Race and Role: The Mixed-Race Asian Experience in American Drama (Paperback)
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Mixed-race Asian American plays are often overlooked for their failure to fit smoothly into static racial categories, rendering mixed-race drama inconsequential in conversations about race and performance. Since the nineteenth century, however, these plays have long advocated for the social significance of multiracial Asian people.
Race and Role: The Mixed-Race Experience in American Drama traces the shifting identities of multiracial Asian figures in theater from the late-nineteenth century to the present day and explores the ways that mixed-race Asian identity transforms our understanding of race. Mixed-Asian playwrights harness theater’s generative power to enact performances of “double liminality” and expose the absurd tenacity with which society clings to a tenuous racial scaffolding.
About the Author
Rena M. Heinrich is an assistant professor of theatre practice at the University of Southern California. She is a contributor to Shape Shifters: Journeys across Terrains of Race and Identity and The Beiging of America: Personal Narratives about Being Mixed Race in the 21st Century.
"This book brilliantly argues for theater as a rich archive for understanding both the mixed-Asian experience and historical perceptions of multiraciality across the late nineteenth to early twenty-first century in the United States. Through cogent script analysis and fascinating biographical work on several under researched hapa playwrights, Heinrich insists on a consideration of the mixed-race experience as fundamentally distinct from representations of monoraciality. As such, mixed race theory has the potential to critique some of the monoracial presumptions of our prevailing discourse on race."
— SanSan Kwan
“Heinrich is brilliant, and her subject is fascinating. I loved every one of these chapters and found each one challenging in different and surprising ways. Race and Role seems destined to take its place in the canon of Asian American cultural studies.”
— Paul Spickard