Asian American theatre, as an investigatory category, offers a particularly appropriate opportunity to explore the implications of migration across and within geopolitical borders and cultural boundaries. Though “migration” generally implies a willing movement of people among geographic areas, it also provides a convenient euphemism for the manipulative consequences of globalization. Thus, “migrant” populations may be compelled or encouraged to move among geographic regions but remain excluded from full membership in “settled” social and political territories such as the Americas. The borders are economically fluid, but culturally unyielding. In particular, Asian populations historically have been excluded by convention and statute from full membership in the “American” imagination, even while they have been exploited as economic necessities and defined as the Other. Asian American theatre likewise struggles with the relegation to contingency status, signaled by its persistent depiction as a component of the mid-twentieth century’s countercultural movement, a sidebar to the main event. Still, Asian American theatre broadly defined remains one of the most promising sites for challenging the false dichotomy of “Asian” and “American” that continues to define the constructed representation of the Asian diaspora in the Americas. Our group invites participants to address the ways in which the migration, map, and memory of Asian American theatre unsettles “American” theatre by re-settling the territory between the illusory poles of Asia and the Americas. As the first ASTR session to focus on Asian American theatre, the meeting will allow participants to explore the potential of Asian American theatre as a web of links rather than a series of discrete “ethnic” discourses and thereby to examine a range of interstitial relationships that avoid isolating Asian American, yet retain a productive distinction. In part because of our hope to draw upon a broad community of perspectives, we especially encourage submissions that extend Asian American beyond the American subdivision of the United States.
The process and implementation of the session will resemble the ASTR seminar’s 2-hour structure. Participants must commit to submitting preliminary drafts of their papers by August 1st and actively participate in an online pre-conference discussion by means of a fully secure website. The final conference drafts (8-10 pages) are due by October 15th.
By June 6, 2008 please submit an abstract (max 500 words) and brief biography (150 words) via email to: Esther Kim Lee, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign(email@example.com) AND Ron West, Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, NE (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dr. Esther Kim Lee
Dr. Ron West
(email@example.com) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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