Summary: From the runways of Paris to the Broadway stage, from Rising Sun to the casting controversies over Miss Saigon, from high fashion advertising to a local demonstration at the Claremont Colleges in California, About Face examines representations of Asia and their reverberations in both Asia and Asian American lives.
Based on Dorinne Kondo's fieldwork, this innovative book brings together essays, vignettes, and an interview with playwright David Henry Hwang in ...show more an illuminating discussion of how the Asian identity is used and misused in popular culture. Examining Japanese avant-garde high fashion and Asian American theater, Kindo shows us how cultural perceptions are expressed and overturned in performance--whether in the seductive spectacle of a Comme des Garcons fashion show, where striking originality has shattered the stereotype of the Japanese as imitators and technicians, of the gender-bending of M. Butterfly, which calls into question the male dominance and heterosexism of Oriental culture.
Demonstrating how issues of race, gender, nationality, and sexuality are articulated in the realm of popular culture, Kondo asks us to reappraise our assumptions of what Orientalism means in the world. Both theoretically and politically compelling, About Face offers a penetrating look at how old images or Orientalism are being contested and reshaped by a dynamic new vision of cultural identity.