Literature, Wars, and the American Body (Scholarship section)

Reprinted by permission of the authors. Copyright © 2012 by Paul Y. Lai, Susan Muchshima Moynihan, Daniel Young-Hoon Kim, Adrian Khactu, Jodi S. Kim

Part 3. Information on panelists' and presider's scholarship, particularly scholarship that directly relates to the session topic

Susan Muchshima Moynihan (panelist) is Assistant Professor of English at the State University New York at Buffalo where she has also served as director of the Masters Program. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Purdue University. Her current book project, "Affect, History, and the Subject of Asian American Literature," takes up affect theory to explore historical trauma, bodies, and emotions in Asian American literature. She has presented portions of her research at the American Studies Association, Northeast Modern Language Association, Association for Asian American Studies, and the Modern Language Association. She research focuses on texts such as Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies, Heinz Insu Fenkl's Memories of My Ghost Brother, lê thi diem thúy's The Gangster We Are All Looking For, Aimee Phan's We Shall Never Meet, Andrew X. Pham's Catfish and Mandala, Meena Aiexander's Fault Lines, and Abraham Verghese's My Own Country. She has taught a range of courses such as "Affect and Autobiography: Asian American Life Writing;" "Trauma, History, and the Body in Asian American Literature," and "Asian American Sexualities."

Daniel Y. Kim (panelist) is Associate Professor of English at Brown University. He received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. His book, Writing Manhood in Black and Yellow: Ralph Ellison, Frank Chin and the Literary Politics of Identity (Stanford, 2005), brings together Asian American and African American literary studies in an exploration of masculinity in narratives of racialized identity. His current book-in-progress, "The Dematerialized Zone: American Representations of the Korean War," examines American cultural representations of what has come to be known as the forgotten war, with a primary aim of working against the seeming historical erasure of this event. The project returns to cultural texts from the 1950s, from novels to films and journalistic accounts, that enable us to understand how this conflict was depicted as it was occurring and to trace how it became forgotten--how it came to be dematerialized in the American historical imaginary. The study also reflects upon the psychic and political issues raised by works of a recent generation of Korean American authors (Susan Choi, Nora Okja Keller, and Chang-rae Lee) that attest to the lingering, if sometimes unarticulated, influence of the war. These authors' writings also occasion a reconsideration of the forms of subjectivity that might emerge through the remembrance of an injurious and significant, though largely forgotten past. He has also published a number of essays including "Bled in Letter by Letter: Translation, Postmemory and the Subject of Korean War History in Susan Choi's The Foreign Student" in American Literary History (2009), "Once More With Feeling: Cold War Masculinity and the Sentiment of Patriotism in John Okada's No-No Boy" in Criticism (2005), “’Do I, Too, Sing America?’ Vernacular Representations and Chang-rae Lee's Native Speaker” in Journal of Asian American Studies (2003), "The Strange Love of Frank Chin" in Q&A: Queer in Asian America (1998), and "Invisible Desires: Homoerotic Racism and Its Homophobic Critique in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man" in Novel (1997).

Adrian Khactu (panelist) is a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Pennsylvania where his research focuses on literature and film, comparative racial and ethnic studies, and queer theory. He received an M.A. in creative writing from Temple University and his B.A. in English and creative writing from Stanford University. He has taught courses such as "Introduction to Critical Literary Theory," "Hollywood, Race, & Sex: Topics in Film Practice," and “Race Matters: Writing Ethnic Studies." He has presented papers at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) and the American Studies Association (ASA). He has won numerous awards for his research, teaching, and creative writing.

Jodi Kim (respondent) is Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Riverside. She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Comparative Ethnic Studies. Her book Ends of Empire: Asian American Critique and the Cold War is forthcoming in 2010 from University of Minneapolis Press as part of the Critical American Studies Series. She has also published essays in a number of refereed journals, including "An Orphan with Two Mothers: Transnational and Transracial Adoption, the Cold War, and Contemporary Asian American Cultural Politics" in American Quarterly (2009); "From Mee-gook to Gook: The Cold War and Racialized Undocumented Capital in Chang-rae Lee's Native Speaker' in MELUS (2009); "I'm Not Here, If This Doesnt Happen: The Korean War and Cold War Epistemologies in Susan Choi's The Foreign Student and Heinz Insu Fenkl's Memories of My Ghost Brother" in Journal of Asian American Studies (2008); and "Haunting History: Violence, Trauma, and the Politics of Memory in Nora Okja Keller's Comfort Woman" in Hitting Critical Mass: A Journal of Asian American Cultural Criticism (1999). She has developed courses such as "Asian American Literature: A Historical Survey"; “Asian American Film and Video"; "Theories of Race and Resistance"; and "Imperialism, Colonialism, Racism: Global Perspectives."

Paul Lai (presider) is an Instructor of Asian American Literature at the University of St. Thomas and a member of the Asian American Literature Division executive committee of the MLA. His primary research focuses on sounds in Asian American cultural production, from screams to accented English and popular music. He has also been working on a second project examining contact between Native and Asian bodies, histories, texts, and stories in North America. His publications include Autoethnography Otherwise: Challenging Poetics and Re-Meaning Race in Fred Wah’s Creative Nonfiction in an anthology of critical essays titled Beyond Autoethnography in Asian Canadian Writing and Stinky Bodies: Mythological Futures and the Olfactory Sense in Larissa Lais Salt Fish Girl in MELUS. He has reviewed Asian American literature and criticism in journals such as MELUS, Modern Fiction Studies, and Asian American Literary Review. He is the co-editor of a special issue of Mfs on Theorizing Asian American Fiction (March 2010) and a forthcoming special issue of American Quarterly on Alternative Contact: Indigeneity, Globalism, and American Studies (September 2010). He has taught a graduate course on War and Colonialism in Asian American Literature and other courses that focus on narratives of militarism, empire, and trauma.