To create this reading list, I talked to five professors: Prof. Todd Nordgren (Sexuality Studies), Prof. Moffat (English; Queer Biography), Prof. Sarah Kersh (English; Queer Studies), Prof. Sheela Menon (English; Asian American Lit), and Prof. Adrienne Su (Creative Writing; Asian American Poetry). The parentheses denote their disciplines and/or their fields that I sought out and thought relevant for my inquiry.
I want to study the writer Ocean Vuong’s oeuvre up to date, which includes a poetry collection and a novel; the two works examine a queer diasporic Vietnamese American mode of being; and perhaps not just Vuong’s oeuvre, but his intentionality and impulses behind his writing as well, because he himself, in numerous interviews and talks, has enunciated and insisted on the unbreakable tie between his authorship and the content of his work, how his identities continue to inform what he writes–how he keeps coming back to the same questions of queerness, diasporas, kinship because these subjects are never exhaustive and inextricable from his body and the bodies in his familial genealogy. His novel On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous revisits the same subjects of his first poetry collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds and so is another poetry collection of his upcoming in April 2022.
I’m interested in form, the form of his texts, in their queer diasporic aesthetics—how his multilingual poetics + multimodal/fragmentary narrative form can inform about a queer diasporic Asian American subject, a mode of being already alternative, hybrid, and multiple; and subsequently inform us how to live in the 21st century onwards (this is broad; I’ll keep it so for now). The fields of diasporas studies, of queer Asian America studies, are quite new, branching only over 30 years of scholarship. Prof. Menon made me a list of introductory readings to these fields and within which I would have to situate my inquiry and my findings. My job now is to read and try to situate myself and Vuong’s texts in the tradition of the field but also to figure out how we can enrich and even constitute a movement of our own.
Update: Regarding the whole monographs that I listed before, I will now acquiesce to reading only their introductions and will decide if I want to read more into the monographs later on. As for primary texts, I listed Vuong’s debut poetry collection and novel; I include also the most recent interview of his at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute and also an article he wrote, illuminating on the form of his novel and the literary works that helped him write it; of course, there’re a myriad of other fruitful interviews I’ll select and add to the list.
Thesis Reading List
Boone, Joseph Allen. “Preface: Re-orienting Sexuality”. The Homoerotics of Orientalism. Columbia UP, 2014.
Eng, David L. “Out Here and Over There: Queerness and Diaspora in Asian American Studies.” Social Text, no. 52/53, Duke UP, 1997, pp. 31–52, https://doi.org/10.2307/466733.
Eng, David L., and Alice Y. Hom. “Introduction”. Q & A: Queer in Asian America. Temple UP, 1998.
Eng, David L. “Introduction: Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy”. The Feeling of Kinship: Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy. Duke UP, 2010, https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv113186m.
Gopinath, Gayatri. “Introduction: Archive, Region, Affect, Aesthetics.” Unruly Visions : The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora. Duke University Press, 2018.
Lowe, Lisa. “Immigration, Citizenship, Racialization: Asian American Critique.” Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics, Duke UP, 1996.
Lien, Vu Hong, and Peter Sharrock. “Introduction.” Descending Dragon, Rising Tiger : A History of Vietnam, Reaktion Books, Limited, 2015.
Muñoz, José Esteban. “Introduction.” Cruising Utopia : the Then and There of Queer Futurity. 10th Anniversary edition., New York UP, 2019.
Manalansan, Martin F., and Alice Y. Hom, and Kale Bantique Fajardo, editors. “Introduction.” Q & A: Voices from Queer Asian North America. Temple UP, 2021.
Nguyen, Viet Thanh. Race & Resistance Literature & Politics in Asian America. Oxford UP, 2002.
Parikh, Crystal, and Daniel Y. Kim. The Cambridge Companion to Asian American Literature. Cambridge UP, 2015.
Pelaud, Isabelle Thuy. “Introduction.” This Is All I Choose to Tell: History and Hybridity in Vietnamese American Literature. Temple UP, 2011.
Wang, Dorothy J. “Introduction.” Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry. Stanford UP, 2013.
1. Vuong, Ocean. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. Penguin Books, 2019.
2. Vuong, Ocean. “Reading and Conversation with Ocean Vuong.” Harvard Radcliffe Institute, 16 Apr 2021. Reading. https://youtu.be/KSoRF61n0ZQ
3. Vuong, Ocean. “Ocean Vuong: the 10 Books I Needed to Write My Novel.” Literary Hub, 1 October 2019. https://lithub.com/ocean-vuong-the-10-books-i-needed-to-write-my-novel/
4. Vuong, Ocean. Night Sky with Exit Wounds. Copper Canyon Press, 2016.
Journals to survey:
- GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (I’ll survey this one mainly)
- MELUS: Journal of the Society for the Study of the Multi-ethnic Literature of the United States
- Asian American Literature: Discourses & Pedagogies
- Asian American
- Multilingual poetics; aesthetics; form