“...I’m not guilty of anything but being born with this face” : Yellow Peril, Modern Minority, and Anti-Asian violence in We are Not Free



Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The Japanese internment of the 1940s is a defining moment for the Asian American community in US history and an established topic of Asian American literature. Interment writing frequently critiques mass incarceration through various genres and literary means, ranging from documentary literature to historical novels or aftermath literature, all intended for various audiences. Postredress literature is often characterized by the sense of injustice persevering in the Japanese American community and scholarly circles as well. Such stories are established through various creative outlets (e.g. use of multiple points of view). Interestingly, the children’s literature genre has dominated internment literature for decades.The talk focuses on Traci Chee’s YA novel We Are Not Free(2020, the finalist of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature) which maps the Japanese interment through fourteen different child narrators and various methods of storytelling. The major topics of the talk will discern the thin boundary between the yellow peril and model minority stereotypes, both connected to the notion of otherness. Furthermore, the rise of Anti-Asian violence in the twenty-first century in the US shall be emphasized in the context of the novel.
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