The Two-level Construction of Asian Identity in American Born Chinese from a Third-space Perspective
Keywords:American Born Chinese, Identity construction, Third-space, Post-colonialism.
This paper examines the film “American Born Chinese” through the lens of the “Third Space” theory, which focuses on the boundary areas between cultures. It explores how Asian characters in the film reconstruct their unique identity within the “Third Space” and why this film elicited different responses from Chinese and American audiences. The analysis shows that Chinese American characters face a dual otherness: being seen as “the other” by both American and Chinese cultures. The film adeptly combines traditional Chinese mythology to narrate the identity-building process of Chinese Americans, telling the story of their dual identity construction. However, it also conveys certain political unfriendliness towards China. The paper argues that Chinese-American film and television works can be seen as a form of “reflective literature,” highlighting the similarities, differences, and conflicts between two different cultures and value systems. By understanding the dual otherness of Chinese Americans, this study aims to promote cross-cultural understanding and mutual reflection between the East and West.
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