Jeanette Roan is an interdisciplinary scholar who specializes in visual studies, cultural studies, and Asian American studies. She received a B.A. in Visual Art from Brown University and a Ph.D. in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester. Her first 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. The book demonstrates that at critical moments in the 20th-century trajectory of US-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 United States in the world. Her recent article “Fake Weddings and the Critique of Marriage: The Wedding Banquet (1993), I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007), and the Marriage Equality Debate” was published in the fall of 2014 in the Quarterly Review of Film and Video.
Her current research considers race-based hierarchies, food politics, and the aesthetics of disgust in the John Layman and Rob Guillory serial Chew, part of a larger project on Asian American representation in contemporary comics. As part of this project, she is also completing an interview with the Oakland-based cartoonist Jason Shiga. Other research in progress includes an examination of racial embodiment and cinematic spectatorship through the lens of cognitive film theory with the goal of understanding how Asian American spectators might see (and feel) Asian films. In addition to her published work Dr. Roan has presented papers at the annual conferences of the American Studies Association, the Association for Asian American Studies, the College Art Association, and the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.
In the summer of 2011 Dr. Roan was one of fifteen Fellows invited to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Stone Summer Theory Institute on the theme “Farewell to Visual Studies.” Here in the Bay Area she looks forward each year to attending the Center for Asian American Media’s CAAMFest, and in 2009 she was honored to serve as a member of the jury for Best Narrative Film.
Prior to coming to CCA she was the 2008–9 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.