2/26 Jiayi Chen

Ph.D. Candidate, EALC

“Theorizing ‘Youxi’: Virtual Theatricality and Reading the Journey to the West”

Time: Friday, January 29th, 3-5 pm

Zoom Registration: https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcpc-6pqzgrE9xhrGGpDKOFjM4eIOxvNv88

Discussant: Alia Breitwieser Goehr (Ph.D. Candidate, Comparative Literature) 

The Art and Politics of East Asia (APEA) workshop is proud to host Jiayi Chen (Ph.D. Candidate, EALC), who will present her paper, “Theorizing ‘Youxi’: Virtual Theatricality and Reading the Journey to the West”. She summarizes the paper as follows:

This paper discusses the notion of “virtual theatricality” as a perspective to understand the reading experience of the sixteenth-century novel Journey to the West. The scene of the guessing game in Chapter 46 will be my start point. On one hand, it points to the interplay between the concept of hiddenness and transformation. On the other hand, it is relevant to the huanxi 幻戏 performance, a prototype of modern magic tricks, that oscillated between deception and divine acts while engaging the bodily experiences of the performers and the spectators. I use “theatricality” instead of “theater” to call attention to the participatory spectatorship/readership not confined to the medium of theater per se. Meanwhile, in lieu of a preconditioned line between reality and illusion, “virtual” suggests the agency of the spectator/reader to draw such a boundary (or rather a continuum). By looking closely at some episodes in the novel and its rich commentaries, I show how “virtual theatricality” suggests that the text of the novel embodies openness and transforming possibilities by inviting the reader to experience its textual virtuality. In so doing, I also try to offer an interpretation of youxi (literally means roam and play) which is so closely related to the Journey to the West. 
 
Jiayi Chen is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, with a concentration on early modern Chinese literature. Her dissertation studies the interplay between games and reading experience in China from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. She also holds broader interests in the practices and representations of storytelling, text-image relations, and Sino-Japanese cultural exchange.
Please contact Jiayi Zhu (jiayizhu@uchicago.edu) and Sophia Walker (scwalker2@uchicago.edu) if you have any questions or concerns.
Jiayi and Sophia, Co-coordinators, Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop

2/12 Li Yifan

Chinese director of documentary “We Were SMART” (杀马特我爱你 shāmǎtè wǒ ài nǐ)

Time: Friday, February 12th, 7-9 pm CST

Zoom Registration:

https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEtduCrrTgrGdWLJOH8yccPfR0kFYxd4rlu

The Chinese word  (Shamate, written as SMART in the film’s English version) is a homophonic appropriation of the English word “smart.” Starting in the 2000s, this term has appeared on the Chinese Internet, labeling a form of fashion with its iconic hairstyle, makeup, and attire. Documentary We Were SMART looks into the lives of people who are associated with SMART, namely, young factory workers migrated from rural areas to the periphery of urban spaces. In addition to in-depth conversations with these people, the film also includes footage shot by them, offering an insider’s view of SMART’s life stories.

Li Yifan is a documentary filmmaker and artist in China. He teaches at Sichuan Fine Arts Institute. His other works include “Chronicle of Longwang: A Year in the Life of a Chinese Village” (村档案:王村2006影像文件) and “Before the Flood” (淹没).

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies with generous support from a Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Please contact Jiayi Zhu (jiayizhu@uchicago.edu) and Sophia Walker (scwalker2@uchicago.edu) if you have any questions or concerns. We will see you on Zoom! 

1/29 Brian White

Ph.D. Candidate, EALC

“Mixed Media: SF as a Social Genre”

Time: Friday, January 29th, 3-5 pm

Zoom Registration: https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMvdOqrpj8qGtMpyU53gJvwY8zZpP_Sre3i

Discussant: Jiarui Sun, Ph.D. Student, EALC

The Art and Politics of East Asia (APEA) workshop is proud to host Brian White (Ph.D. Candidate, EALC), who will present his paper, “Mixed Media: SF as a Social Genre.” He summarizes the paper as follows:

Brian summarizes his chapter as follows: While the historical roots of the otaku (devoted fans of anime and manga) are often said to be in 1960s science fiction fandom, the specific theoretical implications of this connection have not been extensively explored in English. In this paper, Brian White develops a theory of the SF genre as a force of social relationality, exceeding the bounds of any one text or creator in favor of communal identification as “SF fans”. This genre-based model of social relations enfolds a transmedia assemblage of texts and media habits, allowing us to cut across the boundaries that have commonly divided literary and media studies examinations of media communities.

