Belief with a Grain of Salt

By: Tereza Šmilauerová  

Having been a powerful part of the group's self-expression as well as of identity formation, the elements of Asian religions have appeared in Asian American women's writings from their very beginnings. At first, writers such as Maxine Hong Kingston and Amy Tan tended to highlight them in order to disclose the complex, unspoken, and multiracial situations and processes they were in. Later, when their position was acknowledged rather widely, the Asian religions together with the cultures were either promoted in novels as they have been recognized as the selling point for its exotic feelings, as in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's books, or almost absent, as if irrelevant or superfluous. Recently, however, they have started to appear again, only more subtly and re-invented this time, as the writers started to perceive themselves as multilayered, fluid and heterogeneous. It is the aim of this paper to trace occurrences of those phases and connect them to the socio-historical situation in the United States and the changes in the self-perception and acceptance of the group, as well as to the changing view of culture in the society.

Asian Americans, Female Writers, Faith in Literature, Culture Negotiation, Religions
The Arts in Social, Political, and Community Life
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Tereza Šmilauerová

Doctoral Student, Department of English and American Studies

I am a second-year PhD student at the Department of English and American Studies at Masaryk University, Brno. My researched topics are religion as expressed and perceived in American literature and mass media, Asian American female writers and their peculiar position and rise, and the connection of one's religion to the acculturation. My other favourite within the field is teaching art as a dynamic and influential part of everyday life and personality formation.