Public Lecture x Book Talk: Creating the Rural Vernacular and How to Reread Modern China through the Lens of Spatial Crossings
Date: 7 October 2021 (Thu)
Venue: Online event (ZOOM link will be sent upon registration)
Conducted in English. All are welcome.
Please register by 5 October 2021
Facebook event link: https://fb.me/e/1cV8rTRnN
Prof. Yu ZHANG (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
Prof. Jia TAN (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
The first half of this talk will focuses on the visual and theatrical practices during the rural reconstruction movement facilitated by James Yen (1893-1990) in Ding County in the late 1920s and 1930s. This talk highlights what I describe as a new form of rural vernacular manifested in a cluster of modern media and cultural forms, including the written, the visual, and the performative, which contributed to creating a pedagogic, participatory community and to achieving Yen’s goal of rejuvenating the nation through providing education to transform the everyday life of the peasants. The rural vernacular also functioned as a critical response to the elitist orientation underlying the May Fourth vernacular movement and attempted to reconnect with the rural masses, helping to bring the modern experience grounded in the concrete, everyday rural life to the rural masses.
The second part of the talk will briefly introduce my book, which discusses “going to the countryside” a distinctively modern experience and a continuous practice in China since the beginning of the twentieth century. As a critical response to the “urban turn” in the past few decades, this book brings the rural back to the central concern of Chinese cultural studies and highlights the process of “crossing”, an act which was often presented as explorations of various ways of establishing the connectivity, interaction, and relationship of the city and the countryside as two geographical entities.
Yu ZHANG is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chinese Culture at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She is the author of Going to the Countryside: The Rural in Modern Chinese Cultural Imagination, 1915-1965 (The University of Michigan Press, 2020). Taking up an interdisciplinary and transmedia approach, her publications have covered topics in twentieth-century Chinese literature, film, and cultural studies. She is currently working on a new book project tentatively titled “China at Work: Revolutionizing the Culture of Work in Contemporary China”. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford University, and her research has been supported by Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation Junior Scholar Grant and General Research Fund from Research Grants Council, H.K.S.A.R.
This event is co-organized by the Centre for Cultural Studies, and MA in Intercultural Studies Programme, Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, CUHK