restricted access Nomad of the Transpacific: Bruce Lee as Method


The martial artist and film star Bruce Lee embodied the multidirectional, transpacific interflows of people, cultures, aesthetics, and ideologies between China and the United States. Tracing his transoceanic crossings reveals how colonialism and militarism contributed to his martial arts evolution, which intermixed influences from China, Japan, Okinawa, the Philippines, and the United States; how he melded bodily aesthetics and their gendered meanings from Italy, China, and the United States; and how he connected struggles against racism in the United States with anticolonialism in Asia. Rooted in the emerging theoretical framework of transpacific studies, and committed to deimperializing the production of knowledge about both Asia and the United States, this essay uses Bruce Lee as method by which to focus the circulating currents of power and resistance that have contributed to the mutual construction of China and the United States.