A Different Kind of Stranger: Foreign Bodies, Hybrids, and the Cultural Politics of Sex Offense
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“A Different Kind of Stranger: Foreign Bodies, Hybrids, and the Cultural Politics of Sex Offense,” explores how discourses of race, sexuality, gender and empire have structured the epistemological frameworks of sex offense and child vulnerability in past and present America. It argues that the contradictions of Asian-raced difference are constitutive of epistemologies of sex offense and child vulnerability. Beginning with an exploration of the discursive relationship that linked constructions of Asian-raced difference to anxieties surrounding child sexual vulnerability in fin de siècle America and tracing it forward through the emergence of the modelminority myth, I argue that the discourse on child sexual vulnerability prove quite contradictory when placed against the instability of racial categories. To make sense of the complicated relationship between constructions of racialized difference, child vulnerability, and empire, I frame my analysis in what I call the “imperial dialectics of sex offense,” which describes how sex offense becomes part of an imperial grammar of domination that shapes American imperial praxis as well as American cultural understandings of child vulnerability and sex offense. In the process, I show how our ignorance of the contradictory position of the Asian American body in discourses of sex offense has obscured fundamental questions embedded in the ontology of race, the construction of sexual difference, and the organizing logic of U.S. Empire.