Author: Rahul K. Gairola,Sharanya Jayawickrama
Category: Social Science
Contemporary Asia is a diverse and sweeping region throughout which traumatic legacies of colonialism persist as military regimes and dictatorships have produced untold human suffering. Countless losses of life have been caused by disease, revolution, civil war, and genocide from the distant past into the 21st century. A global pandemic, natural catastrophes, closed borders, and acute xenophobia render existing social and political tensions even more volatile today. As such, two critical imperatives of Memory, Trauma, Asia are to re-think established insights of memory and trauma theory and to enrich trauma studies with diverse Asian texts for critically analyzing literary and cultural representations of Asia and its global diasporas. This volume broadens the scope of memory and trauma studies by prompting and dialogically meditating on the following questions: Is memory always a reliable register of the past? Is trauma a concept that translates across cultures? Can pain and affect have global applicability and utility for literary and cultural analysis? Do the approaches and perspectives generated by literary and cultural texts hold purchase for social, political, and historical interventions in the 21st century? How are Asians subject to orientalist lenses that warrant foreclosure of empathy and humanity? How do inter-ethnic racism, inter-Asian classism, queerphobia, sexism, misogynoir, and systemic xenophobia continue to impact Asian people and culture? By critically meditating on whether existing concepts of memory and trauma accurately address the histories, present states, and futures of the non-Occidental world, this volume unites perspectives on both dominant and marginalized sites of the broader Asian continent. Contributors explore the complex and surprising intersections of literature, history, ethics, affect, and social justice across the region through its wide-ranging but comparative focus on geo-political sites across East, South, and Southeast Asia, and on Asian diasporas in Australia and the USA. This volume is thus the first of its kind to argue for a comparative methodology in memory and trauma studies that centers Asia rather than pushing it to the periphery of the Occident. It will appeal to scholars, students, teachers, and readers interested in memory and trauma studies, comparative Asian studies, diaspora and postcolonial studies, global studies, and women, gender, and sexuality studies in the 21st century.