Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


English & Film Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Philippa Gates

Advisor Role

Dissertation Supervisor

Second Advisor

Katherine Spring

Advisor Role

Dissertation Supervisor


In The Warrior Women of Transnational Cinema, I consider the significance of transnational Asian action women in the post-1997 Hong Kong cinema; more specifically, I explore how Pan-Asian (e.g. Michelle Yeoh, Pei Pei Cheng, Ziyi Zhang), Asian American (Lucy Liu, Maggie Q, Marsha Yuen), and Asian Canadian (e.g. Francoise Yip, Charlene Choi, Kristy Yang) warrior women function as a source of transnational female identity for local, Pan-Asian (i.e. East and Southeast Asian), and diasporic Asian audiences. I argue that the post-1997 Hong Kong cinema—and not Hollywood—has offered space for the development of Pan-Asian and Asian North American screen identities which challenge the racial stereotypes historically associated with the Asian female body in the West. In the new millennium, Hollywood has redefined its representation of transnational Asian action women by incorporating Hong Kong choreographers, action aesthetics, and/or female stars into its blockbusters. In these films, however, the representation of Pan-Asian and Asian North American action women caters to the tastes of American/Western audiences and relates American/Western ideals of gender, race, and heroism. Furthermore, I argue that Hollywood’s recent investment in Hong Kong and/or Mainland Chinese co-productions reflects America’s attempt to tap into the burgeoning Asian film market and wield significant political, economic, and social power particularly in Mainland China.

Convocation Year