Jeanette Roan is an interdisciplinary scholar of visual culture. Her areas of specialization are in film 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 most recent research, forthcoming in the Quarterly Review of Film and Video, argues that in the midst of the marriage equality debate the “fake weddings” in The Wedding Banquet (1993) and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007) offer important critiques of popular discourses of romantic love and marriage. Her 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. In addition to her published work Jeanette Roan has also 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.
She has two ongoing research projects. The first 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 has presented portions of this work at the Visual Culture and Social Engagement symposium at Grinnell College and at the annual conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Her second project examines Asian American graphic novels and the ways in which the language of comics shapes representations of identity and difference.
In the summer of 2011 she was one of fifteen Fellows invited to attend the Art Institute of Chicago’s Stone Summer Theory Institute on the theme “Farewell to Visual Studies.” Her experience at the Institute was shared with students and colleagues at invited lectures (in collaboration with Dr. Bridget R. Cooks) given in the fall of 2011 for the Visual and Critical Studies Forum at California College of the Arts and for the Ph.D. Program in Visual Studies at the University of California, Irvine. Each year she looks forward to attending the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival 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.