28 May “They’re All Real”: Race, Gender, and Authenticity in Asian American Body Talk
Elaine Chun (English, University of South Carolina)
Friday, May 28 / 1:30 PM
Discourses about the body, or ‘body talk’, often constitute strategic practices for constructing identities, given that the body is a central text through which sociocultural meanings are displayed and performed. This presentation examines how Asian American girls in a multi-ethnic high school community in Texas engage in body talk as a strategy for negotiating their own and others’ identities. Specifically, the analysis will show how the gendered body, namely its size, value, and authenticity, is an emergent product of discourse; that is, bodies do not have an objective set of measurable characteristics. In addition, these girls link meanings of gender to those of race and class in complex ways, in part through “covert” discourses that are presupposed in body talk as well as through overt forms of interactional positioning.
Elaine Chun is Assistant Professor of Linguistics in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of South Carolina.
Sponsored by the IHC’s Language, Interaction, and Social Organization RFG, the Department of Feminist Studies and the Department of Asian American Studies.