Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.3 X 0.9 inches | 1.25 pounds

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About the Author

Anne Anlin Cheng is Professor of English and Director of American Studies at Princeton University. She is also affiliated with the University's Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Committee on Film Studies. Her most recent book is Second Skin: Josephine Baker & the Modern Surface (OUP


"What Anne Cheng looks to offer in her new monograph Ornamentalism is a heretofore-missing theory of Asiatic femininity ... Ornamentalism offers an alternative vision of agency as not resistance but resilience, of forms of living produced under impossible conditions -- providing, too, a much-needed concretization of post-humanism's rhetorical gestures." -- Chalay Chalermkraivuth, Brink

"Through a constellation of mesmerizing scenes- from the courtroom to the museum to the sushi bar, from early photographs to cyberfiction film- Anne Anlin Cheng reveals the drama of ornamentalism in Anglo-American culture: the ontological force with which Asiatic femininity resides in an aesthetics of ornamental personhood. Within the dynamics of this drama- conflating the abstract and the corporeal, the figural and the real- personhood and objecthood ineluctably converge. Above all Ornamentalism tracks new and essential questions for the study of racialized gender." --Bill Brown, University of Chicago

"A worthy successor to Edward W. Said's Orientalism, Cheng's Ornamentalism contours the breadth of ornamentation's enmeshment with orientalist logics and poses socially pertinent questions regarding the distinctive ways in which Blackness and Asianness are visualized and adorned." --Rache l Lee, University of California, Los Angeles

"This bold and astonishingly original book is many things at once. Attending to the ways in which race and beauty troublingly but also pleasurably intertwine, it begins as a study of comparative racialization that shows how the dehumanization of persons transpires differently: some by being reduced to flesh and biology, others, by being turned into artificial shells. A much needed theorization of Asiatic femininity in the Western imagination that thinks without moralizations, Ornamentalism is a brilliant, groundbreaking book that shows how the ideology of race renders subjects excessively visible but also simultaneously hard to see." --Sianne Ngai, University of Chicago

"This is a stunning critical-historical unpacking of the figure of the 'Asiatic yellow woman' as a peripheral person/object, exotic/erotic, she/it. This haunted 'theory of being' nudges and advocates a fuller critique adding to #MeToo universalism and the shorthand of 'black and brown' women and fem bodies-opening a more decolonizing internationalist theory of raced, gendered, and sexualized intimacies, differentiation, and power." --John Kuo Wei Tchen, Rutgers University-Newark