Department of English

Ashley Aye Aye Dun

B.A. English and Writing, Drury University, 2015., M.A. English, New York University, 2017.
Rm 409
Research Interests Asian American Studies, Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, Race and Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Literary and Cultural Theory, 20th-Century and Contemporary

Biography

I specialize in Asian American literature and studies. My dissertation, “The Slash Between: Inauthenticating Burmese American Literature,” explores contemporary American literature authored by the diaspora of Burma/Myanmar; within Asian American literary studies, some of this literature has been analyzed as “Burmese American Literature.” In this project, I deconstruct “Burmese American Literature” as a literary formation, along with the term “Burmese American” itself. I critically orient select texts and questions of ethnicity-specific to Burma/Myanmar and its diaspora within broader frameworks of Asian American literary study. I argue that these texts interrogate certain corporeal terms of ethnic identity, or “Burmese-ness,” confronting biological and cultural essentialisms that are relevant in, and ultimately beyond, a Burmese/Myanmar and Burmese/Myanmar diasporic context. These texts highlight the dominating pressures of representation, which manifest themselves through scenes of the constricted body. They challenge a fixation with ethnicity characterized by an authoritarian impulse to fortify parameters of stable and “authentic” Burmese-ness–an impulse found in the nationalist rhetoric of the Burmese/Myanmar military as well as anti-military resistance. This project also engages larger debates about aesthetics and identitarian categorization in which Asian American literary studies has long been embroiled.