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Ornament and Law: The Case of 22 Lewd Chinese Women



Anne Cheng


Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 5:15pm - 7:15pm


Pigott Hall (Building 260), Room 252



Ornament and Law: The Case of 22 Lewd Chinese Women

What is the relationship between law and ornament? In what ways can the law be said to decorate a body and what it mean to recognize legal personhood as being indebted to a sartorial imagination?

Taking us through the drama of a little known yet momentous nintheenth-century immigration case, this talk explores how an Orientalist visual logic of Asian American femininity offers insights into the complex relationship between visuality and embodiment, a layered dynamic that in turn sheds light on the problem of how a body is made or recognized in the contexts of evidentiary law and constitutional rights.


Sponsored by Asian American Studies, Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Division of Literatures, Cultures and Languages, English, Modern Thought and Literature. For more information, please contact Christine Onorato at