The 1st Global China Research Working Seminar: Hollywood in China: How American Popular Culture Shapes Chinese Views of the 'Beautiful Imperialist'

By Prof. Peter H. Gries | 21 March 2016 | The Chinese University of Hong Kong



Prof. Peter H. Gries, the Harold J. & Ruth Newman Chair & Director of Institute for US-China Issues, and Professor of International & Area Studies, The University of Oklahoma, is the author of The Politics of American Foreign Policy: How Ideology Divides Liberals and Conservatives over Foreign Affairs (California: Stanford University Press, 2014) and China's New Nationalism: Pride, Politics, and Diplomacy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004).


While most Mainland Chinese today have extremely few direct contacts with either America or Americans, their indirect contacts with both, via a globalized American popular culture, are increasing rapidly. Do daily parasocial contacts with American celebrities shape Chinese views of America? Based on two experimental studies, Prof. Gries argues that even indirect, implicit exposure to American celebrities via popular magazine covers does shape Chinese views of America. However, the impact of that exposure depends upon both the specific nature of the bicultural exposure and the psychological predispositions of the Chinese involved. Not all Chinese are alike, and their personality differences shape whether they experience American popular culture as enriching or threatening, leading to integrative and exclusionary reactions respectively.


For details: Gries, Peter, Matthew A. Sanders, David R. Stroup, and Huajian Cai. 2015. "Hollywood in China: How American Popular Culture Shapes Chinese Views of the 'Beautiful Imperialist' – An Experimental Analysis," The China Quarterly, 224:1070−82. (Go)