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Beyond The Chinese Connection

Beyond The Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Beyond The Chinese Connection
    Book Description:

    In Beyond The Chinese Connection, Crystal S. Anderson explores the cultural and political exchanges between African Americans, Asian Americans, and Asians over the last four decades. To do so, Anderson examines such cultural productions as novels (Frank Chin's Gunga Din Highway [1999], Ishmael Reed's Japanese By Spring [1992], and Paul Beatty's The White Boy Shuffle [1996]); films (Rush Hour 2 [2001], Unleashed [2005], and The Matrix trilogy [1999-2003],) and Japanese animation (Samurai Champloo [2004]), all of which feature cross-cultural conversations. In exploring the ways in which writers and artists use this transferral, Anderson traces and tests the limits of how Afro-Asian cultural production interrogates conceptions of race, ethnic identity, politics, and transnational exchange.

    Enter the Dragon

    The Chinese Connection

    The Big Boss

    eISBN: 978-1-62103-932-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)

    Like many black people growing up in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s, I always seemed to have Asian culture in my house. From kung fu and samurai movies to anime, Asian culture wove itself into the fabric of my cultural imagination. Looking back as an academic, I realize that my early exposure to Chinese and Japanese cultures marked the beginning of my interest in the complex intersections among African American, Asian, and Asian American cultures. A one-size-fits-all approach cannot address such complexity, especially when one factors in the impact of global flows of culture in both directions....

  5. 1 Afro-Asian Cultural Production and the Rise of the Global Culture
    (pp. 11-39)

    In 2003, The Studio Museum of Harlem sponsored the Black Belt exhibition and produced a catalog whose front cover featured a bright yellow background surrounding a grainy picture of Jim Kelley, the African American martial artist who appeared in Bruce Lee’s 1973 film, Enter the Dragon and later starred in Black Belt Jones (1974). The back cover featured a representation of a lighted sign with lettering, “Bruce Leroy’s Kung-Fu Theater,” emblazoned over a graphic rising sun in black and red. Literally bookending the catalog, these visuals testify to a recurrent theme of Afro-Asian cultural interaction in the exhibit. Assistant Curator...

  6. 2 “You Can Stay at My Crib, I Will Show You My ’Hood” Interethnic Male Friendship
    (pp. 40-93)

    Bruce Lee’s 1973 film Enter the Dragon reflects a cross-cultural dynamic against the backdrop of the transnational, even in its conception and production. Michael Allin, the film’s screenwriter, remembers that he was conscious of “creating an international movie that would present Bruce properly,” especially after the lack of enthusiasm in the United States over his potential role as leading man in the television series Kung Fu.¹ Having secured a degree of stardom in Asia with cinematic successes such as The Big Boss and Fist of Fury, Lee agreed to star in Enter the Dragon to cement his success on a...

  7. 3 “Scheming, Treacherous, and Out for Revenge” Ethnic Imperialism
    (pp. 94-136)

    While Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon prefigures a theme of Afro-Chinese male friendship, The Chinese Connection (1972) (also known as Fist of Fury) interrogates a theme of ethnic imperialism. Set against the backdrop of Shanghai in 1908, tensions between Japan and China drive the action. While the previous chapter examined the impact of the “century of humiliation,” largely attributed to the influence of Western powers, one cannot forget the impact Japanese incursions had on the Chinese psyche. While the Japanese and Chinese experienced cultural exchanges, tensions flared in the late 1800s over Korea, resulting in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894...

  8. 4 “Some Things Never Change, and Some Things Do” Interethnic Conflict and Solidarity
    (pp. 137-186)

    While Bruce Lee’s The Chinese Connection deals with ethnic imperialism by centralizing the antagonisms between the Japanese and Chinese in early-twentieth-century Shanghai, The Big Boss (1971), his first film, examines intra- and interethnic conflict as well as solidarity. In doing so, it prefigures cultural translations in Afro-Asian novels and films. The Big Boss follows the exploits of Lee’s character Cheng Chao An, a Chinese immigrant who goes to Thailand to join others from his village who have gone abroad in search of work. Prior to his departure, Cheng promises his mother to refrain from fighting, a vow that his uncle...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 187-206)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 207-216)
  11. Index
    (pp. 217-222)