On the Production of Localities in/near Metropolises in the United States : Transnationalism from Below/Margin and the Literary Representation of Minorities’ Lives


Lee, Yoo-Hyeok

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This paper examines the literary representation of the lives of urban ethnic minorities, particularly refugees and other disadvantaged migrants (including illegal immigrants), in the United States, by offering a critical reading of Dinaw Mengestu’s The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears and Ha Jin’s A Good Fall. The paper gives particular attention to how their lives are situated in close relation to certain urban areas to which their lives are deeply (re)attached in dislocation. This study intends to show how such urban places turn into ones to which a politics of minorities for survival is deeply attached. The paper also aims to critically engage with recent debates on transnationalism in American studies under the name of ‘the production of localities’ with the help of Simon Gikandi’s and Arjun Appadurai’s critical insights. Examining the production of localities by the abovementioned types of minorities, I argue, can assist us to explore an alternative and critical perspective on transnationalism in the United States by enabling us to consider ‘transnationalism from margin/below’ as a counterdiscourse against ‘transnationalism from mainstream/above.’


I. Introduction
 II. The Production of Localities and Transnationalism from Below/Margin
 III. Ha Jin, Dinaw Mengestu, and Literary Representation of Minorities’ Lives in the United States
 IV. Conclusion
 Works Cited


  • Lee, Yoo-Hyeok Pusan National University


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