The Célestin Prophecy: Ha Jin’s “After Cowboy Chicken Came to Town,” Lawrence Chua’s <i>Gold by the Inch</i>, and the Limits of Exoticism

Authors

  • Roderick B. Overaa, East Tennessee State University, USA

Abstract

Increasingly, postcolonial scholars are recognising that the discipline must move beyond the mere critique of European imperialism, and that the future lies, in part, in seeking solutions to the conflicts and injustices that remain the persistent legacy of the colonial era. A concurrent trend in literature departments has been the push to incorporate and encourage comparative methodologies. This essay brings into conversation two works of Asian American fiction that address the problematics of transnational encounter in the age of globalisation. In both Ha Jin’s “After Cowboy Chicken Came to Town†and Lawrence Chua’s Gold by the Inch the authors explore familiar postcolonial themes: Western economic and cultural hegemony, cultural imperialism, the legacy of the Euro-American colonial era – yet they do so from a very particular (and increasingly common) perspective that as yet has not been sufficiently addressed by postcolonial scholars. Reading these texts through the lens of Roger Célestin’s theorisation of the limits of traditional literary exoticism in From Cannibals to Radicals, this essay calls for a re-evaluation, not merely of our understanding of literary exoticism, nor merely of our understanding of the transpacific as a political imaginary, but also of our long-held conceptions of national literature and comparative scholarship.

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Author Biography

Roderick B. Overaa, East Tennessee State University, USA

Dr. Roderick B. Overaa holds a M.F.A. in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington, USA. His dissertation, Eastern Religion and the Dilemmas of the Modern, explores the influence of Asian religion and philosophy on 19th and 20th century Anglo-American writers. His creative work has appeared in such publications as Silk Road, Zahir, Kyoto Journal and Hiragana Times. He currently teaches American and British literature at East Tennessee State University.  

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Published

2013-06-15

How to Cite

Overaa, East Tennessee State University, USA, R. B. (2013). The Célestin Prophecy: Ha Jin’s “After Cowboy Chicken Came to Town,” Lawrence Chua’s &lt;i&gt;Gold by the Inch&lt;/i&gt;, and the Limits of Exoticism. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 7(1), 82–100. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/asiatic/index.php/ajell/article/view/292

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Articles