Tag Archives: Sino-American relations

Love Chinese – American Style

“Foreign Babes in China” uses the culture clash I mentioned last time as a source for a lot of drama and comedy. The theme song is a mash-up between hip-hop in English (with token references to the [Great] Wall and Tiananmen Square) and traditional Chinese pop. If the whole song was in English it could easily be the theme song to a sitcom here in the United States. The show also shares an emphasis on melodramatic romantic entanglements. “Robert’s totally in love,” DeWoskin’s character says at the very beginning of one episode, “He followed Louise all the way from America even though Louise doesn’t love him!” The rest of the conversation revolves around whether Robert’s rival, Tianling, has “the guts” to make a move while Robert’s around. This rival is a Chinese local, and his friend urges him to “Do it for China!” It’s a typical dramatic angle, but with a nationalistic twist.
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An American Star Made in China

Next week’s Despres Lecture speaker, Rachel DeWoskin, is known in the United States for her books, more recently for her young adult literature. But she’s been a familiar face to Chinese television audiences for years now. In China, DeWoskin was known as Jiexi, the breakout character from the hit show 洋妞在北京, translated as “Foreign Babes in China.” Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1972 and raised by a noted sinologist, she was ideally suited to play a seductive Westerner in China’s hit show. DeWoskin arrived at just the right time for her to interact with the Chinese zeitgeist and become a transformative sex symbol.

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Big Girl Small – Writing in Triplet

(photo credit: anne li)

Rachel DeWoskin is a woman with her feet on two continents and her writing across three genres. DeWoskin, who has won several awards including the 2012 ALA’s Alex Award for her recent novel, Big Girl Small, has spent much of her life between the US and China, even becoming the star of a Chinese soap opera while living in Beijing. Her memoir, Foreign Babes in Beijing, and her novel, Repeat After Me, provide a glimpse into Chinese – American relations. She is also a published poet and is currently teaching memoir and fiction at the University of Chicago.
 
Join us for an intriguing look into this writer’s world.

Wed., April 25, 2012 @ 6pm

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