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Scrutinized!Surveillance in Asian North American Literature$
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Monica Chiu

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838423

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838423.001.0001

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Under Scrutiny

(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction

Monica Chiu

University of Hawai'i Press

This book examines surveillance in Asian North American literature, and especially how it affects Asian North American characters. It investigates acts of literary surveillance in novels that seek to redefine the term “crime” and use the trope of surveillance to read complex race relations, including Chang-rae Lee's Native Speaker, Kerri Sakamoto's The Electrical Field, Don Lee's Country of Origin, Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and Susan Choi's A Person of Interest. The book argues that surveillance themes are literary responses to continued irrational anxieties over race triggered by the presence of Asian North Americans. It explores the ways in which a history of surveillance has created Asian North American subjects (authors and their characters) who watch themselves being watched, and whose categorization as inscrutable ironically reveals a national obsession over their visibility and fear about their perceived illegibility.

Keywords:   surveillance, Asian North American literature, literary surveillance, novels, crime, race relations, Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker, race, Asian North Americans

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