East-West Montage: Reflections on Asian Bodies in Diaspora
328pp. December 2007
East-West Montage: Reflections on Asian Bodies in Diaspora
Author: Ma, Sheng-mei;
"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.

29 illus.

Author: Ma, Sheng-mei;
Sheng-mei Ma is professor of English at Michigan State University.
Read the introduction (PDF).

Establishing Shots

Intercut on Asian Anus
1. Anal Apocalypse: On the W/Hole of Asia and the Christian West
2. Camp Scatology: A Comparative Study of Body (as) Waste in Japanese American Literature

Intercut on Asian Penis
3. Brush and Blade in East-West Cultures: Global Phallus, Colonial Acephalus
4. Kung Fu Films in Diaspora: Death of Bamboo Hero

Intercut on Asian Dubbing
5. De/Alienation in Diasporic Dubbing/Rubbing of Maoist China
6. Anime’s Atom Dialectic: From Trauma to Manna

Intercut on the Korean Wave
7. The O of Han Ju: Those Full,(Over)Painted Lips that Dare to Confess
8. Tradition and/of Bastards in the Korean Wave

Intercut on Body Oriental
9. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s "Chopsticks" Musicals
10. The Nine Lives of Blackhawk’s Oriental: Chop Chop, Wu Cheng, and Weng Chan

Intercut on Asian Magic
11. Asian Immigrants with "Magical" Disabilities: Oriental Tongues and Bound Feet
12. Dalai Lama Superstar: Mystery and Politics in Western Films and Narratives on Tibet

Intercut on Asian Deceased
13. Hmong Refugee’s Death Fugue
14. The Fad(k)ing of the 0.5 Generation: On Taiwanese and Chinese Retirees in the United States