Denis Villeneuve’s 2016 film Arrival—which was based on Ted Chiang’s 1998 short story “Story of Your Life”—explores concerns issues of language, culture, and ethnocentrism through a story that revolves around tentacled aliens whose language (and corresponding worldview) is radically different from our own. In this way, the work explores how our understanding of the world is mediated through language, and what it might mean to radically reassess the underlying assumptions upon which these worldviews are predicated.
Carlos Rojas is Professor of Chinese Cultural Studies; Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies; and Arts of the Moving Image at Duke University. He is the author, editor, and translator of numerous books, including Homesickness: Culture, Contagion, and National Transformation in Modern China.
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