression through gender and sexuality, in this case through the lives of Asian American men who are deeply wounded by the racial violence and discrimination that often worked through emasculation. Okada's No No Boy and Bulosan's America Is in the Heart and The Cry and the Dedication are attempts to recuperate the wounded bodies of Asian American men, speaking to American society in terms that it could understand: freedom and materialism. The recuperated manhood they seek to establish is inevitably limited by the ways in which freedom and materialism are conceptually entangled with the same structure of racial discrimination and economic exploitation that targeted Asian Americans.

Keywords:   Carlos Bulosan, Cold War, discrimination, emasculation, Filipino American, gender, Japanese American, masculinity, John Okada, sexuality

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