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The Exquisite Corpse of Asian AmericaBiopolitics, Biosociality, and Posthuman Ecologies$
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Rachel C. Lee

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479817719

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479817719.001.0001

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How a Critical Biopolitical Studies Lens Alters the Questions We Ask vis-à-vis Race

How a Critical Biopolitical Studies Lens Alters the Questions We Ask vis-à-vis Race

Chapter:
(p.39) 1 How a Critical Biopolitical Studies Lens Alters the Questions We Ask vis-à-vis Race
Source:
The Exquisite Corpse of Asian America
Author(s):

Rachel C. Lee

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479817719.003.0002

This chapter considers how a critical biopolitical studies approach shifts the critical aims and insights afforded by Asian American cultural production. Using the examples of Ruth Ozeki's My Year of Meats, Greg Bear's Blood Music, and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, it outlines these authors' own puzzling out of whether the chromatic schema of the five races will become displaced by the nonisomeric categories of bios/zoe or whether a transliteration between the two is more likely. Asian American texts have been valuable to a revisionist U.S. literary canon precisely because of their testament to the racial exclusion of Asians. Belying the promise of color-blind political equality, this exclusion occurs through immigration, educational segregation, labor stratification also known as “glass ceilings,” criminalization as enemy aliens and spies, and social and psychic wounding through harmful stereotypes. The chapter also defines biopower by clarifying its relation to anatomopolitics, biopolitics, and necropolitics.

Keywords:   biopolitical, Asian American cultural production, five races, bios/zoe, U.S. literary canon, Asian racial exclusion, color-blind equality, immigration, labor stratification, stereotypes

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