ReFocus: The Films of Jackie Chan

deadline for submissions: 
June 5, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Calum Waddell

Calum Waddell (University of Aberdeen) and Chenyu Lin (University of Cardiff) are seeking to put together an edited collection Jackie Chan with the ReFocus series at Edinburgh University Press. This is a Call for Papers for a book on the work of Jackie Chan as filmmaker (NOT actor).

Chan’s work as a director, beginning with the period martial arts classic The Fearless Hyena (1979), would embrace modernism with Police Story (1985), arguably changing the path of Hong Kong cinema and anticipating the “heroic bloodshed” classics of John Woo, beginning with A Better Tomorrow in 1986. As director, Chan’s work was also rare for addressing colonialism, particularly with Project A in 1983, although we are also eager to address his ethnic stereotyping (as seen in Armor of God [1986] and Operation Condor [1991]) and related transnational adaptations from established Hollywood tropes (in the case of the latter two texts, inspired by Raiders of the Lost Ark [Steven Spielberg, 1981] and Romancing the Stone [Robert Zemeckis, 1984]).

While Chan’s superstardom as an actor, and international draw, particularly after the success of Rush Hour (Brett Ratner, 1998), itself a “buddy movie” reimagining of Police Story, has overshadowed his work behind the camera, we are eager to put this right, and also to challenge the general Orientalism that exists around the star’s persona. For example, many reappreciations of his work across recent practical media releases obscure Chan’s controversial politics, which have seen him oppose Taiwan’s autonomy and Hong Kong democracy movements, as well as advocating for the death penalty for drug users. These more right-wing views (far removed from the “cuddly” figure imagined by passive Western observers of his classic output) become mediated in Chinese Zodiac (2012), his last credit as director, but a fascinating example of a changing persona, eager to repurpose familiar genre frameworks for new political landscapes.

While we are eager to give a broad overview of Chan’s work as director, offering a study that finally puts this remarkable filmmaker in academic perspective, we would also be interested in chapters acknowledging his role as producer and anticipating where his future projects may lie, given his embrace of the mainland industry and the Beijing political line.

Suggestions for chapter submissions might include:

● Analysis of individual films

● Chan’s persona in his self-directed work

● Representation of other ethnic identities in Chan’s directorial work

● The actor’s reinvention of classic forms and genres (such as martial arts) as director

● Chan’s depiction of women/love interests

● Chan and Chinese nationalism

● Chan and the “Western perspective”/viewing his directorial work abroad

● Sexuality in Chan’s work, including the male body

● Hong Kong identity (in the wider context of “Chineseness”)

● Chan and depictions of colonial Hong Kong/colonialism in general

● Your suggested topic

Please send your 250-350 word proposal and a 100-word bio or complete CV to Calum Waddell at and Chenyu Lin at