Visuality, Postcoloniality, Ethnicity, Sexuality
n 13 May 2008, Jodi Dean announced on her blog (I cite) that Co- lumbia University Press was having a “white sale.” I clicked the link, browsed the catalogue, and noticed a book called The Protestant Eth- nic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Rey Chow. I had heard of Rey Chow. It was a familiar name. I owned at least one book in which an essay of hers—on Chi- nese literature—was anthologized. However, never having had much reason or inclination to study Chinese literature, I had browsed through this but had never seriously read any of her work. Yet the title of this book appealed to me immensely. This is because I had been involved in studying the ideology cri- tiques of Slavoj Žižek for several years—or rather, I had been involved in an ongoing critique of Slavoj Žižek’s approach to ideology critique—at the same time as I was also attempting to make sense of the complex of factors involved in the explosion of “Western” interest in “Eastern” martial arts and Eastern culture, philosophy and religion—an interest that hit and transformed the mainstream of international popular culture in the early 1970s, around the massive popularity of Bruce Lee’s kung fu films. Taking stock of this complex chiasmus or conjuncture demanded an en- gagement with many factors, including trying to work out the possible reasons for the emergence of a popular Western interest in East Asian philosophy. Žižek had more than once...
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