Theorizing Bruce Lee is a unique work, which uses cultural theory to analyse and assess Bruce Lee, and uses Bruce Lee to analyse and assess cultural theory. Lee is shown to be a major ‘event’ in both global film and global popular culture – a figure who’s central to many intercultural encounters, texts, and practices. Many key elements of film and cultural theory are employed to theorize Bruce Lee, and Lee is shown to be a complex – and consequential – multimedia, multidisciplinary and multicultural phenomenon. Theorizing Bruce Lee is essential reading for anyone interested in Bruce Lee in popular culture and as an object of academic study.
Paul Bowman is author of Post-Marxism versus Cultural Studies (2007) and Deconstructing Popular Culture (2008). He teaches cultural studies at Cardiff University.
"Bruce Lee is a complex and contradictory figure, and it’s a formidable task to take on the multiple facets of his legacy – fighter, film star, philosopher, nationalist, multiculturalist, innovator. With an approach as multidisciplinary and iconoclastic as Lee’s approach to martial arts, Bowman provides an original and exhilarating account of Lee as ‘cultural event’. No one has done a better job of explaining why the martial arts ‘legend’ remains such an important and provocative figure." – Leon Hunt, Brunel University, author of Kung Fu Cult Masters: From Bruce Lee to Crouching Tiger
"Taking on Martin Heidegger and Slavoj Žižek as well as drawing on Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Guy Debord, Jacques Rancière, Rey Chow, and Stuart Hall, among others, Bowman shows how Bruce Lee ‘speaks’ to the philosophical debates that frame our understanding of global popular culture today. Although Bowman may not be able to resolve the philosophical battles surrounding our ability to ‘know’ Bruce Lee, he does a remarkable job of articulating why Bruce Lee remains an essential force within not only world cinema but global culture – both ‘high’ and ‘low.’ Armoured with his philosophical nunchakus, Bowman goes to battle with anyone who may doubt Lee’s ongoing importance, and this book will undoubtedly become essential reading for everyone (from philosopher to kung fu practitioner) interested in popular culture and Asian cinema." – Gina Marchetti, University of Hong Kong, author of Romance and the “Yellow Peril”: Race, Sex and Discursive Strategies in Hollywood Fiction and From Tian’anmen to Times Square: Transnational China and the Chinese Diaspora on Global Screens, 1989-1997
User Guide: Main Menu
Introduction: Theorizing Bruce Lee, Sublime Object of Academia
Film-Fantasy: The Communication of Screen Violence