International Committee Press Release:
The International Committee of the ASA is thrilled to announce the winner of the 2020 Shelley Fisher Fishkin Award for International Scholarship in Transnational American Studies. This year, we present this award to Dr. Christopher B. Patterson, Assistant Professor at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia, Canada, for his book Transitive Cultures: Anglophone Literature of the Transpacific (Rutgers University Press, 2018). Rooting his transnational analysis of Southeast Asian literature and culture in a matrix of language, politics, cultural praxis, and comparison, Patterson highlights how experiences and representations of “transition” and the “transitive” designate processes within the formation and flux of identities and subject positions. He expertly links transition “as a sustainable cultural form” and “cultural practice” with histories and theories of “pluralist governmentality.” The committee particularly appreciated the author’s eye-opening method elaborated throughout the project. Rather than use the United States as the point of departure, Dr. Patterson selects Southeast Asian notions of multiculturalism as the vantage point from which to discuss cultural and political practices of (and in) the United States. Patterson’s study demonstrates that a transpacific approach to Anglophone literature facilitates robust comparative analysis of US-American texts as much as it contributes to refashioning the coordinates of Asian American studies. Dr. Patterson’s work represents an original contribution to understand and analyze the internal dynamics of transnational American Studies, and in the pursuit of a differing epistemology.
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