Jacqueline Lo is Associate Professor, Reader in English, and Head, School of Humanities, College of Arts and Social Science, The Australian National University. She teaches post-colonial literature, focusing on West Indian, Singaporean, and Malaysian Literature. Her research and teaching is strongly interdisciplinary, drawing from post-colonial studies, performance studies, cultural studies, and literary analysis.
The aim of this project is to complete a book manuscript on the growing body of Asian Australian literary and performance texts in the past three decades. The project examines the emergence of Asian Australian cultural politics and identification within the larger context of Australian nationalism, Austral-Asian regionalism and global cultural flows. This study also aims to develop new conceptual frameworks to describe diasporic identities and knowledge formations. By analyzing writing and performances that are often peripheral to the mainstream arts industry but important to the national imaginary, these frameworks will extend current thinking about issues such as race and race relations, national identity, border security, multiculturalism, reconciliation, diaspora, and hybridity. The theoretical crux of this study is the reassessment of the concept of hybridity. Hybridity has been widely used as the terminology and sensibility of the postmodern, post-colonial world. Much contemporary criticism has focused on hybridity as the sign of the productive emergence of new cultural forms based on mutual borrowings, exchanges, and intersections across ethnic boundaries. This project traces the history of hybridity back to nineteenth-century European scientific racism before moving on to critique the various applications of the term in contemporary cultural studies. A key innovation is the invocation of a more nuanced consideration of hybridity and its various deployments with reference to the Asian Australian archive.