Date of Degree

5-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Comparative Literature

Advisor

David S. Reynolds

Committee Members

Jerry W. Carlson

Giancarlo Lombardi

Subject Categories

American Film Studies | American Literature | American Popular Culture

Keywords

Ang Lee, adaptation, transculturation, hybridity, Taiwan

Abstract

In Ang Lee’s America: A Study of Adaptation and Transculturation, I examine how Ang Lee, a Taiwanese filmmaker in the US, represents historic America while reflecting on a culturally hybrid Taiwanese identity in his five American-themed films—The Ice Storm (1997), Ride with the Devil (1999), Hulk (2003), Brokeback Mountain (2005), and Taking Woodstock (2009). By focusing on his American adaptations, I notice how Lee adopts a comparative framework to interpret American history and American texts, drawing from his Taiwanese background and familiarity with Chinese and Hong Kong cinemas. These mixed cultural references speak to a larger phenomenon: what I am calling is transnational eclecticism, a unique blend of an Eastern sensibility with Western subjects—a method I attempt to introduce here to supplement current discourses on the Taiwan issue in Comparative Literature, Film Studies, Transnational American Studies, and Adaptation Studies. The Chinese connection and American influences on post-WWII Taiwan are equally considered in this dissertation for me to examine Taiwan’s historical complexity and cultural hybridity. In Ang Lee’s America, I include intertextual and contextual readings of source texts and adaptations, bring in Fernando Ortiz’s idea of transculturation, Édouard Glissant’s notion of creolization, etc., to enrich my theoretical framework, and argue that it is Lee’s hybrid background that accounts for the adaptability and cultural blending in his representation of an imagined America.

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