Asian American Women's Popular Literature

Feminizing Genres and Neoliberal Belonging

Pamela Thoma
Book Cover

PB: $28.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1019-1
Publication: Nov 13

HC: $86.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1018-4
Publication: Nov 13

Ebook: $28.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1020-7

236 pages
6 x 9
2 halftones

How Asian American women writers mobilize popular genres of literature to imagine new forms of citizenship in a neoliberal society


A title in the American Literatures Initiative.

Popular genre fiction written by Asian American women and featuring Asian American characters gained a market presence in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. These “crossover” books—mother-daughter narratives, chick lit, detective fiction, and food writing—attempt to bridge ethnic audiences and a broader reading public. In Asian American Women's Popular Literature, Pamela Thoma considers how these books both depict contemporary American-ness and contribute critically to public dialogue about national belonging.

Novels such as Michelle Yu and Blossom Kan’s China Dolls and Sonia Singh’s Goddess for Hire, or mysteries including Sujata Massey’s Girl in a Box and Suki Kim’s The Interpreter, reveal Asian American women’s ambivalence about the trappings and prescriptions of mainstream American society. Thoma shows how these writers’ works address the various pressures on women to manage their roles in relation to family and finances—reconciling the demands of work, consumer culture, and motherhood—in a neoliberal society.

Table of Contents


1 Asian American Women’s Popular Literature, Neoliberalism, and Cultural Citizenship
2 Asian American Mother-Daughter Narrative and the Neoliberal American Dream of Transformative Femininity
3 Romancing the Self and Negotiating Postfeminist Consumer Citizenship in Asian American Women’s Labor Lit
4 Neoliberal Detective Work: Uncovering Cosmopolitan Corruption in the New Economy
5 Food Writing and Transnational Belonging in Global Consumer Culture
6 Conclusion: Crossing Over and Going Public


About the Author(s)

Pamela Thoma is Associate Professor of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies and a member of the Graduate Faculty in American Studies at Washington State University.