Kandice Chuh talk 03/04

The CUNY Graduate Center
Postcolonial Studies Group Colloquium Series 2010-2011

The Postcolonial Studies Group presents:

Kandice Chuh
The Graduate Center, CUNY

How Monique Truong’s Book of Salt
is a 12th-century Novel

March 4th at 2 p.m.
CUNY Graduate Center, Room 5414
All are welcome.

In this talk, Chuh responds to the ways that the consequences of the nation:narration connection so compellingly argued by many scholars continues to shape critical inquiry and to invite metatextual consideration. The latter is perhaps particularly true given the currency of “postnational” (and, relatedly, “post-identity”) critique. Chuh observes that the contemporary interest in aesthetics and ethnic literatures may be seen as one facet of a broad critical interest in theorizing and grappling with “difference” in this putatively “post-national” era. As other critics are doing, Chuh attempts here to apprehend the impact of post-national critique through this turn to aesthetics, which effectively functions as a way of considering the centrality of the forms through which national identity has been apprehended. Put otherwise, given that nation and narration have been so intimately linked in postmodern/postcolonial cultural studies, especially through the investigation of the bildungsroman and the crucial importance that the concept of bildung has had in modern subject formation, Chuh asks, what forms might make the current practices of culture and politics and their organizing ideologies apprehensible? As narration is to nation, what form(s) or genre(s) is to post-nation? Here, she thinks through Monique Truong’s 2004 novel The Book of Salt, to consider the representative forms of modernity—sovereignty, subjectivity, and territoriality key among them, to pursue these questions of form.

Kandice Chuh is a professor in the PhD program in English at the City University of New York Graduate Center, where she is affiliated to the Center for Globalization and Social Change. The author of Imagine Otherwise: on Asian Americanist Critique (2003), which won the American Studies Association’s Lora
Romero Book Prize, Chuh is also the co-editor, with Karen Shimakawa, of Orientations: Mapping Studies in the Asian Diaspora (2001), and has published in such venues as Public Culture, American Literary History, and the Journal of Asian American Studies. Her current research involves aesthetic philosophies and theories, minority discourse, and globalization.

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The Postcolonial Studies Group is a chartered organization of the Doctoral Students’ Council. Please visit our website at www.opencuny.org/psg

Questions? Email Fiona Lee at fiona.lee@gmail.com