A Visual Asian American Diaspora: Belle Yang’s Hannah is My Name (2004) and Guene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese (2006)

  •  Marwa Fahmi    


The current study aims at theorizing the question of identity within the framework of postcolonial studies in two visual narratives: Belle Yang’s Hannah is My Name (2004) and Guene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese (2006). Asian American studies have recently interrogated identity marking a shift from ethnic nationalism to recognition of multiplicity. The study also seeks to counter Orientalist stereotypes in American literature through the analysis and examination of postcolonial Asian American Diaspora to highlight a number of questions: 1) How is the identity of the Asian immigrant’s hybrid visually constructed? 2) How can Asian American visuals be addressed in non-white children’s literature? 3) What nurtures the transnational imaginations of the authors/illustrators in question? 4) What are the ramifications of transnational perspectives on Asian American narratives? 5) What are the nature of belonging and citizenship? The questions are a vehicle to investigate the cultural and ethnic politics of Chinese American literature and to explore new forms of self-identification in American literary discourse. They also yield rich insights into how to practice multiculturalism. What draws the visual narratives in question together is their postcolonial theme of reformulated identity to unsettle dichotomies within Asian American community. Furthermore, the present study explores semiotic systems in terms of image syntax, gestural, spatial and iconic signs to examine the relation between the denotative context of the narrative text and the connotation of the visual text that creates polysemous illustrations and indefinite meaning-making.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4768
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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