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Jiang Qing and the Silver Screen

Date and Time: 
Monday, June 8, 2020. 12:00 PM - 01:15 PM
Meeting Location: 
Zoom
Workshop: 
Working Group in Literary & Visual Culture
Meeting Description: 

This paper interrogates the relationship between post-Mao judgements of Jiang Qing or Madame Mao (1914-1991) and her film career in 1930s Shanghai. It does so in order to complicate the post-Mao Chinese Communist Party narrative that treats Jiang as a national villain and femme fatale without talent or accomplishments outside her interactions with men. Contrary to the dominant post-Mao narrative of Jiang, this paper reveals that Jiang Qing played a central role in the left-wing project to promote national self-strengthening and liberation. This paper demonstrates how the left-wing film industry’s promotion of stage actors through photography and print media distilled the left-wing causes of women’s liberation and nation building into a shorthand of easily communicable gestures, styles, and motifs. Engaging the theoretical concepts of citation, re-enactment, and durational performance, this paper explains the processes by which the transfer of social knowledge, memory, and a sense of identity about Jiang were made possible. It argues that collective memories of Jiang's left-wing performances on screen laid a foundation for the roles that she would later perform as well as the standards against which she was judged. This paper illuminates left-wing cinema's influence on the construction of the official Jiang Qing narrative.

Mei Li Inouye is a doctoral candidate in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford University. Her research explores transnational exchanges and appropriations, genre and media boundary crossings and transformations, and the mediating and critical role of memory in modern and contemporary Chinese literature, visual culture, theater, and literature. Her dissertation, “Performing Jiang Qing (1914-1991)” examines gender, performance, and power via representations of Jiang Qing in modern Chinese visual culture, theater, literature, and memory from the 1930s to the present.

Sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Center. Made possible by the support from an anonymous donor honoring Former SHC Director John Bender, the Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Please register here: https://stanford.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIuc-usqjgrG914Ed8ml4V7lyx-b0...

 

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