Chapter

Anna May Wong

Karen J. Leong

in The China Mystique

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780520244221
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520938632 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520244221.003.0003
Anna May Wong

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As an American-born female of Chinese ancestry, Anna May Wong experienced the legacies of American orientalism. Her status complicated the orientalist assumption that Asian identity was completely different to American identity. Wong faced ambivalence in both the United States and China because of seeming uncertainty about her identity. Her U.S. citizenship was always in question because of her racial heritage. Wong constantly redefined herself as a Chinese American in relation to shifting international relationships and competing national interests within the film industry. Wong's career and life choices were deeply affected by changes in the United States' national identity and relations with China, which in return resulted in changing popular portrayals of China. Her negotiations of the transition from American orientalism to Chinese charisma reflect and emphasize the interdependence between the production of popular culture and America's national identity.

Keywords: Anna May Wong; orientalism; confusion; identity; United States; China; artist

Chapter.  19444 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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