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Reading Rey Chow

Visuality, Postcoloniality, Ethnicity, Sexuality

Paul Bowman

This is the first book-length study of the groundbreaking work of Rey Chow, whose work has transformed the fields of postcolonialism, cultural studies, film, ethnicity and gender. It describes and explains the features and the breadth of Chow's interventions and illustrates Chow’s arguments by way of the analysis of a range of engaging examples drawn from the fields of film, popular music, identity and popular culture. Chow’s work is of interest and importance to anyone working on questions of international and transnational film; popular culture; postcolonialism; poststructuralism; and Chinese, Hong Kong and Asian identity in different national contexts; as well as sex, gender and ethnic politics in general. This book elaborates on and illustrates Chow’s fascinating contributions to scholarship and knowledge across many different fields by arguing that her work can best be understood in relation to the «projects» of cultural studies and postcolonial studies. In this way, the work sets out both the enduring importance of these wider projects and the importance of Rey Chow’s contributions to them.


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owe thanks to a range of people and institutions for helping me in various ways to complete this work. First and foremost, thanks are owed to Profes- sor Chow herself, whose work has transformed and greatly enriched my thought on so many matters. It goes without saying that this book would not have been possible were it not for her! Secondly, I owe thanks to my students, at both BA and PhD level. The reaction of students has often reconfirmed for me both the need for and value of such a book as this—a serious and sustained study that seeks to set out some key coordinates crucial to establishing a thor- ough understanding and appreciation of the significance and impact of Rey Chow’s work. Student reaction regularly takes the form of a familiar sequence: initial statements of confusion and comments about the difficulty of Rey Chow’s work, followed quickly—as we work through the texts in seminars, tu- torials and conversations—by a palpable kind of delight and even awe at the insights that Chow’s work affords. Most importantly, though—and to an extent that I have rarely seen before—I have found that engaging with Chow’s work translates directly into the production of more mature, insightful and compel- ling work on the part of both the students and the researchers with whom I have shared and explored Chow’s work. Several people have directly and indirectly prompted me to keep going in this direction, and to produce this book;...

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