This paper examines Nam Le's collection of short stories - The Boat - as a self-reflexive investigation of the politics of world literature. This paper argues that Le's formal investment in the politics of 'proximity' self-reflexively performs the transnational intersections and global border crossings that are foundational to the relational basis of all 'world literature' in its guise as a renewed field. I argue that The Boat engages in a productive dialogue with the politics of world literature via its self-reflexive investigation of the uneven flows that underpin literary border crossings. I argue that The Boat actively investigates and foregrounds the tensions between different forms of cross border mobility in a neoliberal context, thus actively engaging with the politics of world literature stratified between the easy circulation of liquid capital, information and commodities (cosmopolitan mobility) and globalism's imprecation in the immobility of ethnic subjects (immobilised by linguistic and territorial borders). In short, I argue that The Boat self-consciously acknowledges the paradox of writing 'world literature' in a neoliberal milieu by investigating the uneven forms of cross-border mobility that underpin global relations.
Bullock, Marita J. Dr.
""Trafficking in Words": On the Politics of Writing, Cross-Border Mobility and Nam Le's The Boat.,"
Antipodes: Vol. 29
, Article 12.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/antipodes/vol29/iss2/12