Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Bogumil, Mary


This study examines Asian American identity construction in drama exercised by Asian American theatre companies on the mainland from the 1970s to the present. I use the term “wave” for the classification of the plays to illuminate artistic movements. The plays are classified into four waves: the first wave in the 1970s, the second wave in the 1980s, the third wave in the 1990s and early 2000s, and the fourth wave since the 2000s. The characters’ self-identification in these plays varies over time in response to historical, socio-political, economic, and cultural circumstances. Through chronological exploration, this dissertation articulates that Asian American self-identification and representation have developed from a rigid identity pursuing a single, coherent identity to a fluid identity beyond the binary frame by embracing other contingent and salient factors of identity. In addition, my dissertation illuminates that more dramatists use non-realist styles, especially in the third and the fourth waves, to reflect the American perception of anti-Asian racism and Asian American internalized racism. The illustration of Asian American dynamics that strive to form and evolve their identities challenges racial discourses and myths, opposing stereotypes.




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