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The China MystiquePearl S. Buck, Anna May Wong, Mayling Soong, and the Transformation of American Orientalism$
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Karen Leong

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520244221

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520244221.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Gendering American Orientalism

Gendering American Orientalism

(p.1) Chapter 1 Gendering American Orientalism
The China Mystique

Karen J. Leong

University of California Press

American orientalism draws on orientalism more generally to assert the political, social, and cultural superiority of the United States and European Americans relative to Asia and Asian Americans. One especially powerful discursive trope of orientalism is the exoticization and feminization of Asian nations and their cultures. A particularly prominent expression of American orientalism was the American missionary enterprise. In the mid-nineteenth century, American evangelical Christianity inspired devout Protestants to become missionaries in the hopes of converting “heathen” souls. With its abundant population, China attracted a particularly large cohort of missionaries. American missions to China were but one symptom of greater socioeconomic changes wrought by the demands of European and American nations on China to open its borders to a global market. Another was the migration of Chinese to the United States.

Keywords:   United States, Europe, Asia, orientalism, Christian, missionary

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