I'm prepping for the Asian-American lit. class which I'm teaching in the spring -- I have a tentative syllabus and plan, but I'd like to develop it further, and consider some alternative texts to use. Right now, I'm reading Elaine Kim's anthology, which I have to admit, is irritating me somewhat. She makes a lot of smart points, and it's a good overview of the topic, but her tone is a little contemptuous of writers whose politics she disapproves of -- for example, anyone who isn't sufficiently angry enough (in her opinion) about the racism they've been subjected to. And she's really not interested in accounts from upper or upper-middle or even middle-class writers, I think; her class politics lead her to put a strong emphasis on working class accounts. Which on the one hand, I understand, because certainly those accounts are neglected and disproportionately unrepresented overall. But her dismissiveness of the worth of all the other texts is getting to me. Yes, they're not representative of most Asian Americans -- that doesn't mean they're not worth paying attention to.
Let's not even discuss how S. Asians don't even show up in her book (aside from a one sentence apology for it in the intro), because in some sense, that's not really her fault -- it just reflects the general way Asian-American literary politics have been framed. Although it does get a bit tiring being ignored in conversations about Asian-American literature, over and over and over again.
Sigh. This probably isn't worth my getting angry about -- the book was published more than two decades ago, and the field has undoubtedly moved on since then. At the time, in context, I probably would have found her work incredibly fresh and exciting and brave. I mean, if I hadn't been eleven years old. :-)