MCL Faculty Forum: OFF-WHITE: YELLOWFACE AND CHINGLISH BY ANGLOAMERICAN CULTURE
Friday, October 18, 2019
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
How do English-speaking novelists and filmmakers tell stories of China from a Chinese perspective? How do they keep up appearances of pseudo-Sino immanence while ventriloquizing solely in the English language? Anglo writers and their readers join in this century-old game of impersonating and dubbing Chinese. Throughout this wish fulfillment, writers lean on grammatical and conceptual frameworks of their mother tongue to represent an alien land and its yellowface aliens. Off-white or yellow-ish characters and their foreign-sounding speech are thus performed in Anglo-American fiction and visual culture; both yellowface and Chinglish are of, for, by the (white) people. Off-White interrogates seminal Anglo-American fiction and film on off-white bodies and voices. It commences with one Nobel laureate, Pearl Buck, and ends with another, Kazuo Ishiguro, almost a century later. The trajectory in between illustrates that the detective and mystery genres continue unabated their stock yellowface characters, who exude a magnetic field so powerful as to pull in Japanese anime. This universal drive to fashion a foil is ingrained in any will to power, so much so that even millennial China creates an “off-yellow,” darker-hued Orient in Hollywood films to silhouette its global ascent.
- Agnes Arnold Hall 444
- THIS EVENT IS CO-SPONSORED BY: CENTER FOR PUBLIC HISTORY MODERN & CLASSICAL LANGUAGES
Dr. Melody Yunzi Li
Assistant Professor in Chinese Studies