The Chinese program was excited to present Professor Yiman Wang’s talk concerning the first Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong. This talk was held on 27 March 2019, Wednesday, at 5:00-6:20 p.m. in Washington Hall 315.
Title: Regarding Anna May Wong: An “Oriental Flapper’s” Transnational Stardom
Abstract: Anna May Wong (1905-1961), the most well-known pioneering Chinese-American screen-stage-television performer, forged a four-decade long career from 1919 to 1960. My presentation will focus on her transnational shuttling between the US and the interwar Europe, Australia as well as China. I argue that her transnational movements made her a glamorous and exotic cosmopolitan who significantly also doubled as a migrant performer-worker who ventured into various media formats while navigating precarious work conditions (due to race-gender-class and other socio-political inequities) for better work opportunities. I analyze the ways in which she “greeted” her international public through acting, giving interviews, letter-writing, photo-gifting, anti-Fascist activism and other activities. From her interstitial position that defied any essentialist categorization, working at time prior to the formation of the hyphenated Asian-American identity politics, she developed double-entendre signature performances that subverted gender-race stereotypes and enabled her to foster a political and critical consciousness in her international audiences both in her times and in the 21st-c. Studying Wong as an exemplary case, my presentation addresses the broader question of how to (re)write feminist media histories.
Speaker: Professor Yiman Wang is an Associate Professor of Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of Remaking Chinese Cinema: Through the Prism of Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Hollywood (2013). For her academic profile, please see: http://film.ucsc.edu/
This talk was sponsored by the 100 Years of Women at W&M, Confucius Institute, and Film and Media Studies. It was organized by Professor Calvin Hui in Chinese Studies.