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Minor Transnationalism

Minor Transnationalism

Editors: Francoise Lionnet (Professor of French and Francophone Studies, UCLA) and Shu-mei Shih

Minor Transnationalism moves beyond a binary model of minority cultural formations that often dominates contemporary cultural and postcolonial studies. Where that model presupposes that minorities necessarily and continuously engage with and against majority cultures in a vertical relationship of assimilation and opposition, this volume brings together case studies that reveal a much more varied terrain of minority interactions with both majority cultures and other minorities. The contributors recognize the persistence of colonial power relations and the power of global capital, attend to the inherent complexity of minor expressive cultures, and engage with multiple linguistic formations as they bring postcolonial minor cultural formations across national boundaries into productive comparison.

Based in a broad range of fields—including literature, history, African studies, Asian American studies, Asian studies, French and francophone studies, and Latin American studies—the contributors complicate ideas of minority cultural formations and challenge the notion that transnationalism is necessarily a homogenizing force. They cover topics as diverse as competing versions of Chinese womanhood; American rockabilly music in Japan; the trope of mestizaje in Chicano art and culture; dub poetry radio broadcasts in Jamaica; creole theater in Mauritius; and race relations in Salvador, Brazil. Together, they point toward a new theoretical vocabulary, one capacious enough to capture the almost infinitely complex experiences of minority groups and positions in a transnational world.


“Highlighting minor-to-minor global networks that connect the margins without having to go through the center, Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih’s intriguing collection sparkles when put next to the usual anthologies on globalization. Individual essays on theory, literacy, performance, cinema, music, architecture, and borderlands cumulatively emphasize the multiple outcomes of cultural transversality and horizontal mobility. Reaching beyond the triumphalism of mainstream globalization discourse, Minor Transnationalism demonstrates that the moment for a better understanding of minoritization has truly arrived.”—Srinivas Aravamudan, author of Tropicopolitans: Colonialism and Agency, 1688–1804
Minor Transnationalism opens up new approaches to reading minority cultures and major/minor dynamics of capitalist globalization and postcolonial emergence from Paris and Los Angeles to Japan, Jamaica, Nigeria, and Brazil. It wrests the ‘transnational’ away from tired paradigms of global capitalism or ethnic cooptation and makes it do the work of ‘minority-becoming.’ The result is a fabulous collection of cultural plenitude, globalized imagination, and critical lucidity.”—Rob Wilson, author of Reimagining the American Pacific: From South Pacific to Bamboo Ridge and Beyond
Duke University Press
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