The first summer camps in the US were founded in the late 19th century out of rising anxieties over the waning masculinity of young white boys in the midst of urban expansion—if they spend all their time inside, how would they become men who can survive in the wild? Summer camp has always been a culturally nationalist project, firmly rooted in the founding mythos of white American masculinity and held on the indigenous land stolen under settler colonialism.
How do Asian American experiences of camp square with its settler colonial history? What does camp mean for Asian Americans? For those who don’t assimilate to the forceful conformity of camp, it can be a site of alienation. For some, immigrant cultural camps and language classes are ways to stay connected to the homeland, and often imagine it in deeply conservative terms. Kumon and SAT prep can be staging grounds for the model minority narrative.
What homes are made when you go to camp? For this special issue of The Margins, we’re looking for essays, fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, graphic work, and hybrid genre work by Asian American writers that trouble, expand, and re-define camp—and in the process might destabilize a relationship to the model minority narrative, to organized religion, and to homeland.
Please format the title of your submission as follows: “LAST NAME – Camp – TITLE OF PIECE.” Be sure to include a short biography (maximum 60 words) in your cover letter. Please double-space all prose submissions and limit them to approximately 4000 words. You may send us up to five poems per submission. Please do not include your name on the attachments of your submissions. We accept simultaneous submissions, but we ask that you let us know if your work has been accepted elsewhere. Writers whose pieces are accepted for the issue will receive compensation.