When China Meets Hollywood: Global Collaboration and State Intervention in a Creative Industry


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This project, an ethnography of China’s encounter with Hollywood in the twenty-first century, examines the dynamics between art, markets, and the state. It investigates how filmmakers from the two industry sites negotiate disparities to co-produce “authentic” Chinese stories for the global market, and how state censorship shapes those collaborative films on the ground. Combining data from two-year ethnographic fieldwork within film studios in Beijing and Los Angeles and interviews with rarely accessed industry insiders, it follows the daily practices of studio executives and filmmakers inside production offices and on film sets. It argues that the “uneven collaboration” between China and Hollywood shapes the content and form of creative outcomes in the complete circuit of cultural creation, production, and distribution. Ultimately, this project offers a micro-sociological account of transnational cultural collaboration between two national industries at different stages of development, set against a background of difficult geopolitics.