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The China Mystique: Pearl S. Buck, Anna May Wong, Mayling Soong, and the Transformation of American Orientalismby Karen J. Leong
Synopses & Reviews
Throughout the history of the United States, images of China have populated the American imagination. Always in flux, these images shift rapidly, as they did during the early decades of the twentieth century. In this erudite and original study, Karen J. Leong explores the gendering of American orientalism during the 1930s and 1940s. Focusing on three women who were popularly and publicly associated with China—Pearl S. Buck, Anna May Wong, and Mayling Soong—Leong shows how each negotiated what it meant to be American, Chinese American, and Chinese against the backdrop of changes in the United States as a national community and as an international power.
The China Mystique illustrates how each of these women encountered the possibilities as well as the limitations of transnational status in attempting to shape her own opportunities. During these two decades, each woman enjoyed expanding visibility due to an increasingly global mass culture, rising nationalism in Asia, the emergence of the United States from the shadows of imperialism to world power, and the more assertive participation of women in civic and consumer culture.
"An important venture into a little studied topic of Chinese American history and US cultural history. Through Leong's work we learn how race, cultural experiences, class, and political power allowed each woman to represent China and the United States."--Xiaojian Zhao, author of "Remaking Chinese America: Immigration, Family, and Community, 1940-1965"
"Not since Elaine Tyler May's Homeward Bound has a book so artfully interrogated popular culture, US women's history, and international relations."--Vicki Ruiz, coeditor of "Created Equal: A Social and Political History of the United States"
An important venture into a little studied topic of Chinese American history and US cultural history. Through Leongs work we learn how race, cultural experiences, class, and political power allowed each woman to represent China and the United States."—Xiaojian Zhao, author of Remaking Chinese America: Immigration, Family, and Community, 1940-1965
Not since Elaine Tyler Mays Homeward Bound has a book so artfully interrogated popular culture, US womens history, and international relations.”—Vicki Ruiz, coeditor of Created Equal: A Social and Political History of the United States
About the Author
Karen J. Leong is Assistant Professor of Womens Studies at Arizona State University
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
1. Gendering American Orientalism
2. Pearl Sydenstricker Buck
3. Anna May Wong
4. Mayling Soong
5. Transforming American National Identity—The China Mystique
What Our Readers Are Saying
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Asian American