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As one Asian and one Asian American both currently living in New York City, we explore the possibilities of transnational experience as a space of the real-and-imagined, as a potential Thirdspace. Moving away from humanist assumptions of dueling dualities in the formation of identity, we seek a place that collapses social and temporal borders and transgresses geographical and physical sites. For us, challenging the essentialisms that con-fine our sense of Asian-ness in America requires that we acknowledge the material and social present, while conceiving of a Thirdspace where all such qualities are inseparable, interdependent, simultaneous, and holistic. We use autobiographies and follow post-modern geographer Edward Soja (1989), among others, in understanding the criticalness of spatiality in the ‘making of history’ and attempt to share how geographical displacement, inextricable to the real-and-imagined, play into our sense of identity. To this end, we cautiously take up the subject of home-and-homeland, careful not to fall into what Soja (1996) calls “the narrowed and aggressive centrisms and essentialisms” or “hostile and competing battlegrounds” (p. 13) of rigid definition and binary functions. Moving away from definitive confines, we consider the lead of scholars such as Homi Bhabha (1994), Soja (1996), Henri Lefebvre (1991), and Hongyu Wang (2004), and pry open a space of possibility where experience is then caught between and amongst multiple worlds and visions, where is it riddled with contradiction, coincidence, forgiveness, and rejection.


This work was originally published in the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy.

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