Rey Chow is arguably one of the most prominent intellectuals working in the humanities today. Characteristically confronting both entrenched and emergent issues in the interlocking fields of literature, film and visual studies, sexuality and gender, postcolonialism, ethnicity, and cross-cultural politics, her works produce surprising connections among divergent topics at the same time as they compel us to think through the ethical and political ramifications of our academic, epistemic, and cultural practices. This anthology - the first to collect key moments in Chow's engaging thought - provides readers with an ideal introduction to some of her most forceful theoretical explorations. Organized into two sections, each of which begins with a brief statement designed to establish linkages among various discursive fields through Chow's writings, the anthology also contains an extensive Editor's Introduction, which situates Chow's work in the context of contemporary critical debates. For all those pursuing transnational cultural theory and cultural studies, this book is an essential resource.
Praise for Rey Chow
"[Rey Chow is] methodologically situated in the contentious spaces between critical theory and cultural studies, and always attending to the implications of ethnicity."Social Semiotics
"Rich and powerful work that provides both a dazzling synthesis of contemporary cultural theory and at the same time an exemplary critique of Chinese cinema."China Information
"Should be read by all who are concerned with the future of human rights, liberalism, multiculturalism, identity politics, and feminism."Dorothy Ko
"Wide-ranging, theoretically rich, and provocative... completely restructures the problem of ethnicity."Fredric Jameson
"Rey Chow is one of the most interesting and iconoclastic theorists writing in English today. She crosses fields and areas of study with such assurance and brio as to make one wonder why no one else has done so before." — Caren Kaplan, University of California at Davis
"The Rey Chow Reader is a real accomplishment. It brings together many of the most striking and provocative texts of a genuinely and astutely original thinker. Rey Chow has opened up postcolonial, cultural, and feminist studies to the most rigorous and self-aware political and theoretical questioning. In doing so, she has shown us how to think more clearly and carefully about elaborating new modes of political and intellectual engagement." — Elizabeth Grosz, Rutgers University
"Rey Chow is a postcolonial theorist of protean energy whose work has explicitly resisted systematization and reduction to a specific theoretical or methodological programmatic. In few contemporary theorists is the analysis so explicitly and closely determined by the object of analysis, in what is clearly an effort to fashion a mode of critique that in its most fundamental character is anti-imperialist. Chow's is a project that takes no easy refuge either in subject position or in meta-analytical framework. It never lets us forget the social character of knowledge and culture producers, of critics and academics, of students, citizens, and workers. And in its relentless focus on the object of analysis, Chow's work finds its power not in the repetition of or reduction to a historical or political situation, but rather in its capacity to pry loose from the object something essential about the nature of thought itself." — Christopher L. Connery, University of California at Santa Cruz
"Rey Chow is a worldly thinker; she helps us inhabit worlds more thickly and more accountably, in pleasurable discomfort. I treasure the cognitive sensation of such discomfort! This reader is itself an act of responsible and responsive worlding. Inhabiting a wide range of cultural, media, and political scenes, Chow explores how situated identities work for, against, and on those who shape and deploy them. Chow cares about how 'difference' sets the price of admission in myriad worlds for sexualized and racialized persons. She also shows how those prices are in flux as the terms, objects, agents, and frames of geopolitical culture are actively reconstituted." — Donna Haraway, University of California at Santa Cruz
Part 1. Modernity and Postcolonial Ethnicity
1. The Age of the World Target: Atomic Bombs, by Alterity
Seeing Is Destroying
The World Becomes Virtual
The Orbit of Self and Other
From Atomic Bombs to Area Studies
2. The Postcolonial Difference: Lessons in Cultural Legitimation
3. From Writing Diaspora: Introduction: Leading Questions
Orientalism and East Asia: The Persistence of a Scholarly Tradition
Sanctifying the "Subaltern": The Productivity of White Guilt
Tactics of Intervention
The Chinese Lesson
4. Brushes with the-Other-as-Face: Stereotyping and Cross-Ethnic Representation
The Inevitability of Stereotypes in Cross-Ethnic Representation
5. The Politics of Admittance: Female Sexual Agency, by Miscegenation
Race and the Problem of Admittance
Community Formation and Sexual Difference: A Double Theoretical Discourse
What Does the Woman of Color Want?
The Force of Miscegenation
Community Building Among Theorists of Postcoloniality
6. When Whiteness FeminizesÂ .Â .Â . : Some Consequences of a Supplementary Logic
Is "Woman" a Woman, by a Man
Part 2. Filmic Visuality and Transcultural Politics
7. Film and Cultural Identity
8. Seeing Modern China: Toward a Theory of Ethnic Spectatorship
9. The Dream of a Butterfly
"East Is East and West Is West, by and Ne'er the Twain Shall Meet"
"The Beauty.Â .Â . of Her Death. It's a.Â .Â . Pure Sacrifice"
The Force of Butterfly; or, by the "Oriental Woman" as Phallus
"Under the Robes, by Beneath Everything
"It's Not the Story; It's the Music"
Madame Butterfly, by C'est Moi
Coda: New Questions for Cultural Difference and Identity
10. Film as Ethnography; or, by Translation Between Cultures in the Postcolonial World
The Primacy of To-Be-Looked-At-ness
Translation and the Problem of Origins
Translation as "Cultural Resistance"
The "Third Term"
Weakness, by Fluidity
The Light of the Arcade
11. A Filmic Staging of Postwar Geotemporal Politics: On Akira Kurosawa's No Regrets for Our Youth, by Sixty Years Later
12. From Sentimental Fabulations, by Contemporary Chinese Films: Attachment in the Age of Global Visibility
Highlights of a Western Discipline
Image, by Time
Defining the Sentimental in Relation to Contemporary Chinese Cinema
13. The Political Economy of Vision in Happy Times and Not One Less; or, by a Different Type of Migration
Altruistic Fictions in China's Happy Times
How to Add Back a Subtracted Child? The Transmutation and Abjection of Human Labor in Not One Less