Surface and Retreat: The China Virus in Three Lunar Years

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    This essay is an experiment in figuring the pandemic through its reconfigurations of Chineseness. It departs from the Sinophobic cliché that conflates race, geopolitics, and epidemiology: the “China Virus” and its cloud of cognate slurs. It considers the slogan-slur as both an epithet and a conceptual and political challenge to imagine the pandemic as it is lived, still, as a disorientation of Asian and Asian American life, time, and death. The essay pauses at each of the three Lunar New Years of the pandemic, so far, to consider how Chineseness—as a national example, as a mode of racialization, and as a site of racial suspicion—might upset a US-based accounting of the pandemic, which frames it only through its arrival on American shores.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)30-39
    Number of pages10
    JournalEnglish Language Notes
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 2023

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Literature and Literary Theory


    • Asian North Americans
    • Asian hate
    • COVID-19
    • China
    • temporality


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