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The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) cordially invites you to join an insightful discussion with Dr. Melody Yunzi Li, Assistant Professor in Chinese Studies at the University of Houston and author of Transpacific Cartographies: Narrating the Contemporary Chinese Diaspora in the United States. This event will explore how contemporary Chinese diasporic narratives address the existential loss of home for immigrant communities at a time of global precarity and amid rising Sino-US tensions.

Dr. Li will highlight cultural productions of the Chinese diaspora from the 1990s to the present, including novels by Sinophone writers Yan Geling (The Criminal Lu Yanshi), Shi Yu (New York Lover), Chen Qian (Listen to the Caged Bird Sing), and Rong Rong (Notes of a Couple), as well as Anglophone writer Ha Jin (A Free Life; A Map of Betrayal), and selected TV shows (Beijinger in New York; The Way We Were). Dr. Li argues that the characters in these stories create multilayered maps that transcend territorial boundaries, making the search for a home in a foreign land a seemingly impossible task. These “maps” outline a transpacific landscape reflecting the psycho-geography of homemaking for diasporic communities, offering readers diverse paths to finding a sense of home no matter where they are.

The conversation will feature Carah Naseem, Associate Editor at Rutgers University Press, and will be moderated by Yifan Wu, MOCA’s Director of Programs. Following an overview of Transpacific Cartographies, the discussion will touch on academic publishing and the burgeoning scholarship on colonialism and imperialism, labor and social justice movements, ecocriticism, and discourses on gender, sexuality, and race.

About Melody Yunzi Li

Dr. Melody Yunzi Li is an Assistant Professor in Chinese Studies at the University of Houston. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Washington University in St. Louis, an MPhil degree in Translation Studies at the University of Hong Kong, and a BA in English/Translation Studies from Sun Yat-sen University, China. Her research interests include Asian diaspora literature, modern Chinese literature and culture, migration studies, translation studies, cultural identities, and performance studies. She is the author of Transpacific Cartographies: Narrating the Contemporary Chinese Diaspora in the U.S. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2023) and the co-editor of Remapping the Homeland: Affective Geographies and Cultures of the Chinese Diaspora. (London: Palgrave McMillan, 2022). She has published in various journals including Pacific Coast Philology, Telos, and others. Besides her specialty in Chinese literature, Dr. Li is also a Chinese dancer and translator.

About Carah Naseem

Carah Naseem is an associate editor at Rutgers University Press, where she acquires books in Asian and Asian Diasporic Studies, as well as Jewish Studies, and Religious Studies. She is the acquiring editor for the Asian American Studies Today series, and also acquires for two series of literature in translation, including a forthcoming series entitled DITTA: Korean Humanities in Translation. Carah acquires books which seek out the marginal, advance the theoretical, and push disciplinary boundaries. She is interested in projects that examine the legacies of colonialism and imperialism, current labor and social justice movements, ecocriticism, and (re)emergent discourses on gender, sexuality, and race. She acquires scholarly monographs, edited collections, as well as trade titles for general readers. Carah is a native New Yorker, but now lives across the Hudson in Jersey City with her partners, child, and (four) pets. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, eating, dancing, going on hikes, and singing with her choir (which rehearses quite nearby to MOCA, in Soho).

August 8, 2024
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
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