Asia Pacific Studies at USF: Faculty Highlight (Wei Yang Menkus)

Wei Yang Menkus

Professor Wei Yang Menkus is an Associate Professor in the USF Department of Modern and Classical Languages. She is currently serving as Program Director of Asian Studies as well as Program Coordinator for the minor in Chinese Studies. She teaches and researches Chinese and East Asian cinema, specializing in genre theory, gender and visual culture, and transnational connections (especially between Hong Kong, China, Hollywood).

Read on to find out what has influenced–and continues to influence–her personal and professional love for East Asian cinema and culture.

Q: What inspired your field of study?
As a child, I watched numerous Ghibli movies, which had a long-lasting impact on me. Viewing these movies was an opportunity to immerse myself in the beautiful world of anime with magical characters and soundtracks. Ghibli films leave one with a sense of wonder and this is what makes them enticing.

As a teenager, I started watching Hong Kong films and TV shows in a wide array of genres, including crime, kung fu/martial arts, comedy, etc. that were made in what’s now considered the golden age of Hong Kong cinema during the late 1980s through the mid-1990s. When I embarked upon my doctoral research at Yale University, I intuitively realized that it “had” to relate to Hong Kong.

Q: If you could eat only one type of Asian food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Why?
Hot Pot! Not only can you pick a wide array of meat, vegetables, tofu, and noodles, but this dish also makes me reminisce about good times with family and friends.

Q: What’s your dream travel destination in Asia? Why?
I love Hong Kong. My love for this city stems from its convenience, efficiency, and infrastructure. It has one of the most technologically advanced skylines in the world. It is also my “shopping Mecca.” Other major reasons for my love for Hong Kong is that part of my family is from there and as I mentioned, my doctoral research was on Hong Kong cinema and culture—both of these factors have allowed me to build a solid network of connections in the city, contributing to many enjoyable past visits and a desire for many future return visits.

Interested in learning more about East Asian cinema and literature from Professor Menkus?

Meet her “in person” in this month’s online Center for Asia Pacific Studies’ Summer Book Club meeting, featuring a discussion of Su Tong’s novella “Raise the Red Lantern,” which was adapted into the critically acclaimed film of the same name.