Women and the Kemper Lecture: Monsters, Cyborgs & Other Vessels: Apparitions of the Yellow Woman

March 31, 2022
6 pm

Closed captioned

What happens when a thing changes into a person and when a person transforms into a thing? What does it mean to be a human ornament, to be a subject who survives as an object? What is beauty for the unbeautiful?

Anne Anlin Cheng, professor of English at Princeton University and Visiting Hurst Professor in the Department of English in Arts & Sciences at Washington University, considers a series of humanoid art objects—monsters, cyborgs, and standing vases—as visual fulcrums through which to explore how racialized gender, specifically the specter of the yellow woman, animates European-American narratives about the past and designs for the future, as well as how contemporary Asian artists disrupt these representations of Asiatic femininity.

Chris Eng, assistant professor in the Department of English at Washington University in St. Louis, will facilitate a Q&A following the talk.

Support for this program is provided by Women and the Kemper

Co-sponsored by the Department of English in Arts & Sciences, which is also hosting a lecture by Cheng at 4 pm on Tuesday, March 29. Find out more >>

View the program >>

About the speaker

Anne Anlin Cheng is professor of English and affiliated faculty in the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies and the Committee on Film Studies at Princeton University. She is an interdisciplinary scholar who works at the intersection of aesthetics and politics, drawing from literary theory, critical race studies, film theory, feminist theory, and psychoanalysis. She works primarily with 20th-century American literature and visual culture with special focus on Asian American and African American literatures. She is the author of The Melancholy of Race: Assimilation, Psychoanalysis, and Hidden Grief (Oxford University Press, 2001), a study of the notion of racial grief at the intersection of culture, history, and law. Her second book, Second Skin: Josephine Baker and the Modern Surface (Oxford University Press, 2013), excavates the story of the unexpected intimacy between modern architectural theory and the invention of a modernist style and the conceptualization of Black skin at the turn of the 20th century.

Image credits

Anne Anlin Cheng with self-portrait; Yeesookyung (South Korean, b. 1963), TVW1 from the series Translated Vase, 2015. Ceramic shards, epoxy, and gold leaf, 65 × 43 × 43". Princeton University Art Museum, Museum purchase, Mary Trumbull Adams Art Fund.