Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This thesis examines recently published Asian American comics and argues that their engagement with both Asian and American popular culture is a new form of "claiming America." Popular culture is an arena integral to the American national imagination, and hence these comics assert that Asian Americans are consumers of and participants in American popular media, offer criticisms of stereotypes against Asian Americans and suggest alternative representations and representative practices. I argue that "claiming America" must also be inflected globally due to the emphasis on transnationalism in Asian American cultural production, and Asian American comics actively drawing upon Asian popular culture influences and show that Asian popular culture is increasingly circulated in America. Comics are a unique medium with which to claim a space in American popular culture, as Asian American comics creators creatively employ visualization strategies related to race, and take advantage of the hybridity of word and image comics medium to explore Asian American concerns with hybridity. In this process, Asian American comics also engage with the comic as a popular medium and rework conventions particular to American comics to address Asian American concerns. Ethnicity and popular culture has been a relatively neglected field, and I will argue that ethnic communities can be seen as subcultures in the US, whose relationship to the mainstream involve processes such as cycles of incorporation and reinvention. In addition, comics studies is an emerging academic field, and will benefit from contributions from ethnic minority literary perspectives.
Zhao, Shan Mu, "Claiming America Panel by Panel: Popular Culture in Asian American Comics" (2010). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 4393.
McMaster University Library