Brian White is a 9th year PhD candidate in EALC. His dissertation takes up issues of media, discourse, and community formation in 1960s Japanese science fiction. Starting next year, he will be assistant professor of Japanese at Kalamazoo College.

Please contact Jiayi Zhu (jiayizhu@uchicago.edu) and Sophia Walker (scwalker2@uchicago.edu) if you have any questions or concerns.
Jiayi and Sophia, Co-coordinators, Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop

11/20 Danbao

Chinese Novelist, former PhD student in Anthropology

“How Do You Tell New Stories of “Guanxi”? Writing and Publishing Fiction in Today’s China”

Time: Friday, November 20th, 5-7 pm CST

Zoom Registration: https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIvduGrqjoiHNONWLZEQF_K9VEyZAiOXI7T

Discussant: Yueling Ji, Ph.D. Candidate, EALC

The Art and Politics of East Asia (APEA) workshop is proud to host Danbao (Chinese Novelist and former PhD student in Anthropology), who will talk about her newly published book 美满  (roughly translated as Perfectly Satisfactory) this Friday. Note that the event will be mostly Chinese with opportunity to ask questions in English during the Q&A. She summarizes her short stories as follows:

《女儿》,试图用中国旧小说的“夹叙夹议”办法,用一对情侣的分手讲男性的自高自大、有限的反省、对女性的轻视、以及他们(不肯承认的那些!)对家庭的依赖。
《山河》,一位二十多岁的女孩——一个私生女——回忆她短暂的人生。她希望自己能和父母的“活法”有所区别;
《父母》,一对普通父母失去其“独生子女”后,展开了对再次生育和新生活的探索;
《乱世佳人》,三个人物,一家三口,一个典型的中国城市家庭:李先生、李太太、女儿小李。李太太看着《乱世佳人》译制片长大,想要成为一个勇敢、独立的女性,觉得那样有魅力。她却发现自己难以原谅丈夫的出轨。
《你还记得在上州给我变魔术吗?》,一对前恋人如今分隔在太平洋两岸。其中的那位女性是生活北京的插画艺术家对周围处处反感,又处处眷恋,她认为自己只能这样在中国活下去,又受不了“这样的中国”。

Please contact Jiayi Zhu (jiayizhu@uchicago.edu) and Sophia Walker (scwalker2@uchicago.edu) if you have any questions or concerns.
Jiayi and Sophia, Co-coordinators, Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop
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Danbao’s Bio: 淡豹,原名刘雪婷,辽宁沈阳人,作家。结束在北京大学的社会学、人类学学习后,她在芝加哥大学人类学系度过了五年多,其间开始为《东方早报》等中文媒体写社会评论、文化评论。2013年,微博上出现一条广东某高校男性教授评论大学女生“应该打扮漂亮,为老师和男生带来美的享受”的言论后,她非常生气,在微博上连续十天共写下十篇系列回应文章,呼吁国内高校反对性别歧视和刻板印象;从此她活跃于微博,话题遍及女性、读书、儿童权利等。2015年她回到北京生活至今。今年8月,她出版了一本短篇小说集《美满》,写中国家庭近年的结构性变化、人们在流动中漂浮不安又寻求支撑点的生活感受、以及女性在家庭中的欲望和苦闷。如今她主要是一名小说写作者,也在一本新闻时事杂志和另一本儿童杂志上开有专栏。

10/30 Carl Kubler

PhD Candidate, History

“European Vernaculars in Late Imperial China: Texts and Contexts before the Treaty Ports”

Time: Friday, October 30th, 3-5 pm

Zoom Registration: https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIvduGrqjoiHNONWLZEQF_K9VEyZAiOXI7T

Discussant: Yin Cai, Ph.D. Candidate, EALC

The Art and Politics of East Asia (APEA) workshop is proud to host Carl Kubler (Ph.D. Candidate, History), who will present his dissertation chapter “European Vernaculars in Late Imperial China: Texts and Contexts before the Treaty Ports” this Friday. He summarizes his chapter as follows:

Although many scholars of late imperial China have analyzed in detail the economic and political dimensions of Chinese trade with the West in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, fewer have considered the routine linguistic mechanisms and practices that facilitated commercial and cross-cultural interactions on the ground level. This chapter examines European language learning among Chinese commoners in the decades leading up to the first Opium War (1839-1842) and shows how a better understanding of translingual interaction can deepen our understanding of everyday exchanges and relationships.

Please contact Jiayi Zhu (jiayizhu@uchicago.edu) and Sophia Walker (scwalker2@uchicago.edu) if you have any questions or concerns.
Jiayi and Sophia, Co-coordinators, Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop