English & Film Studies: Celebration of Authors, 2019

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On Friday March 22 a sizeable crowd gathered in the Robert Langen Art Gallery in the Waterloo campus library to celebrate the publication of eight books—both academic and creative works—by seven of our faculty members: Sandra Annett’s Anime Fan Communities: Transcultural Flows and Frictions (Palgrave MacMillan 2014); Jing Jing Chang’s Screening Communities: Negotiating Narratives of Empire, Nation, and the Cold War in Hong Kong Cinema (Hong Kong UP 2019); Maria DiCenzo’s Women’s Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1918-1939, co-edited with Catherine Clay, Barbara Green, and Fiona Hackney (Edinburgh UP 2018); Philippa Gates’s Criminalization/Assimilation: Chinese/Americans and Chinatowns in Classical Hollywood Film (Rutgers UP 2019); Russell Kilbourn’s W. G. Sebald’s Postsecular Redemption: Catastrophe With Spectator (Northwestern UP 2018); Tanis MacDonald’s GUSH: Menstrual Manifestos for Our Times, co-edited with Rosanna Deerchild and Ariel Gordon (Frontenac House 2018) and Out of Line: Daring to Be an Artist Outside the Big City (Wolsak and Wynn 2018); Mariam Pirbhai’s Outside People and Other Stories (Innana Publications 2017).

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Wine, beer and assorted snacks fueled the socializing and catching up among EN/FS faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, as well as a number of alumni. The presence of Dean of Arts Richard Nemesvari and University Librarian Gohar Ashoughian contributed to the boisterous mingling. Department chair Tamas Dobozy stepped into his role as MC to introduce each author, each of whom took five minutes to talk about or read from her/his book. The first five authors—Sandy Annett, Jing Jing Chang, Maria DiCenzo, Philippa Gates, and Russell Kilbourn—spoke to their books, all monographs or collections of literary or film criticism, representing the diverse range of scholarship undertaken by our faculty. This section of the event culminated in Tanis MacDonald and Mariam Pirbhai reading from their works of creative non-fiction and fiction, respectively. Both are award-winning authors a well as top-tier academics. In the end the ‘Celebration of Authors’ event amply demonstrated our department’s ongoing commitment to cutting-edge and highly regarded academic scholarship, alongside its emergent investment in creative writing as a significant new dimension of our program offerings.

The Organizers wish to thank the following for their sponsorship of this highly enjoyable event: The Department of English and Film Studies; The Office of the Dean of Arts; The Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association; Laurier Bookstore, with a special thanks to Drs. Russell Kilbourn and Philippa Gates for contributing their time to helping organize, fund and advertise the event.

 

Photos by Joanne Buchan

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Criminalization/Assimilation:Chinese/Americans and Chinatowns in Classical Hollywood Film

Americans #19

Criminalization/Assimilation (March 2019) by Philippa Gates traces how Classical Hollywood films constructed America’s image of Chinese Americans from their criminalization as unwanted immigrants to their eventual acceptance when assimilated citizens, exploiting both America’s yellow peril fears about Chinese immigration and its fascination with Chinatowns. Philippa Gates examines Hollywood’s responses to social issues in Chinatown communities, primarily immigration, racism, drug trafficking, and prostitution, as well as the impact of industry factors including the Production Code and star system on the treatment of those subjects. Looking at over 200 films, Gates reveals the variety of racial representations within American film in the first half of the twentieth century and brings to light not only lost and forgotten films but also the contributions of Asian American actors whose presence onscreen offered important alternatives to Hollywood’s yellowface fabrications of Chinese identity and a resistance to Hollywood’s Orientalist narratives.

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What the critics are saying….

“Philippa Gates takes us on an engrossing journey through the Chinatown streets of Hollywood’s imagination in her comprehensive study of the ambivalent depiction of Chinese people and places on American screens. Her superlative book provides essential reading for scholars, students, and concerned readers who need to understand this history fully to critique the images and ideas that continue to shape today’s cultural landscape.”
–Gina Marchetti, author of Citing China: Politics, Postmodernism, and World Cinema

“Meticulously researched and laudably comprehensive, Criminalization/Assimilationexplores Chinatown’s place in the lexicon of early Hollywood films. This is a unique and important contribution to film studies and Asian American studies—a highly satisfying read!”
–Karla Rae Fuller, author of Hollywood Goes Oriental: CaucAsian Performance in American Film