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The Buddha in the MachineArt, Technology, and the Meeting of East and West$
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R. John Williams

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300194470

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300194470.001.0001

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The Chinese Parrot

The Chinese Parrot

Technê-Pop Culture and the Oriental Detective Genre

(p.149) 6. The Chinese Parrot
The Buddha in the Machine

R. John Williams

Yale University Press

This chapter examines the “Oriental Detective” genre in Hollywood cinema during the 1930s and 1940s. Whereas most discussions of the Oriental detective genre have tended to focus on whether or not the character reflects a positive or negative stereotype for Asian America, this chapter analyzes a discursive convergence of machine culture, corporate aesthetics, and ethnic and racial stereotyping, pausing to notice not only what the Oriental detective genre says about American racial attitudes during the 1930s and 1940s, but also what it says about the corporate production of film and film culture.

Keywords:   Orientalism, Hollywood, genre film, detective, Charlie Chan, racism, Biggers, Twentieth Century-Fox

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