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Trans-spatiality as the horizon of the coming community: Ethico-ontology and aesthetics in Asian immigrant literature

Dae-Joong Kim, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

This study centers on the potential scope and significance of trans-spatiality as a new literary concept. I employ the concept of trans-spatiality as a means of understanding Asian immigrants' transnational experiences as represented by Asian immigrant writers in the Anglophone world. Trans-spatiality is a grounding term and methodological orientation, and its scope is relational and appositional. Thus, previous studies such as postcolonialism, cosmopolitanism, transnationalism, diaspora studies, and globalization are related to trans-spatiality, but, in this dissertation, I strictly limit its use to an ethico-ontological and aesthetic understanding of Asian immigrant writers' literary works. For this methodology, I explore and analyze various Western philosophers' theories, especially Giorgio Agamben's ethico-ontology. Also, I employ Édouard Glissant's poetics of relation and commonplace (lieux communs) as well as Walter Benjamin's constellation to transit this theoretical exploration to literary studies. ^ In chapter one of my study, which follows a brief preface, I address Asian immigrants' negative (animalized or Otherized) humanities by analyzing two Asian American poets' poems and Glissant's poem alongside a theoretical critique of Heidegger's Western-oriented ontology and ethics. In chapters two and three, I analyze Chang Rae Lee's Native Speaker and Joy Kogawa's Obasan to discuss Lee's trans-spatial beings in terms of coming community and form-of-life, and Kogawa's aesthetic testimony of Japanese Canadians' internment during WWII via artistic signs. The fourth chapter shifts away from trans-spatiality in America-centered and anthropocentric narratives to a clone-centered science fiction and the critical space created by Kazuo Ishiguro, an Asian English novelist. This chapter ends with aesthetic and ethical inquiries into the clone as artist as a cornerstone of the relations between life and art. In the last chapter, I take on the topic of the relations between life and art via an overarching image of a bowl with the void in the center as a form of constellation in Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Dictée. I conclude this dissertation with a brief analysis of my own trans-spatial teaching experience.^

Subject Area

Literature, Modern|Asian American Studies|Literature, American

Recommended Citation

Kim, Dae-Joong, "Trans-spatiality as the horizon of the coming community: Ethico-ontology and aesthetics in Asian immigrant literature" (2012). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3516980.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3516980

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