"The Exoticisms Become Tiresome": The Reception of Dogeaters and the Asian American Canon

Story, Nicole, English - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Chong, Sylvia, Department of English, University of Virginia

This thesis examines Jessica Hagedorn’s novel, Dogeaters (1990), from its initial reception into its seminal place within the Asian American canon. Situating the text within the 1980s' canon debate through developments of Asian American literary studies and its canon into the 1990s, Dogeaters can be read as symptomatic and exemplary of such decades’ theories and debates. By analyzing the reviews and responses of two of the novel’s main audiences—white, Western critics and the Filipino community—this essay asks what is at stake in these cultural and critical conversations. Such examination of the text through its means of production and reception is, in turn, an effort to understand the novel’s lasting influence within the canon. Committed to the politics that ushered in Asian America as a coalition and identity, this thesis puts forth that Dogeaters is canonical not due to aesthetic qualities that transcend time and space but rather is canonical for what it indicates about a specific time and space, and for what it can offer in terms of how we think about Filipino American relations and literature into today.

MA (Master of Arts)
Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters, Asian American Fiction, Asian American Studies, Canon, Reception, Filipino American Fiction, Filipino Literature, Asian American
Issued Date: