Interdisciplinary Lunchtime Seminar

Industrializing the Chinese Countryside in Representational and Aesthetic Forms: A Socialist Fantasia of Human Creativity

2018-01-30 12:00:002018-01-30 13:00:00Asia/Hong_KongIndustrializing the Chinese Countryside in Representational and Aesthetic Forms: A Socialist Fantasia of Human Creativity

Interdisciplinary Lunchtime Seminar
Industrializing the Chinese Countryside in Representational and Aesthetic Forms: A Socialist Fantasia of Human Creativity

Dr. Emma Yu Zhang
The Society of Fellows in the Humanities, The University of Hong Kong

Date: January 30, 2018 (Tuesday)
Time: 12:00 – 13:00
Venue: Room 201, 2/F, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong
Enquiry: (852) 3917-5772, ihss@hku.hk

Abstract
Urban industrialization was the focus of the socialist state from its founding year, while at the same time the socialist state consciously created a rural industrial aesthetics to construct its national self-image. This talk focuses on the juxtaposition of “the rural” and “the industrial” and how the effort of industrializing the village was represented in socialist cinema and visual culture in the early years of the People’s Republic of China. It presented the socialist brand of creativity that bridged manual labor and mental labor, which was characterized by the aesthetic components of “labor-as-play” and “industrial-as-artisanal” that underlay the rural industrializing projects, such as the building of canals and electronic hydropower stations. My analysis of the poetics and aesthetics of rural industrialization emphasizes the revolutionary change in creating a new realm of human perception and experience through transforming repetitive, monotonous, and often painful manual labor into joyful creative play, and turning the industrial coldness and hardness into artisanal craft, warmth, and malleability. This version of rural industrialization constituted the poetics of socialist industry, illustrates the spirit of self-sufficiency and self-reliance, and marked the uniqueness of socialist China’s national identity circulated at home and abroad during the Cold War period. Components like play, artisanship, and romance in the socialist industrial utopia represented the “soft” dimensions that were incorporated into the hard power of socialist China.

About the Speaker
Dr. Emma Yu Zhang is currently a fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at The University of Hong Kong. Her research interest includes modern and contemporary Chinese literature and culture, socialism and post-socialism, the Chinese diaspora, and the intersection of technology and modern culture.

    2018-01-30 12:00:002018-01-30 13:00:00Asia/Hong_KongIndustrializing the Chinese Countryside in Representational and Aesthetic Forms: A Socialist Fantasia of Human Creativity

    Interdisciplinary Lunchtime Seminar
    Industrializing the Chinese Countryside in Representational and Aesthetic Forms: A Socialist Fantasia of Human Creativity

    Dr. Emma Yu Zhang
    The Society of Fellows in the Humanities, The University of Hong Kong

    Date: January 30, 2018 (Tuesday)
    Time: 12:00 – 13:00
    Venue: Room 201, 2/F, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong
    Enquiry: (852) 3917-5772, ihss@hku.hk

    Abstract
    Urban industrialization was the focus of the socialist state from its founding year, while at the same time the socialist state consciously created a rural industrial aesthetics to construct its national self-image. This talk focuses on the juxtaposition of “the rural” and “the industrial” and how the effort of industrializing the village was represented in socialist cinema and visual culture in the early years of the People’s Republic of China. It presented the socialist brand of creativity that bridged manual labor and mental labor, which was characterized by the aesthetic components of “labor-as-play” and “industrial-as-artisanal” that underlay the rural industrializing projects, such as the building of canals and electronic hydropower stations. My analysis of the poetics and aesthetics of rural industrialization emphasizes the revolutionary change in creating a new realm of human perception and experience through transforming repetitive, monotonous, and often painful manual labor into joyful creative play, and turning the industrial coldness and hardness into artisanal craft, warmth, and malleability. This version of rural industrialization constituted the poetics of socialist industry, illustrates the spirit of self-sufficiency and self-reliance, and marked the uniqueness of socialist China’s national identity circulated at home and abroad during the Cold War period. Components like play, artisanship, and romance in the socialist industrial utopia represented the “soft” dimensions that were incorporated into the hard power of socialist China.

    About the Speaker
    Dr. Emma Yu Zhang is currently a fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at The University of Hong Kong. Her research interest includes modern and contemporary Chinese literature and culture, socialism and post-socialism, the Chinese diaspora, and the intersection of technology and modern culture.

      Overview

      Title:

      Industrializing the Chinese Countryside in Representational and Aesthetic Forms: A Socialist Fantasia of Human Creativity

      Speaker:

      Dr. Emma Yu Zhang (Post-doctoral Fellow, The Society of Fellows in the Humanities, The University of Hong Kong)

      Date:

      January 30, 2018

      Time:

      12:00 nn – 1:00 pm

      Venue:

      Room 201, 2/F, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong (Map)

      Language:

      English

      Enquiry:

      (Tel) (852) 3917-5772
      (Email) ihss@hku.hk

      Abstract

      Urban industrialization was the focus of the socialist state from its founding year, while at the same time the socialist state consciously created a rural industrial aesthetics to construct its national self-image. This talk focuses on the juxtaposition of “the rural” and “the industrial” and how the effort of industrializing the village was represented in socialist cinema and visual culture in the early years of the People’s Republic of China. It presented the socialist brand of creativity that bridged manual labor and mental labor, which was characterized by the aesthetic components of “labor-as-play” and “industrial-as-artisanal” that underlay the rural industrializing projects, such as the building of canals and electronic hydropower stations. My analysis of the poetics and aesthetics of rural industrialization emphasizes the revolutionary change in creating a new realm of human perception and experience through transforming repetitive, monotonous, and often painful manual labor into joyful creative play, and turning the industrial coldness and hardness into artisanal craft, warmth, and malleability. This version of rural industrialization constituted the poetics of socialist industry, illustrates the spirit of self-sufficiency and self-reliance, and marked the uniqueness of socialist China’s national identity circulated at home and abroad during the Cold War period. Components like play, artisanship, and romance in the socialist industrial utopia represented the “soft” dimensions that were incorporated into the hard power of socialist China.

      About the speaker

      Dr. Emma Yu Zhang is currently a fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at The University of Hong Kong. Her research interest includes modern and contemporary Chinese literature and culture, socialism and post-socialism, the Chinese diaspora, and the intersection of technology and modern culture.

      Poster