Lecture by Visiting Hurst Professor Anne Cheng
Against Use: Asian American Masculinity and the Telos of Instrumentality
What does a theory of “Ornamentalism” or ideas of ornamental personhood have to teach us about Asiatic masculinity? Although Asian masculinity in Western culture has long been excluded from the realm of aesthetics, both as objects and subjects, this paper argues that the history of Asiatic male labor in America has helped to shape, and has been shaped by, a set of larger debates about persons versus things, about ornaments versus tools.
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Professor Cheng will be giving a second talk on Thursday, March 31, (A Women and the Kemper Lecture): "Monsters, Cyborgs, and Vases: Specters of the Yellow Woman"
You may find more information for that Zoom event here: https://samfoxschool.wustl.edu/calendar/events/305-women-and-the-kemper-...
Anne Cheng is professor of English and affiliated faculty in the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies and the Committee on Film Studies at Princeton University. She is an interdisciplinary scholar who works at the intersection of aesthetics and politics, drawing from literary theory, critical race studies, film theory, feminist theory, and psychoanalysis. She works primarily with 20th-century American literature and visual culture with special focus on Asian American and African American literatures. She is the author of The Melancholy of Race: Assimilation, Psychoanalysis, and Hidden Grief (Oxford University Press, 2001), a study of the notion of racial grief at the intersection of culture, history, and law. Her second book, Second Skin: Josephine Baker and the Modern Surface (Oxford University Press, 2013), excavates the story of the unexpected intimacy between modern architectural theory and the invention of a modernist style and the conceptualization of Black skin at the turn of the 20th century.