U of G Prof on TIFF Panel About Anti-Asian Racism and Hollywood

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Asian woman with long dark hair

Dr. Elaine Chang

A University of Guelph professor will be featured in a Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) panel on anti-Asian racism in American cinema and the evolution of Asian excellence onscreen April 29 at 7 p.m. The conversation was recorded on April 20.

Dr. Elaine Chang, School of English and Theatre Studies, will take part in the panel, which is a lead-up to Asian Heritage Month and part of TIFF’s Images Matter series.

She is joined by sociologist and pop culture expert Dr. Nancy Wang Yuen of Biola University in California. The discussion is hosted by Cameron Bailey, TIFF artistic director and co-head.

Chang said TIFF’s Images Matter​ panel series was created following George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis a year ago to discuss racialized representations onscreen. The first panel focused on images of police in film and the policing of Black people.

“The idea for a panel on Anti-Asian racism and Hollywood​ had been germinating in view of the dramatic increase in anti-Asian violent attacks and harassment in the U.S. and Canada,” she said.

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The mass killing of six Asian women in spas outside Atlanta, Georgia, in March also provided impetus for the TIFF panel, she added.

“We’ve done our best to address a mammoth stretch of history, from the silent era and earliest days of organizations like the National Film Board of Canada to the present. We try to explain how the image repertoires of Hollywood cinema and media culture have both drawn on and fuelled anti-Asian racism. We also point to Asian North American achievements onscreen.”

Chang earned her MA and PhD from Stanford University and is an alumna of the Canadian Film Centre. She is the author of Reel Asian: Asian Canada on Screen and Decentre: Concerning Artist-Run Culture. Her research and teaching interests include critical studies of race, ethnicity and gender; contemporary cultural theory; Asian North American cultural studies; and film and media cultures.

The panel will stream live on TIFF’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube sites and at tiff.net.