Asian American Literature: Discourses & Pedagogies, Vol 3 (2012)

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Excursus on "Hapa;" or the Fate of Identity

Nicole Myoshi Rabin


This paper focuses on the contradictions and tensions inherent in self-identification and oppositional identities. In the past twenty years, Hapa has emerged as an oppositional identity used by mixed-race Asian Americans.  While many scholars have noted the tension of the term for its linguistic appropriation from the Native Hawaiian language, fewer scholars have concentrated their examinations on the ways in which the term reproduces the very notions it aims to subvert.  This paper concentrates on the areas of contradiction inherent in finding and using "a word of power" and making that word into a recognizable identity.


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