Understanding Chimerican entanglements through 21st-century media
Disorienting Politics mines 21st-century media artifacts—including films like The Martian and TV/streaming media shows such as Firefly and House of Cards—to make visible the economic, cultural, political, and ecological entanglements of China and the United States. Describing these transpacific entanglements as “Chimerica”—coined by economic historians to reference the symbiosis of China and America—Yang examines how Chimerican media, originating in the US but traversing national boundaries in their production, circulation, and consumption, co-create the figure of rising China and extend a political imagination beyond the conventional ground of the nation.
Examining how Chimerican media is shaped by and perpetuates uneven power relations, Disorienting Politics argues that the pervasive tendency among wide-ranging cultural producers to depict the Chinese state as a racialized Other in American media life diminishes the possibility of engaging transpacific entanglements as a basis for envisioning new political horizons. Such othering of China not only results in overt racism against people of Asian descent, Yang argues, but also impacts the wellbeing of people of color more generally. This interdisciplinary book demonstrates the ways in which race is embedded in geopolitics even when the subject of discussion is not the people, but the (Chinese) state. Bridging media and cultural studies, Asian and Asian American studies, geography, and globalization studies, Disorienting Politics calls for a relational politics that acknowledges the multifarious interconnectivity between people, places, media, and environment.
Fan Yang is Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communication Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).