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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.65, No.2, 235 ~ 254, 2019
Specters of Empire: Transnational American Bio / Necropolitics and Spectropolitics in Heinz Insu Fenkl’s Memories of My Ghost Brother
Seonna Kim
The article examines the two forms of ghostly or spectral figures and their dynamics depicted in Heinz Insu Fenkl’s autobiographical novel, Memories of My Ghost Brother. The ghosts or specters in the novel, which signify absent presence and not only death but also an afterlife, foremost manifest the spectral existence of U.S. empire and its global bio / necropolitics hovering across Asia in the Cold War state of exception that became the rule or normalcy and producing death and violence. They also refer to the excluded and displaced subjects produced and maintained by the specter of U.S. empire and rendered ghostly or spectralized, including camptown prostitutes and their Amerasian children. Drawing on critical biopolitical studies and Jacques Derrida’s notion of the specter, I argue that these forms of spectral figures not only make legible the afterlives of the U.S. Cold War interventions across Asia, but also make it possible to imagine the ethics and politics of the ghostly subjects. While existing scholarship on the novel views the spectral subjects merely as a precarious and victimized figure, my study turns to the question of ethics imagined in the novel that seeks a spectropolitics of the ghostly others who form ethical transnational, transracial relationships to move beyond the spectralizing bio / necropolitical order of U.S. empire toward a decolonized future.
Key Words
Memories of My Ghost Brother, biopolitics, necropolitics, spectropolitics, spectrality
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