Identifying and Mapping Issues, Theories, & Research in Asian/American Rhetoric(s): An Annotated Bibliography

Introduction to On Not Speaking Chinese: Living Between Asia and the West

Posted in Uncategorized by Jennifer Sano-Franchini on May 7, 2009

Ang, Ien. “Introduction.” On Not Speaking Chinese: Living Between Asia and the West. London: Routledge, 2001.

In the introduction to On Not Speaking Chinese, Ang centers on identity as it pertains to the postcolonial diasporic intellectual, “born in the Third World and educated and working in the West,” reflecting on her own experience as a Chinese born in Indonesia, and raised in the Netherlands (1). Of particular interest to rhetoric studies and Asian/American rhetoric(s) is Ang’s notion of hybridity, that space between Asia and “the West”: “‘Hybridity’ captures in a shorthand fashion the complexities and ambiguities of any politics in an increasingly globalized, postcolonial and multicultural world, a world in which heroic, utopian ideas of revolutionary transformation seem seriously out of touch even as sites of social struggle and political conflict have multiplied… Hybridity, here, should not be dismissed pejoratively as the merely contingent and ephemeral, equated with lack of commitment and political resoluteness, but should be valued in James Clifford’s words, ‘as a pragmatic response, making the best of given (often bad) situations…in limited historical conjunctures’. (3) In this way, Ang is particularly effective for grounding discussions of hybridity with rhetorical purpose: “Hybridity is a necessary concept to hold onto in this condition, because unlike other key concepts in the contemporary politics of difference–such as diaspora and multiculturalism–it foregrounds complicated entanglement rather than identity, togetherness-in-difference rather than virtual apartheid” (3).

Reading Chinese Fortune Cookie: The Making of Chinese American Rhetoric

Posted in Asian American Rhetoric(s) by Jennifer Sano-Franchini on May 7, 2009

Mao, LuMing. Reading Chinese Fortune Cookie: The Making of Chinese American Rhetoric. Logan: Utah State UP, 2006.

Defining rhetoric as “the systematic, organized use and study of discourse and discourse strategies in interpersonal, intercultural contexts, reflecting and reinforcing rhetoricians’ own ideology, their own norms of discourse production and discourse consumption, and their ability to persuade, to adjust, and to realign” (13), Mao takes a cross-cultural approach to rhetoric, acknowledging that “The process of differentiation, unfortunately, is never an innocent one: it always embeds a likely risk of differentiating one tradition according to or in relation to the norm of some other tradition” (13), but also explaining that “to study another rhetorical tradition for comparison or for understanding, we must start somewhere. More often than not, we begin with principles or concepts that are most familiar to our own sensibilities and to our own common sense” (89). Drawing on the work of Ien Ang, Mao focuses particularly on the notions of hybridity, “togetherness-in-difference,” and “process of becoming” as central to Asian American rhetoric.