Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Donald C. Goellnicht
Although many critics have written extensively on the representation of Asian North Americans in popular film, little has been written about the textual representation of film and photography in Asian North American works. This thesis examines the nature of this representation, focussing on the ways that camera technologies are used in selected works Chuang Hua's Crossings (1968), Joy Kogawa's Obasan (1981), and Trinh T. Minh-ha's Woman, Native, Other (1989) and Sur Name Viet Given Name Nam (1989) - to discuss such issues as historiography and identity politics. The wide body of published commentary on the history and sociopolitical significance of camera technologies, while useful, is not always directly applicable in an Asian North American context, for many writers appear to discount the heterogeneous ways that images signify. This is an oversight that suggests such theorizations, to an extent, are still insufficiently historicized and, with a few notable exceptions, have yet to acknowledge adequately the importance of race, gender, and class. This thesis reads the selected works through these theories, as well as the theories through the works, to illustrate how both can inform each other. By examining the figurative evocation of images and their literal incorporation in the texts and film, this thesis also interrogates the relationship between texts and images. The seemingly inevitable pairing of texts with images and vice-versa suggests a complementary and supplementary relationship. Yet texts and images are also more complexly related; co-existing yet frequently incommensurable, texts and images, as presented here, foreground the visualization of a discourse that frequently hides its very constructedness as a strategy of naturalizing and legitimating its own authority. In Asian North American works, the visualization of discourse, likened especially in the works of Kogawa and Trinh to a creative and fictive process, is a counter-hegemonic strategy that historicizes and re-visions what is commonly presented as incontestably "true" and natural.
Phu, Thy Ngoc, "Representing Discourse: Film and Photography in Selected Asian North American Works" (1998). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6119.
McMaster University Library