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Asian representation and anti-Asian racism in contemporary Hollywood film

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posted on 2021-05-24, 07:03 authored by Peter Murphy
From early in the 20th century, the Hollywood film industry has played a major role in the racialization of visibly identifiable ethnic groups in the West. Asians, and in particular East Asians, have traditionally been characterised by Hollywood as aliens. Originally such characterizations served to extol the virtues of the West by contrast with the East and to express xenophobic anxieties in movie narratives. In recent decades, corresponding to the development of the Hollywood "blockbuster", the Asian has been depicted in a more positive, idealized light, yet s/he has continued to be depicted as the archetypal Other. This paper explores portrayals of Asians in several recent Hollywood blockbusters, asserting that the under-representation of racially Asian actors onscreen throughout the West is directly related to, among other factors, the continued stereotyping of Asians and Asianness in popular American film.





Master of Arts


Immigration and Settlement Studies

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


Thesis Advisor

Murray Pomerance Anne-Marie Lee-Loy