This chapter argues that comparative analyses of autobiographical works by ethnic writers typically fail to consider the extent to which minority autobiographies emphasize issues of authorship and artistry. Examination of the autobiographical writing of two early-twentieth-century writers—the Native American writer ZitkalaŠa and the Chinese American writer Sui Sin Far—suggests that both writers sought to present themselves in their autobiographical texts as legitimate American authors, and not only as complex ethnic subjects. Although their autobiographic essays do not conform to typical narratives of the acquisition of literacy, both writers emphasize early experiences of storytelling and childhood encounters with art in order to construct unique yet fully intelligible identities as ethnic American authors. Their shared preoccupation with issues of artistry thus points to a promising area for further investigation into inter-ethnic American life writing.
This essay deals with the multilayered trope of food in two autobiographical works published in 2005, Diana Abu-Jaber’s The Language of Baklava and Leslie Li’s Daughter of Heaven. Both works are considered “food memoirs” and, as the very term indicates, culinary rituals, commensality, recipes, and other food-related matters constitute the backbone of the narration. Abu-Jaber and Li use food as a vehicle for the exploration of memories of past events, as well as for the analysis of issues such as ethnicity, racism, identity and community. The fact that both works feature first and second generation members of ethnic groups in the United States—Arab Americans in the case of Abu-Jaber, and Chinese Americans in the case of Li— invites the “trans-ethnic” study of the two memoirs, which, surprisingly enough, present many stylistic and thematic similarities.
The doublings of memory and writing are shared themes and motifs in the autobiographical writings of two New Yorkers, Samuel R. Delany and Paul Auster, two writers whose writings are otherwise very distinct in style, reach and critical reception. The marginalized writer of consciously marginal “paraliterature,” as Delany calls his science-fiction and other genre experiments, contrasts with the increasingly acclaimed critical and popular favourite, Paul Auster. These distinctions, however, are precisely what allow their shared concerns in their memoirs to stand out, revealing two highly self-conscious writers who employ the autobiographical in ways that question the very discursive and genre conventions that enable the generic stereotyping their writings contest, implicitly or explicitly. In a context we could label as postmodern, their autobiographical writings constitute discursive doublings that explore the formal and thematic constraints of this particular textual mode, one that resists determinate generic classification. They both exploit the the dual temporal and thematic articulation that autobiography relies on—the oscillation between past and present, life and writing—in order to respect more fully the very notion of the autobiographical as experience in writing and writing as experience. The writing of memory and the memory which is writing here double each other in ways that are not always symmetrical and that foreground the skewed relationship that exists between the two. Seeking to authorize their own writing, to father their own discourse, they both resolve that impossibility, in a mode that can never catch up to its presumed objective, the coincidence of life and writing, by recognizing the role of the reader as metaphorically, the ‘son’ who fathers the ‘father’. The experience of autobiography ultimately exists for the reader, an experience of reading that calls upon its own memory, thus doubling in turn the double narrative which is autobiography itself.
1898 was short-lived, if not outright stolen, by a new colonizer in the form of the United States. The Americans presented themselves to the Filipinos as their “saviors” from the evils of Spain, but in reality became their new colonizers. This in turn began the Philippine-American War. Among the
present-day and future generations. Another dynamic that some of the chapters in this anthology attend to but would be important for future scholars of Filipino America activisms to be mindful of is the significance of place. Seattle, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York for example
, intellectuals located in the United States—some writing under pseudonyms—offered their own assessments of the United States’s imperial past and present. The first issue of the Bulletin was put together by Filipino activists working under the name, American Friends of the Filipino People. 26 These activists
) Demand the end of U.S. Military-Economic Aid and the reversal of its [then] present position and policies toward the Philippine dictatorship; and (5) Demand the end of harassment of Pilipinos and Americans who oppose the Marcos’s Regime in the United States (‘Five Points of Unity’ 1976). Comprised of a
Philippines” and “$50,000,000 worth of military equipment presented by the U.S. government.” In turn, Bulosan continued, “One of the first actions of the Roxas government was to force through legislation to make the Philippines economically subordinate to the U.S.” Through the passage of the “Philippine Trade
thus presented an opportune population for kdp to mobilize against the Marcos dictatorship. kdp ’s unique role in the Filipino community was uniting Filipino Americans and Filipino immigrants through a diasporic framework of activism. According to the Founding Congress, the kdp established, what
resurfaced three days later, having been dropped off near her uncle’s house. She then returned to the United States to recover from the torture she underwent. During the 2010 BAYAN-USA southern California retreat, Roxas was present as she had rejoined Habi Arts. Having her present at the retreat and mural