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Self-Ornamentalization: A New Chinese/American Femininity in the Writings of Helena Kuo

Thursday, February 23, 2023 at 4:00pm

Straub Hall, 253
1451 Onyx Street, Eugene, OR 97403

A talk by Clara Iwasaki, Associate Professor of Modern Chinese Literature, University of Alberta


The challenges of migration and anti-Asian racism are issues that are frequently explored in Chinese/American writing. Often these conflicts are conceived of as interethnic conflict such as Asian migrants' oppression by white Americans. The centrality of the types of conflicts obscures subtler forms of oppression. Anne Cheng's Ornamentalism is one recent work that has examined the particular way that the Asiatic woman has been constructed and fetishized by the white gaze. The question the speaker asks in this talk is whether a Chinese woman can ornamentalize herself.

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