The Exquisite Corpse of Asian America

Biopolitics, Biosociality, and Posthuman Ecologies

Lee, Rachel C.
Rachel C. Lee

NYU Press (publisher)

Winner of the 2016 Association for Asian American Studies Award for Best Book in Cultural Studies

The Exquisite Corpse of
Asian America
addresses this central question: if race has been settled as a legal or social
construction and not as biological fact, why do Asian American artists,
authors, and performers continue to scrutinize their body parts? Engaging
novels, poetry, theater, and new media from both the U.S. and
internationally—such as Kazuo Ishiguro’s science fiction novel Never Let Me
Go or Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats and exhibits like that of Body
Worlds in which many of the bodies on display originated from Chinese prisons—Rachel
C. Lee teases out the preoccupation with human fragments and posthuman
ecologies in the context of Asian American cultural production and theory. She
unpacks how the designation of “Asian American” itself is a mental construct
that is paradoxically linked to the biological body.

 Through chapters that each use a body part as springboard for
reading Asian American texts, Lee inaugurates a new avenue of research on
biosociality and biopolitics within Asian American criticism, focused on the
literary and cultural understandings of pastoral governmentality, the divergent
scales of embodiment, and the queer (cross)species being of racial subjects.
She establishes an intellectual alliance and methodological synergy between
Asian American studies and Science and Technology Studies (STS), biocultures,
medical humanities, and femiqueer approaches to family formation, carework,
affect, and ethics. In pursuing an Asian Americanist critique concerned with
speculative and real changes to human biologies, she both produces innovation
within the field and demonstrates the urgency of that critique to other
disciplines.

Related Titles


WRITE A REVIEW

Rate the book on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest:

1
2
3
4
5

Goodreads reviews for The Exquisite Corpse of Asian America