18 January 2017

Book Review: The Feeling of Kinship

David Eng is an American English Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

David Eng is a really good writer and several times I had to go back and reread what I had just read. This book is no different. Eng examines the limitations of what he calls "queer liberalism" which is founded on the racist theory of a "colorblind" society -- that liberal freedom and "progress" are actually particular articulations of market forces which a racist history and structure.

He uses kinship and subjectivity to interrogate "queer liberalism" using film, literature and a psychoanalytical case study of a Korean adoptee to trace how Asian migrant labor, transnational Asian-American adoption and Japanese internment in World War II are all articulations of a particular type of forgetting in the neoliberal order that allows a queer "liberal" "freedom" to exist.

I feel the only limitation that Eng did not address was the role of Filipinos, the Philippine-America war or intraclan/transnational adoptions of Philippine children Is it that Asia is re-read as East Asian and somehow the Philippines is too far south, or east or both to make it into the Asian imaginary? Or perhaps it will be to the next scholar to bring Philippine Studies, American Studies and literary criticism together for America's first overseas colony.

The version I read was a 268 page paperback published by Duke University Press (April 30, 2010).

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