Duke University Press publishes Arts Dean Celine Parreñas Shimizu’s new book: The Movies of Racial Childhoods

The Movies of Racial Childhoods: Screening Self-Sovereignty in Asian/America (Duke University Press) explores the representation of Asian and Asian American children in contemporary industry and independent cinema. Shimizu discusses movies from the last decades including but not limited to Spa Night (2016), Yellow Rose (2019), The Half of It (2020), and Minari (2020).

She uses psychoanalytic approaches to cinema in exploring the alienation and joy felt by Asian American youth especially in terms of race and gender. These conflicts overlap with the youth’s simultaneous infantilization, sexualization, and adultification. Shimizu explores  representations of childhood, race, gender, and sexuality as a mode of empowerment towards self-reflection and attunement in cinema and child-rearing both.

Born in the last days of the 1960s to Filipino political refugees, Celine Parreñas Shimizu moved to Boston in her early teens. She later moved to California to get her Bachelor's in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley, her Master of Fine Arts from UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, and her Ph.D. from Stanford University in Modern Thought and Literature. After getting married and having children, her youngest son Lakas suddenly died in 2013 due to  a virus that attacked his heart. Shimizu’s experience as a grieving mother plays into the analysis of The Movies of Racial Childhoods. Her family endowed a scholarship for UC Santa Cruz students in honor of her son. 

Other written works of Shimizu’s include her award-winning The Hypersexuality of Race (2007), Straitjacket Sexualities (2012), The Proximity of Other Skins (2020),  as well as her co-editing of The Feminist Porn Book (2013) and The Unwatchability of Whiteness (2018). Her movies have won numerous awards, and her last film, 80 Years Later: On Japanese American Racial Inheritance (2022), was shown at 50 national and international festivals and won 19 awards. She is working on her new fiction film So To Speak, filming in March 2024. 

A film scholar and filmmaker, Shimizu is the Dean of the Arts Division at UC Santa Cruz since July of 2021. She previously led the School of Cinema at San Francisco State University and worked as a full professor of Asian American, Feminist, and Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara  where she chaired the Senior Women’s Council.

Celine Parreñas Shimizu is available for interviews. To request an interview, please contact Gaby Messino at 831-459-3277 or gmessino@ucsc.edu.

Additional Information

Purchase The Movies of Racial Childhood from Duke University PressAmazon or your local bookstores. 

Celine Parreñas Shimizu