This is the first book that examines how “ethnic spectacle” in the form of Asian and Latin American bodies played a significant role in the cultural Cold War at three historic junctures: the Korean War in 1950, the Cuban Revolution in 1959, and the statehood of Hawaii in 1959. As a means to strengthen U.S. internationalism and in an effort to combat the growing influence of communism, television variety shows, such as The Xavier Cugat Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, and The Chevy Show, were envisioned as early forms of global television. Beyond the Black and White TV examines the intimate moments of cultural interactions between the white hosts and the ethnic guests to illustrate U.S. aspirations for global power through the medium of television. These depictions of racial harmony aimed to shape a new perception of the United States as an exemplary nation of democracy, equality, and globalism.
BENJAMIN M. HAN is an associate professor in the Department of Entertainment and Media Studies at the University of Georgia, Athens.
"Fascinating, compelling, and important, Beyond the Black and White TV
demonstrates how government objectives were married with the goals of television productions to display migration, integration, and global imagination in order to control discourses of race and nation.This work reframes television history through the lens of variety shows by engaging with race from an industry perspective, informing readers how race factored into the production of genre and national identity."
— L.S. Kim
"Benjamin M. Han illuminates the secret history of the American variety show, deftly revealing the cosmopolitan roots of a familiar TV format. A major contribution to the cultural history of the Cold War."
— Christina Klein
"Beyond the Black and White TV
makes a convincing and timely argument that the history of Asian and Latin American media representation is the history of anticommunism [and] serves as a warning to critically examine such media representation as more than merely evidence of America’s racial liberalism but also as an instrument for its political interests."
— Journal of Asian American Studies
"The Cold War has been studied by many, but this is the first book that does so by looking at how the “ethnic spectacle” helped the United States in winning the cultural Cold War."
— Journal of Popular Culture
"This book illustrates the process by which various races coexist to construct a state and how television programs are used to form national identity… Readers tired of examining the Cold War only in the context of international politics will enjoy understanding the conflict through various experiences of racial diversity and ambiguity."
— Wonjung Min