CFP: Symposium (virtual): Hollywood and the Asian American Imagination

deadline for submissions: 
February 20, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Jessica Ka Yee Chan/University of Richmond
contact email: 

Call for Papers:

Symposium (virtual): Hollywood and the Asian American Imagination

Date: February 20 and February 22, 2024 (Tuesday and Thursday) (tentative)
Venue: Zoom, hosted by the University of Richmond, Virginia

Keynote speaker: Yiman Wang (UC Santa Cruz)

The pandemic has witnessed hostility and violence against Asians and Asian Americans in the United States. Perhaps now more than ever, by choice and by coercion, geopolitical constructions of Asia, the Asian diaspora, and racial constructions of Asian Americans inform the lives of many. Recent years have also witnessed in Hollywood the increasing presence of Asian cinema and productions that feature Asian American experience. Those recent developments have a long historical precedence: from the yellow peril to the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) to the transnational stardom of Bruce Lee as an anti-colonial icon that re-imagined solidarity.

This symposium seeks to trace historically how Asian Americans enter the Hollywood imagination and how they are (mis/under)represented. As Asian Americans develop a voice and visual presence in Hollywood, how do they imagine, represent, and perform themselves as Asian Americans on or off-screen, speaking to Hollywood and its global audience? This symposium welcomes essays that provide new perspectives on the following topics as they relate to the (under)representation and contribution of Asian Americans to Hollywood from the silent era to the digital age:

  • Construction of Asian American identity and discourses on race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, aging, and disability
  • Construction of Asia (as a geopolitical area encompassing many countries and cultures), the Asian diaspora, and Asian Americans (as a racial construction in the United States)
  • Asian Americans traditionally underrepresented in Hollywood, including Hawaiians, and South, Southeast, and Central Asian Americans
  • The limits and possibilities of the term “Asian American” (as a historical U.S. federal census designation)
  • Cultural politics of casting and acting (including voice acting)
  • Invisible labor such as stunt work, action choreography, dubbing, and subtitling
  • Film genres (and genre crossing) such as action, comedy, horror, science fiction
  • Stardom
  • Orientalism and film censorship
  • Adaptation, intertextuality, and intermediality

The symposium organizers invite contributions from scholars around the world. Please send your abstract (250–500 words), along with a short author bio (100 words), to by February 20, 2023. Please direct any inquires to this email as well. Selected participants will be notified by March 6, 2023. Symposium participants will be invited to submit essay drafts (3000–4000 words) for internal circulation by January, 2024. The symposium, as part of the Tucker­–Boatwright Festival of Literature and the Arts under the theme, “Reimagining Identity and Community in Cinema,” will be held in a predominantly virtual format: zoom panels in combination with in-person keynote lectures and discussions at the University of Richmond (with both live and virtual audience).