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Institute for North American History

We congratulate Dr. Björn Alexander Schmidt for receiving the Offermann-Hergarten-Preis 2018 for his dissertation "Visualizing Orientalness".

In the early twentieth century Hollywood was fascinated by the “Far East”. Chinese immigrants, however, were excluded since 1882 and racism pervaded U.S. society. When motion pictures became the most popular form of entertainment, immigration and race were heavily debated topics. “Visualizing Orientalness” is the first book that analyses the significance of motion pictures within these discourses.Taking up approaches from the fields of visual culture studies and visual history, Björn A. Schmidt examines visual discourses of films from the 1910s to the 1930s. The author shows how these films’ imagery as well as the discourses and practices that surrounded them contributed to notions of Chinese Americans as a fundamentally “other” race.

 

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