Rey Chow is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Brown University, where she teaches in the Department of Comparative Literature and in the Department of Modern Culture and Media. Her research interests are in the areas of modern literature and film (with an emphasis on Asia), postcolonial studies, and critical/cultural theory.
As a Radcliffe Institute fellow, Chow will complete a new study of contemporary Chinese-language cinema, focusing on the recurrent emotional structure that, in the films under investigation, draws its intensity from fraught kinship relations, nostalgic fantasies, repressed or clandestine sexual orientations, and a general sense of existential dislocation resulting from the demands of modern life and aggravated by unstable diasporic conditions. Addressing this emotional structure in terms of what she calls “sentimental fabulations” and examining films by eight directors based in China, Hong Kong, the United States, and Taiwan, Chow aims to present an original theoretical argument about the visual “mediatization” of sentimentalism in a transcultural context.
Since receiving her PhD from Stanford University in 1986, Chow has authored six books and more than seventy articles and has edited two essay collections. Her research has been honored with awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. Her book Primitive Passions: Visuality, Sexuality, Ethnography, and Contemporary Chinese Cinema (Columbia University Press, 1995) earned the James Russell Lowell Prize from the Modern Language Association, and her English-language publications have been widely excerpted and anthologized and/or translated.