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Title page for ETD etd-11282005-115711

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Chung, Hyeyurn
URN etd-11282005-115711
Title The Color of Masculinity: Racialized Masculinities and the Reconfiguration of American Manhood
Degree PhD
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Cecelia Tichi Committee Co-Chair
Tina Chen Committee Co-Chair
Jay Clayton Committee Member
Sheila Smith McKoy Committee Member
  • American literature
  • masculinity studies
  • disidentification
  • Asian American literature
Date of Defense 2005-11-14
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation investigates how men on the racial margins, whose ownership of masculinity is contested within the American context, co-opt, subvert, and rupture – that is “disidentify” with – conventional registers of American manhood. José Esteban Muñoz explains disidentification as a survival strategy by which those outside the racial and sexual mainstream aim to negotiate and ultimately transform the cultural logic from within (11). While Muñoz’s work concentrates on the disidentification process of queer subjects, I theorize his paradigm in regards to Asian American literature by close-reading Frank Chin’s _The Chickencoop Chinaman_ (1981) which, I believe, best exemplifies disidentifying Asian American men in action. In addition to Chin, this dissertation reads works by three Asian American male authors Younghill Kang, Gus Lee, and Leonard Chang in order to elaborate on how these authors rewrite the dominant script of American manhood; these writers seemingly contend that the most effective way to disarticulate the majoritarian discourse that emasculates Asian American men is to for them to embrace black masculinity, which connotes hypermasculinity. These writers, nonetheless, elide that hypermasculinization of black bodies is the flipside of the same strategy that feminizes Asian American bodies, one that is mobilized to emasculate all nonwhite males. Thus I also delve into the slippage that occurs during the convoluted processes of disidentification. Along these lines, I critically assess (and, at the same time, embrace the shortcomings of) how Asian American men interrogate, reconcile with, and extenuate the prevalent definition of American masculinity. Acknowledging the possibility that disidentification may be an “imperfect” solution to remasculinize minority male subjects, theorizing literature by Asian American men through disidentification enables me to extensively critique the fixity of race and gender as categories.

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