chapter
10 Pages

Introduction

ByAPARAJITA NANDA

The goal of Ethnic Literatures and Transnationalism: Critical Imaginaries for a Global Age is to undertake a theoretically and conceptually rich analysis of the transnational turn in literary studies. Though the focus is primarily on literary works, literature here is defined in its broadest sense of being a documentation of culture (as indicated in the subtitle of the volume). Films, artwork, and even political or social rituals, when they become vehicles of chronicling and memorializing culture, are susceptible to literary analysis and share with literature certain generic affinities and particular concerns. The book addresses a curious vacuum of work on how Ethnic Studies influences theories and practices of transnationalism. Ethnic Studies as a field has sometimes remained suspicious of transnational approaches that risk universalizing “ethnicity” and obscuring the particularism of the many different kinds of ethnic affiliations covered by Ethnic Studies. This volume seeks to overcome the inherent U.S.-centric aspects of much scholarship in Ethnic Studies. As new comparative horizons of race and ethnicity open up, scholars such as those contributing to this collection are identifying and exploring new topics and questions in an effort to reconceptualize ethnic studies and draw attention to the variety of ways transnationalism is being mobilized by contemporary Ethnic Studies.