Postnational Possibilities in Two YA Novels about Taiwan: The American Trace

  • Emily Murphy
Keywords: American studies, children’s literature, Taiwan studies, YA novel, postnational identity, global identity, global citizenship


This paper begins from the assumption that the beginning of the twenty-first century marked the end of an era defined by the “myth of American exceptionalism.” Following Brian T. Edwards and Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar’s contention that it is the return of the “American trace” that will give rise to a postnational identity, this paper offers a critical reading of Chang Ta-Chun’s Wild Child and Grace Lin’s Dumpling Days. As the analysis of these two young adult novels demonstrates, the figure of the child plays a pivotal role in the ongoing project to envision a “new” American identity, offering opportunities to chart the global exchanges between nations and to question twentieth-century models of global citizenship.


DOI: 10.1353/jeu.2015.0018

Author Biography

Emily Murphy

Emily Murphy specializes in American Studies and Children’s Literature and works as a writing lecturer at New York University Shanghai. Her previous work on post–9/11 children’s literature and on children’s literature archives appears in The Lion and the Unicorn and Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, and she has contributed a chapter to Prizing Children’s Literature: The Cultural Politics of Children’s Book Awards, forthcoming from Routledge.

How to Cite
Murphy, E. (2016). Postnational Possibilities in Two YA Novels about Taiwan: The American Trace. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 7(2). Retrieved from