Roman Polanski’s neo-noir Chinatown, a ghastly tale of human atrocities, ends with two bleak lines: “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown”. But what precisely constitutes the subject filler “it”? How did this space—China-town—come to constitute and encapsulate Western cinematic imaginaries of the other, the inscrutable, and thus, the dangerous? This course is designed to examine the exoticized cinematic Chinatown from the early 20th century to contemporary times. It will approach cinematic Chinatown intersectionally by situating it within cultural, social, political, and economic contexts while addressing its relationship to nation-building, citizenship and identity, postcolonialism, diaspora, transnationalism, labor, gentrification, and dispossession. Our goal will be to analyze and critically interrogate the functions of cinematic Chinatown within varying networks of power relations, and to identify the subversive strategies that have challenged racist imagineerings of the enclave. Our primary texts will include Terry O. Morse’s Shadows over Chinatown—Charlie Chan (1946), Henry Koster’s The Flower Drum Song (1961), Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (1974), Michael Cimino’s The Year of the Dragon (1985), Wayne Wang’s Chan is Missing (1982) and Eat a Bowl of Tea (1989), and Sean Baker and Shih-Ching Tsou’s “Take Out” (2009). Participants of this course are required to watch the films, read accompanying theoretical and secondary texts, and write a short reflective paper.