Jeanette Roan is an interdisciplinary scholar of visual culture. Her forthcoming book /Envisioning Asia: On Location, Travel, and the Cinematic Geography of U.S. Orientalism/ (University of Michigan Press, 2010) addresses how films function as a form of virtual travel and a source of knowledge of cultural difference. She argues that at critical moments in the twentieth-century trajectory of U.S. – Asia engagements cinema served as a mechanism of global positioning, a means of pinpointing the place of the “Far East” in order to situate the U.S. in the world. Cinematic representations of Asia thus helped U.S. viewers imagine a national identity as, first, a newly emerging imperial power in the world, and then as a global leader and standard-bearer for liberal humanist ideals of freedom and democracy at the height of the American Century.
Her current research project considers the historical origins and contemporary flows of Asian popular culture into the United States and how these texts have redefined U.S. popular culture. She presented this work most recently at the Visual Culture and Social Engagement symposium at Grinnell College in April 2009 in an invited lecture titled “Global Positionings: Transnational Visions of Asian/American Film.”
In her teaching she asks students to interrogate the complex relationships between culture, theory, and politics, and she encourages them to develop critical viewing practices and to broaden their sense of the political and aesthetic possibilities of alternative visions. She has taught courses in visual studies, film and media studies, cultural studies, and Asian American studies. Prior to coming to CCA she served as the 2008-09 Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Humanities at Grinnell College. She has also been an Assistant Professor of English and Film and Media Studies at George Mason University and a Minority Scholar-in-Residence at Oberlin College.
A.B. Brown University
M.A. and Ph.D. University of Rochester