Pledging transnational allegiances: Nationhood, selfhood, and belonging in Jewish American and Asian American immigrant narratives

2006 2006

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Abstract (summary)

"Pledging Transnational Allegiances: Nationhood, Selfhood, and Belonging in Asian American and Jewish American Narratives," represents a comparative study of immigrant fiction that traces its development over the course of the twentieth century. The use of Jewish American and Asian American writers occurs because of past and contemporary scholarly connections made between the two groups, which include their respective status as model minority subjects within the larger U.S. body politic. Moreover, with regard to immigration legislation and dominant-held ideas about the immigrant body, the two groups share histories of exclusion and inclusion.

The narratives examined in "Pledging Transnational Allegiances" are inflected with global sensibilities that traverse both countries of origin and countries of settlement. Thematically speaking, what links authors as diverse as Abraham Cahan, Sui Sin Far (Edith Maude Eaton), Israel Zangwill, C.Y. Lee, Mary Antin, Gish Jen, Nechama Tee and Luong Ung to one another is that each writer examines the ways in which citizenship is not necessarily the product of assimilation but rather the unstable outcome that occurs through the constant re-imagining of transnational affiliations vis-à-vis dominant-held notions of nationhood and selfhood. Concomitantly, these authors negotiate the complicated matrix of sociopolitical belonging through a particular trope of naturalization (the public process by which an immigrant obtains citizenship in the country of settlement). "Pledging Transnational Allegiances" moves the scholarly consideration of immigrant narratives from static and unilateral classifications (e.g. as stories of exodus and deliverance, narratives of rebirth, tales of melting-pot assimilation, and dramas of generational conflict) to a more politicized and multisided discussion of diaspora and ideological border crossings.

Indexing (details)

American studies;
American literature
0323: American studies
0591: American literature
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics; Asian-American; Belonging; Immigrant; Jewish American; Narratives; Nationhood; Selfhood
Pledging transnational allegiances: Nationhood, selfhood, and belonging in Jewish American and Asian American immigrant narratives
Schlund-Vials, Cathy J.
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 67/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Skerrett, Joseph; Tymoczko, Maria
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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