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Grant number: FT-59508-12

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Hsuan Hsu
University of California, Davis (Davis, CA 95618-6153)

Sitting in Darkness: Mark Twain and America's Asia

Sitting in Darkness: Mark Twain and America's Asia is the first book-length study of Mark Twain's responses to transpacific historical phenomena such as Chinese immigration, diplomatic relations with China, the annexation of Hawai'i and the U.S. regime in the Philippines. Twain's interest in these topics spanned his career, from early newspaper reports on arrests of "Chinamen" in San Francisco and Virginia City, Nevada to the yellow-face play he co-authored with Bret Harte, from his long-forgotten article on the 1868 Burlingame Treaty to his better-known polemics against the U.S. war of aggression in the Philippines. I put Twain's writings on China and Asia in dialogue with recent scholarship emphasizing the importance of cross-racial relations in the post-Civil War period, as business leaders and politicians jockeyed to create racially differentiated labor groups that were at once "free" and subject to control.

Project fields:
American Literature

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2012 – 8/31/2012