Troubling Borders: An Anthology of Art and Literature by Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora

Pairing image and text, Troubling Borders showcases creative writing and visual artworks by sixty-one women of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Lao, Thai, and Filipino ancestry. The collection features compelling storytelling that troubles the borders of categorization and reflects the multilayered experience of Southeast Asian women.

The diverse voices featured here have been shaped by colonization, wars, globalization, and militarization. For some of these women on the margins of the margin, crafting and showing their work is a bold act in itself. Their provocative and accessible creations tell unique stories, provide a sharp contrast to familiar stereotypes—Southeast Asian women as exotic sex symbols, dragon ladies, prostitutes, and “bar girls”—and serve as entry points for broader discussions on questions of history, memory, and identity.

Nanci Arvizu, Writing and Reviews Editor

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2 Comments

  1. Beautiful experience; range of works This is a beautiful book. Reading it is an experience much more like strolling through a well-done art exhibit than reading a book. Before I settled in to read it, I paged through it forwards, then backwards, soaking in the atmosphere of the book. And then reading it was a rewarding experience. 

  2. Stunning, insightful, and groundbreaking anthology This book troubles many borders–the borders between creative work and visual art, between artistic productivity and critical interventions, between how others see Southeast Asian women and how they perceive themselves. Not to mention the national, racial, ethnic, economic, and gendered borders that sometimes classify and divide people, whether or not they consent. This collection allows me to dream some possibilities and ask key questions–what does the world look like, beyond such borders…

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