“Imagination is a Tricky Power”: Transnationalism and Aesthetic Education in Shirley Geok-lin Lim’s Work


  • Silvia Schultermandl, University of Graz, Austria


In light of the recent "transnational turn" in American Studies, there has been a steady interest in questions about literary productions and aesthetic education. Already Friedrich Schiller’s definition of the concept of aesthetic education in 1794 holds that literature has the potential to assume the role of an agent working towards a paradigm shift away from the national as representational category and towards the embracing of transnational concepts. My article examines the relevance of aesthetic education apparent in a selection of Shirley Lim’s work. Framed through the personal experiences of protagonists and lyrical personae that are always issuing meta-referential comments on the creation of literature or the production and dissemination of knowledge, Lim emphasises the role of aesthetic education as a politically-charged feeling of beauty and belonging. Examples from Lim’s fictional and non-fictional work allow me to trace the ontological dimensions aesthetic education acquires in a transnational context.


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Author Biography

Silvia Schultermandl, University of Graz, Austria

Silvia Schultermandl is an assistant professor of American Studies at the University of Graz, where she teaches courses in American literature and culture studies. She has published widely on ethnic American literature, transnational feminism and 9/11. She is the author of Transnational Matrilineage: Mother-Daughter Relationships in Asian American Literature (2009) and the (co-) editor of Contemporary Asian American and British Asian Literatures (2006), A Fluid Sense of Self: The Politics of Transnational Identity (2010), Growing Up Transnational: Identity and Kinship in a Global Era (2011) and Contact Spaces of American Culture: Localizing Global Phenomena (2012). Together with Erin Kenny (Drury University), she is the series editor of LIT Verlag’s book series Contributions to Transnational Feminism. She is currently at work on a monograph on the aesthetics of transnationalism in American literature from the revolution to 9/11.




How to Cite

Schultermandl, University of Graz, Austria, S. (2014). “Imagination is a Tricky Power”: Transnationalism and Aesthetic Education in Shirley Geok-lin Lim’s Work. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 8(1), 40–54. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/asiatic/index.php/ajell/article/view/452



Articles on Shirley Geok-lin Lim