Burmese Displacement and Co-occupancy in the United States
This chapter examines the work of diasporic author Wendy Law-Yone to show how she takes up Burmese women's literary exploration of displacement, intimate labor, sex, and contact zones. Law-Yone is the first author of Burmese descent to write and publish fiction in English. To date, she has published two novels in the United States and one in England, in addition to a memoir of her father, a few short stories, and a number of nonfiction articles and book reviews. Focusing primarily on her 1993 novel Irrawaddy Tango, this chapter demonstrates how Law-Yone creatively capitalizes on the Burmese love of puns and wordplay to make explicit transnational connections and less visible forms of epistemic violence and discipline. It argues that Irrawaddy Tango suggests a nonpossessive mode of witnessing and co-occupancy as a Burmese-inflected alter/native to a voyeuristic mode of transnational consumption.
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