Troubling Borders: An Anthology of Art and Literature by Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora

(Troubling Borders book trailer by UWashingtonPress on Youtube)

Alone and used,
I find strength to bear the storm that will come and cleanse my land,
Replenish my trampled soil.
And when they come again,
I will welcome them with tides and storms of thunder and lightning.
And they will never set foot on my sacred land again.
– Yer Yang, “Virgin Land, Virgin Body”

Anida Yoeu Ali, Palimpsest for Generation 1.5, 2010, Performance, Video Courtesy of the artist

Anida Yoeu Ali, Palimpsest for Generation 1.5, 2010, Performance, Image Courtesy of the artist

The cruel dragon lady, the submissive geisha girls, the meekly flirtatious sexy nymph, the manipulative vixen…What is wrong with these stereotypical images? The major problem of stereotype is it objectifying “human,” which extremely damaging to self-esteem.

The mainstream media have successfully portrays Asian female as passive docile, obedient china dolls. Notoriously famous cases in this point are The World of Suzie Wong, Miss Saigon, Madame Butterfly.

However, “Troubling Borders” offers another mirror which rooted on truth. Published in 2013, this anthology pairs with poems, creative writings, photographs and visual art works of sixty two women of Southeast Asian descent.

This book “Troubling Borders” presents text and imagery on which these women are investigating socio-political issues, history and identity; their provocative thoughts questioning about colonization, wars and migration. Their gifted art expression and bold voices break through the stereotypical Asian female images.

“Troubling Borders” book cover. Image courtesy University of Washington Press.

“Troubling Borders” book cover. Image courtesy University of Washington Press.

The titles of each chapters provide a glance of their compelling stories:

  • Wombs and wounds: Family relations in the diaspora
  • Coming to voice: Language, writing, literacy
  • Homes and homelands
  • Loving sex/sexing love
  • Militarised lives
  • Asians in America
  • Race, roots, religion
  • Travel narratives and narratives that travel
  • Speech acts: Labour, activism, resistance

These South Eastern female artists and writers provide their most private and real perspective of the shifting world. They refuse to be silenced.

Book Review Event
Sponsored by The Poetry Center, Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network, Asian American Studies Department and Fine Arts Gallery. Free.
Date: Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 12:30pm – 2:00pm
Directions: Humanities Building, The Poetry Center View on Google Maps
Website:  The Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives
Facebook: R.S.V.P. on Facebook
Sponsor: The Poetry Center, San Francisco State University
Tel: 415-338-2227

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One thought on “Troubling Borders: An Anthology of Art and Literature by Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora

  1. Pingback: Troubling Borders: An Anthology of Art and Literature by Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora | Ragnarok Connection

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