Pedagogies of Woundedness

Illness, Memoir, and the Ends of the Model Minority

James Kyung-Jin Lee
Book Cover

PB: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-2186-9
Publication: Dec 21

HC: $110.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-2185-2
Publication: Dec 21

Ebook: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-2187-6
Publication: Dec 21

230 pages
6 x 9

What happens when illness betrays Asian American fantasies of indefinite progress?


The pressures Asian Americans feel to be socially and economically exceptional include an unspoken mandate to always be healthy. Nowhere is this more evident than in the expectation for Asian Americans to enter the field of medicine, principally as providers of care rather than those who require care. Pedagogies of Woundedness explores what happens when those considered model minorities critically engage with illness and medicine whether as patients or physicians.

James Kyung-Jin Lee considers how popular culture often positions Asian Americans as medical authorities and what that racial characterization means. Addressing the recent trend of writing about sickness, disability, and death, Lee shows how this investment in Asian American health via the model minority is itself a response to older racial forms that characterize Asian American bodies as diseased. Moreover, he pays attention to what happens when academics get sick and how illness becomes both methodology and an archive for scholars.

Pedagogies of Woundedness also explores the limits of biomedical “care,” the rise of physician chaplaincy, and the impact of COVID. Throughout his book and these case studies, Lee shows the social, ethical, and political consequences of these common (mis)conceptions that often define Asian Americans in regard to health and illness.

About the Author(s)

James Kyung-Jin Lee is an Associate Professor of Asian American Studies and English, and Director of the Center for Medical Humanities at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of Urban Triage: Race and the Fictions of Multiculturalism.


In the Series

  • Dis/Color edited by Nirmala Erevelles, Julie Avril Minich, and Cynthia Wu

    Dis/Color, edited by Nirmala Erevelles, Julie Avril Minich, and Cynthia Wu, highlights innovative books that reveal the intersections among racism, ableism, and other unequal structures and practices in U.S. and transnational contexts. The editors seek manuscripts grounded in disciplinary and transdisciplinary scholarship in the humanities and qualitative social sciences. Manuscripts may include those that address the lived experiences of people of color, those that broach theoretically informed claims, and those that involve empirically grounded perspectives about the regulatory and intersectional regimes of racial and ableist structures that shape human experience in the United States and globally. Prospective authors should contact the series editors or Temple University Press Editor Shaun Vigil to discuss their work in progress for inclusion in the series.