Biography 41-3 (Summer 2018)

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Figure 2 from Kenneth Chan’s essay “Bad Gal” And The “Bad” Refugee: Refugee Narratives, Neoliberal Violence, and Musical Autobiography in Honey Cocaine’s Cambodian Canadian Hip-Hop: The “Orientalist” scene in Honey Cocaine’s “Bad Gal.” Reprinted by permission of Honey Cocaine Music.

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From Biography Coeditor John David Zuern’s Editor’s Note:

The format of this issue represents something of a departure for Biography. For many years we have published what we call “clusters” of essays focused on a particular theme alongside our individual open-forum articles. While our editorial staff typically determines the topics and invites the guest editors for our annual special issues, the cluster model gives us the opportunity to consider unsolicited proposals from colleagues who would like to present an edited collection of related essays to Biography’s readership. In the past two years, we have received a number of compelling pitches, and for the first time we are running two clusters in the same issue. These projects have emerged within different geopolitical and cultural contexts, but both address the question of how life stories are crafted and disseminated in media other than print.

The six essays in “Asian American Hip-Hop Musical Auto/Biographies,” edited by Roderick N. Labrador and Brian Su-Jen Chung, draw on a range of methodologies to explore how Asian American hip-hop artists have integrated their life stories into their lyrics and performances, positioned their work in relation to hip-hop’s African American legacies, and negotiated their reception by various audiences. Although anchored in the United States, this cluster reveals the global reach of Asian American hip-hop, tracing musical and cultural roots that connect up with Cambodia, Canada, Hawaiʻi, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.

In “Political Biography in Literature and Cinema,” Joanny Moulin and Delphine Letort bring together four scholars who take different perspectives on biographies in the media of film, television, and print in Belgium, France, and the UK. In this cluster, Rémi Fontanel gives a historical overview of political biopics on French television, Nicole Cloarec focuses a detailed gender analysis on three biopics of Margaret Thatcher, Gertjan Willems describes the cultural impact of a recently restored biopic of the Flemish politician Adolf Daens, and Françoise Coste gives us a lively account of the challenges she faced when writing an academic biography of Ronald Reagan for a French audience.


Roderick N. Labrador & Brian Su-Jen Chung, guest editors
Asian American Hip-Hop Musical Auto/Biographies

“Freaky” Asian Americans, Hip-Hop, and Musical Autobiography: An Introduction
by Roderick N. Labrador

Redefined What Is Meant to Be Divine: Prayer and Protest in Blue Scholars
by Mark Redondo Villegas

The Posse Cut as Autobiographical Utterance of Place in the Night Marchers’ Three Dots
by Ruben Enrique Campos III

(Re)Writing Contemporary Cantonese Heritage Language and Identity: Examining MC Jin’s ABC Album
by Melissa Chen, Genevieve Leung

Narrating Failure: MC Jin’s Return to Rap in the United States
by Brian Su-Jen Chung

Beats, Rhymes, and Life in the Ocean of Sound: An Object-Oriented Methodology for Encountering Rap Music
by David A.M. Goldberg

Joanny Moulin & Delphine Letort, guest editors
Political Biography in Literature and Cinema

Introduction to Political Biography in Literature and Cinema
by Delphine Letort and Joanny Moulin

French Television and Political Biography
by Rémi Fontanel

Recasting the Iron Lady into Flesh and Blood: Gender Performance and Politics in Three Thatcher Biopics
by Nicole Cloarec

Writing the Life of Ronald Reagan: An Impossible Mission?
by Françoise Coste

From Political Biography to Political Event: The Daens Myth in Literature and Cinema
by Gertjan Willems

7 book reviews and more…


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About the Journal

For over thirty years, Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly has explored the theoretical, generic, historical, and cultural dimensions of life-writing.


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Unsolicited manuscripts between 2,500 to 7,500 words are welcome. Email inquiries and editorial correspondence to

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Volume 41, Number 3
Summer 2018

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