Racial disintegration: Biomedical futurity at the environmental limit

Michelle N. Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Illuminating how biomedical capital invests in white and Asian American populations while divesting from Black surplus populations, this article proposes recent Asian American dystopian fiction provides a case study for analyzing futurities where healthcare infrastructures intensify racial inequality under terms that do not include race at all. Through a reading of Chang-rae Lee's On Such a Full Sea (2014) and other texts, the article develops the term studious deracination to refer to a narrative strategy defined by an evacuated racial consciousness that is used to ironize assumptions of white universalism and uncritical postracialism. Studious deracination challenges medical discourse's “color-blind” approach to healthcare and enables a reconsideration of comparative racialization in a moment of accelerating social disintegration and blasted landscapes. Indeed, while precision medicine promises to replace race with genomics, Asian American literature is key to showing how this “postracial” promise depends on framing racial inequality as a symptom, rather than an underlying etiology, of infrastructures of public health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-523
Number of pages27
JournalAmerican Literature
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • Asian American literature
  • Comparative race theory
  • Dystopia
  • Health
  • Speculative fiction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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