“Maternal Melancholia”: Reading Diasporic Asian Canadian Motherwork in the Fictions of Kerri Sakamoto, Hiromi Goto, and Madeleine Thien

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Title: “Maternal Melancholia”: Reading Diasporic Asian Canadian Motherwork in the Fictions of Kerri Sakamoto, Hiromi Goto, and Madeleine Thien
Authors: Vu, Dorothy
Date: 2014
Abstract: What does it mean for an immigrant to be a “good” mother? Asian immigrants in Canada experience pressures to assimilate to a “normal,” homogenous ideal of Canadian culture—to erase aspects of their own cultural identity as well as their diasporic history. Asian mothers specifically are subject to mothering ideologies that depict white, middle-class, happy mothers as the norm. This thesis examines literary depictions of this phenomenon in novels by Kerri Sakamoto, Hiromi Goto, and Madeleine Thien. Each of these authors offers representations of motherhood that counter racialized and gendered ideals of mothering, and that refuse to ignore the sometimes traumatic effects that diaspora can have on immigrant families. Through David Eng and Shinhee Han’s notion of “racial melancholia”, I argue that the mothers in these novels conduct “maternal melancholia,” a form of motherwork that subverts dominant ideologies of mothering, resists assimilation, and sustains losses incurred through racialization and diaspora.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/31802
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-6707
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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