Ep. 3: The Asiatic Criminal Mastermind

The trope of the “Asiatic criminal mastermind” has haunted Asians for over a century, from the notorious Fu Manchu right up to the myths of dastardly Wuhan virologists circulating in the COVID era. But these myths, which have helped fuel a historic spike in anti-Asian racism, didn’t start with Sax Rohmer’s “Devil Doctor.” Before Fu Manchu, there was Dr. Yen How, the villain of M.P. Shiel’s smash hit The Yellow Danger (1898). In this episode, we examine how Asians today live not only in the shadow of the ruthless Yen How, but also in the shadow of the mindless monster that Yen How commands: the “Heathen Chinee.”

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Narrated and Scripted By Lucas Kwong

Voice acting: Christian Young Valdovinos, Lucas Kwong

Sound Effects courtesy of royalty free sources Played N Faved, The Sound Source, Free Sound Effects

Theme Song “Lair” by The Brother K Melee (brotherkmusic.com)

End song “Pledge Of Allegiance” by The Brother K Melee (brotherkmusic.com)

Various film and news audio clips used under fair/educational use laws.

Further Reading:

Sascha Auerbach, Race, Law, and the ‘Chinese Puzzle’ in Imperial Britain

Harold Billings, M.P. Shiel: A Biography Of His Early Years

Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief In Modern American Culture

Lou Cannon, President Reagan: The Role Of A Lifetime

Ross G. Forman, China And The Victorian Imagination: Empires Entwined

Christopher Frayling, The Yellow Peril: Dr. Fu Manchu And The Rise Of Chinaphobia

Kathryn Gin Lum, Heathen: Religion And Race In American History

Mark Jerng, Racial Worldmaking: The Power Of Popular Fiction

Kirsten MacLeod, “M.P. Shiel and the Love of Pubescent Girls: The Other ‘Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name,'” English Literature in Transition 51.4 (2008): 355–80

Caroline Yang, The Peculiar Afterlife of Slavery: The Chinese Worker And The Minstrel Form.

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