East-West Montage: Reflections on Asian Bodies in Diaspora
- About the Book
“East-West Montage possesses a unique vision that promises to push discussions of globalization, cultural production, ethnic identity, and bodily metaphors in powerful new directions. Ma is to be praised for his sound scholarship and innovative interpretations. Indeed where others specialize in either the collection of details or the unpacking of text, Ma weaves a strong analytic exegesis rooted in thorough research.” —Richard King, Washington State University
Approximately twelve hours’ difference lies between New York and Beijing: The West and the East are, literally, night and day apart. Yet East-West Montage crosscuts the two in the manner of adjacent filmic shots to accentuate their montage-like complementarity. It examines the intersection between East and West—the Asian diaspora (or more specifically Asian bodies in diaspora) and the cultural expressions by and about people of Asian descent on both sides of the Pacific.
Following the introduction “Establishing Shots,” the book is divided into seven intercuts, which in turn subdivide into dialectically paired chapters focusing on specific body parts or attributes. The range of material examined is broad and rich: the iconography of the opium den in film noir, the writings of Asian American novelists, the swordplay and kung fu film, Japanese anime, the “Korean Wave” (including soap operas like Winter Sonata and the cult thriller Oldboy), Rogers and Hammerstein’s Orientalist musicals, the comic Blackhawk, the superstar status of the Dalai Lama, and the demise of Hmong refugees and Chinese retirees in the U.S.
Highly original and immensely readable,East-West Montage will appeal to many working in a range of disciplines, including Asian studies, Asian American studies, cultural studies, ethnic studies, film studies, popular culture, and literary criticism.