Embracing the East: White Women and American Orientalism / Edition 1

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Overview

As exemplified by Madame Butterfly, East-West relations have often been expressed as the relations between the masculine, dominant West and the feminine, submissive East. Yet, this binary model does not account for the important role of white women in the construction of Orientalism. Mari Yoshihara's study examines a wide range of white women who were attracted to Japan and China in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and shows how, through their engagement with Asia, these women found new forms of expression, power, and freedom that were often denied to them in other realms of their lives in America. She demonstrates how white women's attraction to Asia shaped and was shaped by a complex mix of exoticism for the foreign, admiration for the refined, desire for power and control, and love and compassion for the people of Asia. Through concrete historical narratives and careful textual analysis, she examines the ideological context for America's changing discourse about Asia and interrogates the power and appeal—as well as the problems and limitations—of American Orientalism for white women's explorations of their identities. Combining the analysis of race and gender in the United States and the study of U.S.-Asian relations, Yoshihara's work represents the transnational direction of scholarship in American Studies and U.S. history. In addition, this interdisciplinary work brings together diverse materials and approaches, including cultural history, material culture, visual arts, performance studies, and literary analysis.

Embracing the East was the winner of the 2003 Hiroshi Shimizu Award of the Japanese Association for American Studies (best book in American Studies by a junior member of the association).

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195145342
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

A Note on Japanese and Chinese Names
Introduction 3
Pt. 1 Materializing Asia
1 Asia as Spectacle and Commodity: The Feminization of Orientalist Consumption 15
2 Visualizing Orientalism: Women Artists' "Asian" Prints 45
Pt. 2 Performing Asia
3 "When I Don Your Silken Draperies": New Women's Performances of Asian Heroines 77
4 Racial Masquerade and Literary Orientalism: Amy Lowell's "Asian" Poetry 101
5 "Side by Side with These Men I Lie at Night": Sexuality and Agnes Smedley's Radicalism 127
Pt. 3 Authorizing Asia
6 "Popular Expert on China": Authority and Gender in Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth 149
7 Re-gendering the Enemy: Culture and Gender in Ruth Benedict's The Chrysanthemum and the Sword 171
Conclusion 191
Notes 199
Bibliography 221
Index 237
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