This dissertation reconsiders the extant critique of Asian American identity politics in Asian American literary studies. The intellectual "war of position" initiated over claiming the legitimacy of Asian America has been articulated in the combined terms of both race and gender. I argue that the way in which the war of position is articulated in the binaries between nationalist and feminist critiques and between race-bound identity politics and non-identity politics is a misguided framework for understanding the point at issue in Asian American literary studies. The intra-racial anxiety about the identity-based politics of Asian America originates not so much in the identitarian distinction between the real and the fake or between the good subject and the bad subject; rather, it is attributed to a discursive gap in the self-affirmation of "what Asian America is" within the larger framework of American nationalism. This gap results from the variable extent to which Asian Americans make their dynamic relationship--namely, both resisting and collaborating--with American nationalism in relation to which Asian America came into being both autonomously and subordinately.
Within the contextual framework, this dissertation explores the way in which the stereotypes of Asian Americans operate as fundamental to the constitution of both Asian America and white America. I make use of psychoanalysis as a methodological tool to analyze the dialectical dynamics between Asians in America and the gaze of white-centered American society where the exotic presence of the former evokes the desire and anxiety of the latter simultaneously. Within this framework, this dissertation collects some representative cultural products of Asian America as touchstones of Asian American representation. I consider the collection an ideological matrix of the symbolic reality that constitutes the uneven relations of our lives in terms of race, gender, and sexuality and takes them for granted. Simultaneously, this collection shows how both white and Asian Americas negotiate with each other to attend to both intra-racial and inter-racial anxiety and trauma caused by their racial, cultural, sexual, geographical encounters at various levels of different historical and political contexts.