Why do black characters seem so often in Asian American literary works and Asian characters seem in African American literary works within the early 20th century? Interracial Encounters makes an attempt to respond to this really basic literary query, arguing that scenes depicting Black-Asian interactions, relationships, and conflicts seize the structure of African American and Asian American identities as every one workforce struggled to barter the racially exclusionary nature of yank identification.
In this nuanced learn, Julia H. Lee argues that the variety and ambiguity that symbolize those textual moments noticeably undermine the preferred concept that the background of Afro-Asian family members will be decreased to a monolithic, media-friendly narrative, even if of cooperation or antagonism. Drawing on works by way of Charles Chesnutt, Wu Tingfang, Edith and Winnifred Eaton, Nella Larsen, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Younghill Kang, Interracial Encounters foregrounds how those reciprocal representations emerged from the nation’s pervasive pairing of the determine of the “Negro” and the “Asiatic” in oppositional, overlapping, or analogous relationships inside a wide selection of renowned, medical, felony, and cultural discourses. Historicizing those interracial encounters inside a countrywide and worldwide context highlights how a number of racial teams formed the narrative of race and nationwide id within the early 20th century, in addition to how early 20th century American literature emerged from that multiracial political context.