Rocznik Komparatystyczny

ISSN: 2081-8718     eISSN: 2353-2831     DOI: 10.18276/rk.2019.10-03
CC BY-SA   Open Access 

Lista wydań / 10 (2019)
Soft Subversion, Hard Exposition: Instrumental Sympathy and the Unattainable Multicultural Assemblage in M. Butterfly

Rok wydania:2019
Liczba stron:18 (51-68)
Słowa kluczowe: literatura porównawcza wielokulturowość miękkość sympatia instrumentalna afekt asamblaż literatura azjatycko-amerykańska
Cited-by (Crossref) ?:
Autorzy: Dong Yang
University of Georgia, USA


This essay questions the possibility and validity of multiculturalism by referring to the diagnosis and exposition of instrumental sympathy – a modern affect with an orientalist inclination in disguise – brought up in David Henry Hwang’s masterpiece M. Butterfly. Multiculturalism remains frail and unachievable when the appreciation of an exotic culture is designed to fulfill a desire for appropriation. I also recognize Song’s soft strategy as an effective means to expose the racist will to dominate and subjugate – powered by the hazardous instrumental sympathy – in contemporary multicultural discourse and practice. More than a fictional attraction, the innovation in the exploration of softness makes Song an ideal philosopher that Deleuze and Guattari have sought to call forth to create new assemblages that do not prioritize racial and cultural power. The attainability of multiculturalism, therefore, depends on the degree of nearness to the state of assemblage, in which the mutual recognition of the culturally other, without pre-established prejudices, and mutual respect takes place for the sake of respect.
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