A Post-Colonial Critique of the (Mis)Representation of Korean-Americans in Children's Picture Books

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/194907
Title:
A Post-Colonial Critique of the (Mis)Representation of Korean-Americans in Children's Picture Books
Author:
Sung, Yoo Kyung
Issue Date:
2009
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This study explores how imagined communities based on U.S. mainstream values and social attitudes are embedded in multicultural children's literature through a critical content analysis of cultural representations in 24 Korean-American picture books. Korean-American culture is often defined through other Asian cultures in picture books and the collective interpretations of Asian culture perpetuate otherness and marginality of Korean-American culture. Otherness can be viewed through postcolonialism as a way to rethink and reconstruct the ways in which racial, ethnic, and cultural others have been repressed, misrepresented, omitted, and stereotyped by colonial mentality (Xie, 2000).The term "Asian American" was used after the Civil Rights movement by Asian Americans to claim a lawful right as representative citizens to reconstruct their own collective identities (Chae 2008). This collective identity of Asian American enhances misrepresentations of Korean culture as one of the Asian cultures. Korean-American culture in picture books is misrepresented through confusion with other Asian cultures, misunderstandings of Asian-Americans, and social mind-set of Korean-Americans. The study discusses the dominant social attitudes toward Korean-Americans as forever `new' foreigners because of the dominance of contemporary picture books which depict Korean-Americans only as recent immigrants. Ahmad (1996) states that postcolonial perspectives are often a polite way of saying "not-White" or Korean-Americans are "not-America-but-inside-America."A critical content analysis of 24 picture books published in the U.S. and 98 reviews of those books examines the representation and misrepresentation of Korean culture and Korean-American culture through the frame of critical discourse analysis and cultural studies. This study contributes to the previous studies of multicultural children's literature by differentiating from the collective approaches in which ethnic groups were grouped together in data collection and analysis.The findings of this study indicate that the "cultural diversity" celebbrated by U.S. multiculturalism has actually contributed to reinforcing the image of Korean-Americans as one of the Orientals by focusing too strongly on difference. The use of multicultural children's literature in classrooms needs to include a focus on difference as a tool used by readers to understand, not stereotype, a particular cultural group and should be combined with a focus on human connection and commonality.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Culture; Immigration; multicultural children's literature; Representation
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Language, Reading & Culture; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Committee Chair:
Short, Kathy G.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleA Post-Colonial Critique of the (Mis)Representation of Korean-Americans in Children's Picture Booksen_US
dc.creatorSung, Yoo Kyungen_US
dc.contributor.authorSung, Yoo Kyungen_US
dc.date.issued2009en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis study explores how imagined communities based on U.S. mainstream values and social attitudes are embedded in multicultural children's literature through a critical content analysis of cultural representations in 24 Korean-American picture books. Korean-American culture is often defined through other Asian cultures in picture books and the collective interpretations of Asian culture perpetuate otherness and marginality of Korean-American culture. Otherness can be viewed through postcolonialism as a way to rethink and reconstruct the ways in which racial, ethnic, and cultural others have been repressed, misrepresented, omitted, and stereotyped by colonial mentality (Xie, 2000).The term "Asian American" was used after the Civil Rights movement by Asian Americans to claim a lawful right as representative citizens to reconstruct their own collective identities (Chae 2008). This collective identity of Asian American enhances misrepresentations of Korean culture as one of the Asian cultures. Korean-American culture in picture books is misrepresented through confusion with other Asian cultures, misunderstandings of Asian-Americans, and social mind-set of Korean-Americans. The study discusses the dominant social attitudes toward Korean-Americans as forever `new' foreigners because of the dominance of contemporary picture books which depict Korean-Americans only as recent immigrants. Ahmad (1996) states that postcolonial perspectives are often a polite way of saying "not-White" or Korean-Americans are "not-America-but-inside-America."A critical content analysis of 24 picture books published in the U.S. and 98 reviews of those books examines the representation and misrepresentation of Korean culture and Korean-American culture through the frame of critical discourse analysis and cultural studies. This study contributes to the previous studies of multicultural children's literature by differentiating from the collective approaches in which ethnic groups were grouped together in data collection and analysis.The findings of this study indicate that the "cultural diversity" celebbrated by U.S. multiculturalism has actually contributed to reinforcing the image of Korean-Americans as one of the Orientals by focusing too strongly on difference. The use of multicultural children's literature in classrooms needs to include a focus on difference as a tool used by readers to understand, not stereotype, a particular cultural group and should be combined with a focus on human connection and commonality.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectCultureen_US
dc.subjectImmigrationen_US
dc.subjectmulticultural children's literatureen_US
dc.subjectRepresentationen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineLanguage, Reading & Cultureen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.chairShort, Kathy G.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberYaden Jr., David B.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberWaugh, Linda Ren_US
dc.identifier.proquest10601en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659752361en_US
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