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Karen Fang




Karen Fang is a film scholar and cultural critic who writes and speaks for museums and film festivals around the world. Originally trained as a Romanticist with a focus on imperial history, Prof. Fang is particularly interested in the confluence of eastern and western culture. She has written about the mutual influences of Hong Kong and Hollywood cinema, dystopian echoes of Orwellian and Huxley in contemporary Chinese fiction, nineteenth century British writing about exotic objects, and Asian American representation in art and popular culture. She is also founder and chair of the Media and Moving Image initiative, including an annual Student Prize Competition which recognizes this campus’s many kinds of media studies-related work. For The Engines of Our Ingenuity, a popular nationally distributed public radio series about science and innovation, Prof. Fang’s stories always focus on the visual arts. Her latest book is a biography of Chinese American immigrant artist and Disney Legend, Tyrus Wong.


  • MA/PhD, Johns Hopkins University, 1998, 2002
  • BA, University of Pennsylvania, 1994

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Research Interests

Film and media studies, visual culture, nonfiction narrative, global, imperial and postcolonial culture

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  • ENGL 3301      Introduction to Literary Studies
  • ENGL 3359      Hong Kong Cinema
  • ENGL 4373      Forms of Film Authorship (Film, Text, and Politics)
  • ENGL 4397      Biography and Creativity (Selected Topics in Literature and Film)
  • ENGL 7396      Theories of the Moving Image
  • ENGL 8386      Surveillance and Orientalism
  • ENGL 8393      Writing for Publication

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Selected Publications

Background Artist: The Life and Work of Tyrus Wong (Rutgers University Press, 2024)

Arresting Cinema: Surveillance in Hong Kong Film (Stanford University Press, 2017)

Romantic Writing and the Empire of Signs: Periodical Culture and Post-Napoleonic Literary Authority (University of Virginia Press, 2010) 

’Everything Everywhere’ has changed Hollywood, but not yet America.” Nikkei Asia, March 2023

Where are the Allies for Asian American Kids?” Los Angeles Review of Books, October 2020

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Affiliations and Links

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Film Department

Houston Cinema Arts Society

The Engines of Our Ingenuity

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