Asian Fusion

New Encounters in the Asian-German Avant-Garde

by Caroline Rupprecht (Author)
Monographs XII, 264 Pages

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction Call-and-Response
  • Part I Parallels
  • Chapter 1 Silkworms and Concentration Camps: W. G. Sebald’s Die Ringe des Saturn and Austerlitz
  • Chapter 2 Writing Emptiness: Yoko Tawada’s The Bath, Das nackte Auge and “Flucht des Monds”
  • Part II Convergences
  • Chapter 3 From Auschwitz to Vietnam: Peter Weiss’s Viet Nam Diskurs and Notizen zum kulturellen Leben der Demokratischen Republik Viet Nam
  • Chapter 4 Translating Silences: Pham Thi Hoài’s Die Kristallbotin and Sonntagsmenü
  • Part III Discordances
  • Chapter 5 Shamanic Performances: Joseph Beuys’s Der Eurasier, Eurasia Siberian Symphony, and Auschwitz Demonstration
  • Chapter 6 Shamanic Spaces: Anna Kim’s Anatomie einer Nacht and Die grosse Heimkehr
  • Epilogue“Asian Fusion”
  • Works Cited
  • Index
  • Series index


About the book

Asian Fusion is a remarkably original book that delineates an exciting new field: Asian-German cultural studies. Using an innovative call-and-response model, Rupprecht records the responses of contemporary Asian-German writers to the ‘calls’ made by a preceding generation of German artists and writers (Joseph Beuys, Peter Weiss, W. G. Sebald) toward Asia. A compelling and authoritative work!”

— John Zilcosky, author of Kafka’s Travels and Uncanny Encounters:
Literature, Psychoanalysis and the End of Alterity

“In Asian Fusion, Caroline Rupprecht ingeniously pairs three postwar German authors who engaged with Asia with three award-winning Asian-German writers, constructing compelling intergenerational dialogues between Sebald and Tawada, Weiss and Pham, and Beuys and Kim. Taking the Shoah as a point of departure and a point of reference, the book shoulders the intellectual as well as ethical responsibilities of addressing racism in Germany. A great read and a major contribution to Asian-German Studies!”

— Qinna Shen, Chair and Associate Professor of German, Bryn Mawr College

This book contributes to a historically evolving conversation about immigration as a facet of globalization in the European context. Focusing on literary and artistic works from the post– World War II era, the author uses a “call-and-response” structure – as in African-American slave songs, Indian kirtans, and Jewish liturgy – to create a series of dialogues between Asian-German authors, including Yoko Tawada, Pham Thi Hoài, and Anna Kim, and an earlier generation of German-speaking authors and artists whose works engaged with “Asia,” including W. G. Sebald, Peter Weiss, and Joseph Beuys.

Considering the recent successes of the New Right, which have brought about a regression to Nazi anti-Semitic discourses grounded in the equation between Jews and “Orientals,” the author advocates a need for solidarity between Germans and Asian-Germans. Using “fusion” as a metaphor, she revises the critical paradigms of Orientalism and postcolonial studies to show how, in the aftermath of the twelve-year Nazi dictatorship, Germany has successfully transformed itself into a country of immigration – in part due to the new and pioneering Asian-German voices that have reshaped the German-speaking cultural landscape and that are now, for the first time, featured as coming together in this book.

←x | xi→


A version of Chapter 1 is published as “Architecture and Desire in W. G. Sebald’s Holocaust Novel Austerlitz,” Le Comparatisme comme approche critique / Comparative Literature as Critical Approach 3, edited by Anne Tomiche (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2017), 135–44. A version of Chapter 2 is published as “Haunted Spaces: History and Architecture in Yoko Tawada,” South Central Review 33/3 (Fall 2016), 111–26. And a version of Chapter 4 is published as “Übersetzung als Begegnung: Pham Thi Hoàis ‘Fünf Tage,’ ” Publikationen der Internationalen Vereinigung für Germanistik (IVG): Akten des XIII. Internationalen Germanistenkongresses Shanghai 2015 7, edited by Jianhua Zhu, Jin Zhao and Michael Szurawitzki (Bern: Peter Lang, 2017), 188–93.

My thanks go to Jörn Etzold and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft for inviting me to the Institut für Theaterwissenschaft in Giessen, Germany; Gary Wilder, Susan Buck-Morss, and David Joselit from the Committee for Globalization and Social Change for the Mellon Fellowship; Bettina Brandt, Joanne Myang Cho, Doug McGetchin, Neil Pages, Daniel Purdy, Lee Roberts, Qinna Shen, Christian Spang, Veronika Tuckerova, Chunjie Zhang and all other panelists and seminar participants at the German Studies Association and American Comparative Literature Association conferences for feedback along the way; Melanie Locay of the New York Public Library for the opportunity to conduct research at the Wertheim Study; Carola Hilmes at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main for her ongoing advice; and the author Thomas Lang in Munich for his creative writing suggestions.

I am also grateful for the support of my colleagues and students at Queens College and the Graduate Center, including my research assistants Meng Zhou and Tyler Bray; my copy editor Edward Batchelder; and my more-than-patient editor, Laurel Plapp. I thank my cousin, Phil Rupprecht, for his musicological advice; my late uncle-in-law, Earl Shuman, for the conversations about songwriting; and my friend Hilary Beattie, for her ←xi | xii→expertise on China. Last but not least, I am grateful to my late father, Georg Friedrich Rupprecht, for inspiring me with his unfinished dissertation in Byzantine and Islamic Studies; and to my Chinese-German-American son, Noah Fuxin Wilson-Rupprecht, who with his amazing strength, integrity, and keen intelligence has been my guiding light throughout this process. My deepest gratitude goes to my wonderful husband, Richard Wolin, who, with his unconditional love, unfailing sense of humor, and profound intellectual insight, gave me the support and confidence to bring this project to fruition.

Biographical notes

Caroline Rupprecht (Author)

Caroline Rupprecht is Professor of Comparative Literature at Queens College and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author of Womb Fantasies: Subjective Architectures in Postmodern Literature, Cinema, and Art (2013) and Subject to Delusions: Narcissism, Modernism, Gender (2006) and the translator, with an introduction, of Unica Zürn’s 1969 novella Dark Spring (2000).


Title: Asian Fusion