American Studies

Thesis Abstracts

Michael Kim
Poetry and an Asian American Textual Coalition

This thesis seeks to explore, while arguing for, the theoretical space between the single-Asian ethnic and the pan-ethnic Asian American identity in Asian American poetry. It problematizes the ahistorical and potentially homogenizing tendencies of Asian American and Asian American identity positions. By making use of the concept of textual coalitions, this thesis practices various readings in which Asian American poetry can be examined as a coherent though tentative category that relies upon socio-historical contexts for meanings. These approaches are laid out in the following manner: the Introduction presents the theoretical foundation guiding the study; Chapter One historicizes debates over Asian American identity while providing an overview of Asian American literary studies; Chapter Two explores how various poets explicitly conceptualize and address Asian American identity in their own writings; Chapter Three is an exercise of close readings that focuses on a shared usage of the trope of "family"; the Conclusion recapitulates the thesis' arguments by reading a final poem.