“Home and Diasporic Imagination: Incorporating Immigrant Writer Chang Shi-Kuo in (Chinese) American Literary Studies”

As part of a larger project aiming to include Sinophone US literature in US literary studies, this essay by Dr. Su-ching Huang focuses on the Taiwan immigrant writer Chang Shi-Kuo’s work and his recurrent themes, such as the obsession with China, the anxiety over patrilineal transmission, male hysteria and racial melancholia. Learn more on Asiatic‘s page for the article.

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Josef von Sternberg.

Amanda Klein. “Josef von Sternberg.” 50 Hollywood Directors. Ed. Suzanne Leonard and Yvonne Tasker. Abingdon: Routledge, 2014. 227-233.

Book Description

Fifty Hollywood Directors introduces the most important, iconic and influential filmmakers who worked in Hollywood between the end of the silent period and the birth of the blockbuster. By exploring the historical, cultural and technological contexts in which each director was working, this book traces the formative period in commercial cinema when directors went from pioneers to industry heavyweights.

Each entry discusses a director’s practices and body of work and features a brief biography and suggestions for further reading. Entries include:

  • Frank Capra
  • Cecil B DeMille
  • John Ford
  • Alfred Hitchcock
  • Fritz Lang
  • Orson Welles
  • DW Griffith
  • King Vidor

This is an indispensible guide for anyone interested in film history, Hollywood and the development of the role of the director.

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Free a Man to Fight: The Figure of the Female Soldier in World War II Popular Culture.

Anna Froula. “Free a Man to Fight: The Figure of the Female Soldier in World War II Popular Culture.” Journal of War and Culture Studies. 2.2 (2009): 153-65.

This article argues that US popular culture has contributed to a historical amnesia regarding the figure of the female soldier in World War II and her sacrifice and legacy. To illuminate the ways women in uniform problematize and even subvert patriarchal military values, the various cultural, mythological, political, symbolic, and masculine-heroic meanings vested in the military uniform are analyzed. This elucidates the narrative and imagistic tropes by which Hollywood films, such as So Proudly We Hail (Mark Sandrich, 1943) and A Guy Named Joe (Victor Fleming, 1943), and popular periodicals contain the threat of abjection embodied by military women via traditionally gendered stereotypes of citizenship and nationhood, of virgin and whore. The article explores the thesis that, in World War II, American popular culture helped perpetuate a cultural amnesia that has buried women’s vast contributions to the US Armed Forces, the better to mythologize our boys in uniform.

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Urban Guerrilla Poetry: The Movement Y’en a Marre and the Socio-Political Influence of Hip Hop in Senegal

Marame Gueye. “Urban Guerrilla Poetry: The Movement Y’en a Marre and the Socio-Political Influence of Hip Hop in Senegal.” Journal of Pan African Studies, 6.3 (September 2013), 22-42.

Since the 1980s, Hip Hop has become a popular musical genre in most African countries. In Senegal, young artists have used the genre as a mode of social commentary by vesting their aesthetics in the culture’s oral traditions established by griots. However, starting from the year 2000, Senegalese Hip Hop evolved as a platform for young people to be politically engaged and socially active. This socio-political engagement was brought to a higher level during the recent presidential elections when Hip Hop artists created the Y’En a Marre Movement [Enough is Enough]. The movement emerged out of young people’s frustrations with the chronic power cuts that plagued Senegal since 2003 to becoming the major critic of incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade. Y’en Marre was at the forefront of major demonstrations against Wade’s bid for a contested third term. But of greater or equal importance, the movement’s musical releases during the period were specifically aimed at “bringing down the president.” This article looks at their last installment piece entitled Faux! Pas Forcé [Fake! Forced Step or Don’t! Push] which was released at the eve of the second round of voting. The song’s title conveys several meanings and articulates the artists’ skills in using language as a medium of contestation. The title is also the only part of the song that is delivered in French. The remainder is in Wolof the local lingua franca and the language in which most Senegalese Hip Hop artists choose to perform in. Using Wolof proverbs and sayings, the song effectively delivers a satire of Abdoulaye Wade and his regime. This song can be considered the speech that toppled Wade’s throne. By playing with words and meaning, the song presents an image of Abdoulaye that not only led young voters to realize that he was a wrong choice, it also communicated to the regime that the young people were determined to get rid of them and that there wasn’t room for negotiation.

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Realism, Censorship, and the Social Promise of Dead End.

Amanda Klein. “Realism, Censorship, and the Social Promise of Dead End.” Modern Drama on Screen. Eds. R. Barton Palmer and Robert Bray. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 9-28.

Book Description

The volume explores how the classics of modern national theater, including plays by Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, David Mamet and Eugene O’Neill, have attained a second life on the screen. Each chapter is written by a leading scholar and focuses on one of Broadway’s most admired and popular productions.

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Abject Femininity and Compulsory Masculinity on the Jersey Shore.

Amanda Klein. “Abject Femininity and Compulsory Masculinity on the Jersey Shore.” Reality Gendervision: Decoding Sexuality And Gender On Transatlantic Reality TV. Ed. Brenda Weber. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. 213-243.


This essay collection focuses on the gendered dimensions of reality television in both the United States and Great Britain. Through close readings of a wide range of reality programming, from Finding Sarah and Sister Wives to Ghost Adventures and Deadliest Warrior, the contributors think through questions of femininity and masculinity, as they relate to the intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality. They connect the genre’s combination of real people and surreal experiences, of authenticity and artifice, to the production of identity and norms of citizenship, the commodification of selfhood, and the naturalization of regimes of power. Whether assessing the Kardashian family brand, portrayals of hoarders, or big-family programs such as 19 Kids and Counting, the contributors analyze reality television as a relevant site for the production and performance of gender. In the process, they illuminate the larger neoliberal and postfeminist contexts in which reality TV is produced, promoted, watched, and experienced.
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Modern Media and Culture in Senegal: Speaking Truth to Power.

Marame Gueye. “Modern Media and Culture in Senegal: Speaking Truth to Power.” African Studies Review, 54.3 (December 2011), 27-43.

In a You Tube video, a young man performs a satirical poem about Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade. The author brilliantly sums up Wade’s tenure in one minute. He compares the president to “a rat’s hole” and makes fun of his physical features while emphasizing many ways in which Wade has failed the nation. Some viewers thought the performance was disrespectful of the president, and others feared for the author’s safety. This article argues that although the World Wide Web gives voice to African youth, it can be a dangerous space, especially for artists. The viewers’ negative comments and their concern for the author’s life is a modern response to his art and a consequence of its presentation on the Internet. If viewed through the lenses of traditional Wolof oral forms, however, the poem’s harsh rhetoric takes on less controversial meanings that the viewers did not seem to understand.

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