Book Manuscript: "Imminent Communities: Transpacific Literary Form and Racialization in the Long Nineteenth Century"
Subjects: American Literature, Transpacific Studies, Asian American Studies, Filipino Literature,
Japanese Literature, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century
My manuscript examines literary contestations of an imperial rhetoric I call Pacific Imminence
a ruse of American exceptionalism that framed U.S. Pacific ascendancy as an impending
development inaugurating global economic prosperity and a harmonious community of
humankind. Through the continental imaginary of Manifest Destiny, most Americanist
scholarship has viewed the Pacific as a peripheral site of empire-building in the long
nineteenth-century. By contrast, I argue that the Pacific uniquely catalyzed a globalist
re-branding of U.S. imperialism that American and East Asian writers resisted through fictional
forms. Such works undercut Pacific imminence by narrating the persistence of colonial
antagonisms. Authors whose work I study include Herman Melville, Sui Sin Far, José Rizal,
Lafcadio Hearn, Onoto Watanna, Yone Noguchi, and James Fenimore Cooper.
"Frontier Fantasies: Manifest Destiny and the Eighteenth-Century Roots of 'Pacific Imminence.'" Society of Early Americanists Eleventh Biennial Conference. University of Oregon and Hilton Eugene Hotel. Eugene, Oregon. 28 Feb 2019. 9:15am.