Lilian Kong

 Lilian Kong

Wolf Warrior II: Chinese Nationalism in the Popular Culture and Media Age

Friday, October 26th: 1 p.m*

Location: CEAS 319 (1155 E. 60th St.)

Poster of Wolf Warrior II (2017)

Discussant: William Carroll, PhD Candidate

Cinema and Media Studies + East Asian Languages and Civilizations

*Screening of Wolf Warrior II [战狼2] (2017, 126 minutes) begins at 1 p.m.

with a discussion of Lilian Kong’s paper to follow.

Lunch will be served during the film screening.

On November 2nd, the Art and Politics of East Asia workshop will host Lilian Kong (Master of Arts Program in the Humanities). She will present a draft of an essay intended for publication entitled, Wolf Warrior II: Chinese Nationalism in the Popular Culture and Media Age.” Lilian offers the following abstract:

Amidst economic reforms in the 1980s, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SPPRFT or SARFT) initiated and financially supported main melody (zhu xuanlü) films to reunify public opinions at a time of national transition toward a capitalist China. Since the beginning of the 21stcentury, these films have solidified their nationalist agenda, attracting China’s young consumer generation with hyper-commercialization, but rarely deviating from state-administered political ideologies and Han Chinese glorifications of socialist history. Wu Jing’s military-action drama Wolf Warrior II (2017), China’s largest grossing domestic film to date, represents a new development in the Chinese main melody genre. Scholars have paid particular attention to the film’s setting in Africa instead of China, arguing that the film embodies a bold expansion of nationalist power to the international arena (Liu, Amar, Osnos). On the premise of this current scholarship, my paper explores Wolf Warrior II’s character formations and its construction of inter-racial relationships to reveal how the film has altered the foundational components of China’s contemporary nation-state. I argue that ambiguities of nation and state manifested in Wolf Warrior II signal a transformation in main melody films’ nationalist agenda due its surfacing of the contradictory, entangled relations between international commercial media networks, particularly in the film’s collaboration with the American superhero franchise Marvel Studios, and the continuous surveillance of domestic state-administered networks that structures its production process.

Megan Beckerich

Megan Beckerich

“Supernatural Bodies and Censorship in 19th Century Japanese Prints”

Friday, October 26th, 4-6 p.m.*

Location: CEAS 319 (1155 E. 60th St.)

Discussant: Minori Egashira (PhD Student, Art History)

*Please note the start time is one hour later than usual!

On October 26th from 4:00pm to 6:00pm the Art and Politics of East Asia workshop will host Megan Beckerich, Master of Arts Program in the Humanities. She will present “Supernatural Bodies and Censorship in 19th Century Japanese Prints,” a working draft of her MA thesis. Megan offers the following abstract:

This thesis will explore censorship and morality in images depicting the female body from 19th century Japan. Specifically, by utilizing The Lonely House at Adachi Moor (1885) by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892), as a case study, this thesis will show that the changing application of censorial laws in Meiji Japan was not solely for a true change in public morals, but rather was an intertwining of Japanese official’s attempt to modernize to western moral standards while utilizing art to promote ideas of what was acceptable and what was “backwards” in a industrializing nation. This censorship was targeted strongly against depictions of female bodies in sexual or violent scenes, but this form of censorship, heavily drawing from existing European moral notions in art, put images identified as “supernatural” into the realm of fantasy. As such, prints depicting supernatural women were able to pass the censors because the bodies depicted are not human, but only fantasy. This is turn allowed the Meiji government to continue promoting modernization vis-à-vis relegating regional folkloric belief in the supernatural to “fantasy” and unreal. An analysis of what constitutes supernatural and human bodies will be conducted to better understand what forms a body in art, and where the boundary between human and inhuman lies within that genre. By comparing the visuals, purpose, and reception of The Lonely House to selected imagery and Yositoshi’s own catalogue, this thesis aims to more clearly illustrate the web of cultural meanings, connotations, while better understanding why certain visually grotesque prints were more acceptable than others in early modern Japanese society.