China and Inner Asia
This panel investigates narratives of private and personal life as texts of self-portrayal, social commentary, cultural memory, and national ideology in Sinophone cinema, theater, and literature. Engaging with storytelling focused on the body, psyche, sentiments, and feelings, it opens up conversations on the way cultural production foregrounds the inextricable and mutually constitutive relationship between the personal and the political; the private and the public; and everyday lived experience and cultural construction. These papers thus establish the link and tension between individual life and historical conditions. The panel contemplates the way cultural texts direct the viewer’s/reader’s attention to details, artifacts, the body, and the mundane to reflect on larger social, cultural, and historical contexts. Hsiu-Chuang Deppman studies Jia Zhangke’s long take in Ash Is Purest White (2018) as a unique narrative strategy that creates a reflective, intimate moment to illustrate the complex relations among love, ethics, money, and memory in contemporary China. Exploring the contentious political ideologies in wartime China, Keren He unpacks the ambiguous trope of nationhood performed by the “diegetic body” of hanjian in Chen Quan’s espionage play, The Wild Rose (1941). Jessica Tsui-yan Li studies the hybridized, transcultural self-image exemplified and constructed by Eileen Chang in her fictional and non-fictional works, which negotiate between the public’s gaze and her personal desires. Chialan Sharon Wang studies Lou Ye’s The Shadow Play and scrutinizes the characters’ turbulent emotional attachment as a sentimental resistance to the alienation and displacement brought about by China’s capitalist advancement.
Paper Presenter: Hsiu-Chuang Deppman – Oberlin College
Paper Presenter: Jessica Tsui-yan Li – York University
Paper Presenter: Keren He – University of Pennsylvania
Paper Presenter: Chialan Wang – Oberlin College