Date of Award

Spring 2011

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Monica Chiu


This dissertation examines the representation of racial and sexual traumas in short fiction and novels by Asian American women writing post-WWII to the present. The central focus of this project is on Asian American literary representations of the lingering effects of physical, racial, and sexual traumas to Asian American women, specifically the nuances of narrating traumatic experiences. Each chapter explores various literary representations of post-traumatic psychological states of unrest, instability, and incoherence. Most importantly, this study examines the frequently simultaneous narrations of sexual trauma and racial awareness, of how personal narratives of trauma against the physical body become entangled with narratives about racial awareness, social status, and political identity. Through analysis of Hisaye Yamamoto's "The High-heeled Shoes: A Memoir," and "The Legend of Miss Sasagawara," Joy Kogawa's Obasan and The Rain Ascends, Lois-Ann Yamanaka's Behold the Many, and Patricia Chao's Monkey King, I examine a common trope within Asian American literature: the simultaneous narration of racial and sexual traumas.