Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945-1961 0th Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0520232303
ISBN-10: 0520232305
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Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945-1961 + The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations in the Global Arena + Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Christina Klein takes a fresh, stimulating, and enlightening look at the complex visions of Asia dreamed over the decades by American popular culture. She argues her provocative viewpoints with the verve and flair of a showman, in a book which helps us to see the whole world through new eyes."—David Henry Hwang, author of M. Butterfly and Flower Drum Song (2002)

"An extraordinarily interesting study of ‘Cold War internationalism.’ Klein’s brilliant and imaginative reading of such musicals as South Pacific and The King and I enables us to see how culture and geopolitics were woven together to transform the Cold War order into today’s ethnically diverse and economically interdependent world—within the framework of ‘U.S. global expansion.’"—Akira Iriye, Professor of History, Harvard University, and author, Global Community

From the Back Cover

"Christina Klein takes a fresh, stimulating, and enlightening look at the complex visions of Asia dreamed over the decades by American popular culture. She argues her provocative viewpoints with the verve and flair of a showman, in a book which helps us to see the whole world through new eyes."-David Henry Hwang, author of M. Butterfly and Flower Drum Song (2002) "An extraordinarily interesting study of 'Cold War internationalism.' Klein's brilliant and imaginative reading of such musicals as South Pacific and The King and I enables us to see how culture and geopolitics were woven together to transform the Cold War order into today's ethnically diverse and economically interdependent world-within the framework of 'U.S. global expansion.'"-Akira Iriye, Professor of History, Harvard University, and author, Global Community
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (March 10, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520232305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520232303
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A.B. on April 2, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Christina Klein contends that the paradigm of the Truman Doctrine can not offer a complete understanding of Cold War American culture or policy. She juxtaposes its policy of global communist containment with a 1957 speech by American diplomat Francis Wilcox that harped the need to educate Americans about the world beyond the national boundaries. This contrasts what the author terms the "global imaginary of containment" with the "global imaginary of integration." Both of these are educational projects. The first teaches the global politic as a heroic crusade against communism, the latter teaches it as a sentimental connection with the cultures of non-Americans. While acknowledging the abundance of quality scholarship that investigates the former project, Klein positions Cold War Orientalism as an investigation of the policy of Cold War internationalism and its related trope of "sentimental education." In doing so, she aims to dichotomize the discourse of history by proving that integration of the capitalist world went hand-in-hand with Soviet containment.

Klein begins by documenting the Federal policy initiatives that promoted cold war internationalism in the American populace, like the United States Information Agency's people-to-people program. These initiatives rose in the wake of McCarthyism because the Truman Doctrine had a basic rhetorical disadvantage when promoted to the American public. As shown in her analysis of National Security Council directives, a foreign policy of communist containment has the public relations problem of being defined by that which it opposes. The integration of "free" people and commodities becomes the necessary positive to imbue the ideology of containment with original purpose.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Roy E. Cloudburst on June 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
Edward W. Said convincingly argued in his 1979 masterpiece, Orientalism that the West (mainly America) traditionally had a rather monolithic view of the East. This perception, according to Said, was based more on fantasy than in fact - and that the West saw the East in terms of the `other.' MIT Literary Professor Christina Klein re-visits Said's conclusions in Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945-1961. In this work, she successfully argues that "while many American representations fit comfortably with Said's model of Orientalism, many post-war representations of noncommunist Asia do not, although they do not contradict it entirely"

(p.11).

Essentially, Klein illustrates that various cultural mediums in post-WWII America actively engage Asian topics to bridge the cultural divide between East and West. In her powerful and well written work, Klein masterfully explains "the relationship between the expansion of U.S. power into Asia between 1945 and 1961 and the simultaneous proliferation of popular American representations of Asia" (p. 5).

There are numerous examples cited in this work that provide evidence to support her main claim that America and the Orient (the East) "could learn to understand each other" (p. 200.). For instance, she brilliantly illustrates that America reached out to post-WWII Asia through films such as The King and I and The Bridges of Toko-Ri; and through magazines such as the Readers Digest and Saturday Review. These cultural mediums, asserted Klein, educated America about Asian topics - and advanced the American Cold War interest of "economic globalization" (p. 268).

Although Klein wisely stops her study in 1961, her conclusion draws parallels between recent U.S.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Lucey Bowen on January 13, 2008
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This book is a knock up the side of the head! Now I understand the disconnect between what I was brought up to believe about the United States and the non-western world, and what is happening now e.g. US policy is really that of Britain before 1942!
Must read for all us old hippies!
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Whenever I see appeals to financially sponsor or otherwise aid unfortunate children abroad, e.g. to surgically repair cleft palates, and when there are references to the movies/musicals _South Pacific_ and _The King and I_, I'm reminded of the originality and brilliance of Klein's analysis of how Americans envisioned fictive relationships with Asians during the first fifteen years of the Cold War. Klein was a pioneer of this approach to analyzing how ordinary Americans and popular culture related to people in other countries in this period, and has inspired numerous scholars.
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By Laura Chavez on September 2, 2012
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the book arrived on time and it was in good condition. although the book was marked as good the quality was almost new so it surpassed my expectations. im happy with my purchase
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