What will the future look like? To judge from many speculative fiction films and books, from Blade Runner to Cloud Atlas, the future will be full of cities that resemble Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, and it will be populated mainly by cold, unfeeling citizens who act like robots. Techno-Orientalism investigates the phenomenon of imagining Asia and Asians in hypo- or hyper-technological terms in literary, cinematic, and new media representations, while critically examining the stereotype of Asians as both technologically advanced and intellectually primitive, in dire need of Western consciousness-raising.
The collection’s fourteen original essays trace the discourse of techno-orientalism across a wide array of media, from radio serials to cyberpunk novels, from Sax Rohmer’s Dr. Fu Manchu to Firefly. Applying a variety of theoretical, historical, and interpretive approaches, the contributors consider techno-orientalism a truly global phenomenon. In part, they tackle the key question of how these stereotypes serve to both express and assuage Western anxieties about Asia’s growing cultural influence and economic dominance. Yet the book also examines artists who have appropriated techno-orientalist tropes in order to critique racist and imperialist attitudes.
Techno-Orientalism is the first collection to define and critically analyze a phenomenon that pervades both science fiction and real-world news coverage of Asia. With essays on subjects ranging from wartime rhetoric of race and technology to science fiction by contemporary Asian American writers to the cultural implications of Korean gamers, this volume offers innovative perspectives and broadens conventional discussions in Asian American Cultural studies.
About the Author
DAVID S. ROH is an assistant professor of American literature and digital humanities at Old Dominion University. He is the author of Illegal Literature: Toward a Disruptive Creativity.
BETSY HUANG is an associate professor of English and chief officer of Diversity and Inclusion at Clark University. She is the author of Contesting Genres in Contemporary Asian American Fiction.
GRETA A. NIU earned her Ph.D. in English from Duke University and has taught at SUNY Brockport, University of Rochester, and St. John Fisher College.
Table of Contents
Technologizing Orientalism: An Introduction
Part I Iterations & Instantiations
Chapter 1 Demon Courage and Dread Engines: America’s Reaction to the Russo-Japanese War and the Genesis of the Japanese Invasion Sublime
Chapter 2 “Out of the Glamorous, Mystic East”: Techno-Orientalism in Early Twentieth-Century United States Radio Broadcasting
Chapter 3 Looking Backward from 2019 to 1882: Reading the Dystopias of Future Multiculturalism in the Utopias of Asian Exclusion
Chapter 4 Queer Excavations: Technology, Temporality, Race
Chapter 5 I, Stereotype: Detained in the Uncanny Valley
Chapter 6 The Mask of Fu Manchu, Son of Sinbad, and Star Wars IV: A New Hope: Techno-Orientalist Cinema as an Mnemotechnics of 20th Century U.S.-Asian Conflicts
Chapter 7 Racial Speculations: (Bio)Technology, Battlestar Galactica, and Mixed-Race Imagining
Chapter 8 “Never Stop Playing”: StarCraft and Asian Gamer Death
Chapter 9 “Home Is Where the War Is”: Remaking Techno-Orientalist Militarism on the Homefront
Part II Reappropriations & Recuperations
Chapter 10 Thinking about Bodies, Souls, and Race in Gibson’s Bridge Trilogy
Chapter 11 Re-imagining Asian Women in Feminist Post-Cyberpunk Science Fiction
Chapter 12 The Cruel Optimism of Asian Futurity and the Reparative Practices of Sonny Liew’s Malinky Robot
Chapter 13 Palimpsestic Orientalisms and Antiblackness: Or, Joss Whedon’s “grand vision of an Asian/American tomorrow”
Chapter 14 “How Does It Not Know What It Is?”: The Techno-Orientalized Body in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and Larissa Lai’s Automaton Biographies
Chapter 15 “A Poor Man from a Poor Country”: Nam June Paik, TV-Buddha, and the Techno-Orientalist Lens
Desiring Machines, Repellant Subjects: A Conclusion
Notes on Contributors