Book

An Ethics of Betrayal

Crystal Parikh

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230426
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235070 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823230426.001.0001

Series: American Literatures Initiative

An Ethics of Betrayal

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This book investigates the theme and tropes of betrayal and treason in Asian American and Chicano/Latino literary and cultural narratives. In considering betrayal from an ethical perspective, one grounded in the theories of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida, the book argues that the minority subject is obligated in a primary, preontological, and irrecusable relation of responsibility to the Other. Episodes of betrayal and treason allegorize the position of this subject, beholden to the many others who embody the alterity of existence and whose demands upon the subject result in transgressions of intimacy and loyalty. In this first major comparative study of narratives by and about Asian Americans and Latinos, the book considers writings by Frank Chin, Gish Jen, Chang-rae Lee, Eric Liu, Américo Paredes, and Richard Rodriguez, as well as narratives about the persecution of Wen Ho Lee and the rescue and return of Elián González. By addressing the conflicts at the heart of filiality, the public dimensions of language in the constitution of minority “community,” and the mercenary mobilizations of “model minority” status, this book seriously engages the challenges of conducting ethnic and critical race studies based on the uncompromising and unromantic ideas of justice, reciprocity, and ethical society.

Keywords: betrayal; treason; Asian American literature; Latino literature; Frank Chin; Gish Jen; Chang-rae Lee; Eric Liu; Américo Paredes; Richard Rodriguez

Book.  256 pages. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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