"Asian Socialism, Magical Realism"

Department: Center for Culture and Capital

Date and Time: May 4, 2017 | 3:00 PM-5:00 PM

Event Location: HG 1010

Event Details


As interest in global Maoism has gathered steam in recent years, it is perhaps something of a paradox that the Black Panther Party rather than the Asian American Movement has come to represent the most visible manifestation of global Maoism’s US reach. In some ways this is because the Asian American Movement was composed of elements at once too close and too far from the political caprices of the Chinese Communist Party itself during the contradictory period of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). If global Maoism’s consequences for an Asian American left politics remain in hindsight still indeterminate, its consequences for Asian American literature, however, were extraordinary. Indeed, a closer examination of the emergent form of Asian American literature in the 1970s conceptualized as a response to global Maoism may even open up fresh views of the wider affordances of an Asian American left politics.


Colleen Lye is Associate Professor of English at UC Berkeley. She is the author of America's Asia: Racial Form and American Literature, 1893-1945 (Princeton University Press, 2005), a study of the making of "Asiatic racial form" through the mutual influence of literary naturalism and U.S. immigration and foreign policy in an era of U.S. expansion across the Pacific. Her current book-in-progress is a literary history of the Asian American novel after 1968, wherein the novel is understood as both product of and lens onto left cultural politics and the new spirit of capitalism.

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