Conversation with Anne Anlin Cheng on Ornamentalism

Princeton University
Professor of English and American Studies, and affiliated faculty in the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies and the Committee on Film Studies
March 2, 2021
4:30 – 6:00 pm
Livestream Zoom
Book cover of Ornamentalism

What emerges if we trace a history of the making of race as a process of highly synthetic and abstract fabrication or ornamentation? How do constructions of Asiatic femininity point us to the entwinement of modern personhood with commodities, fetishes and prostheses? For the first installment of a new departmental conversation series, Anne Anlin Cheng, author of Ornamentalism (Oxford UP 2019), will join us to discuss the ornament as an object of heated denigration and troubled attraction in much of Western philosophical thinking and in Modernist aesthetics; and as a critical concept that puts major pressure on analytical tools of Marxism, psychoanalysis, Feminist and critical race studies as well as on binary tensions surrounding contemporary notions of agency.

We will center our discussion on the Introduction and Chapter 2 (Gleaming Things) of Ornamentalism, which can be accessed online

via PUL:

If you have trouble downloading the materials, reach out to the organizers Manuela ( and Elisa ( anytime.