Friday, November 12th- Lily Chumley

the Art and Politics of East Asia workshop


Lily Chumley

PhD Candidate, Dept. of Anthropology

After Revolutionary Romanticism:

New Socialist Realisms in Postsocialist China

Download the Paper Here

Friday, November 12th        3:00pm-5:00pm

Judd 313

5835 S. Kimbark Ave. Chicago, IL 60637


In this chapter I argue that the realist genres of drawing and painting used in the Chinese art school entrance examinations, which are reproduced on a massive scale in art test prep schools, constitute a new socialist realism. These forms of realism the anchoring genre of a “vision” of the characterological role “the worker” shared with both contemporary official and independent visual cultures, including the New Realism of artists like Liu Xiaodong and Sixth Generation filmmakers like Jia Zhangke. In this chapter I examine how this vision has been shaped by changing ideologies of realism, chronotopes of history and politics of class, arguing that these images of laboring people participate in a form of class “recognition” (Povinelli 2002) that offers a key to understanding what is “socialist” about postsocialist China.

This workshop is sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies and the Council on Advanced Studies in the Humanities. Persons who believe they may need assistance to participate fully, please contact the coordinator at in advance.


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