March 04, 2020 3:00 PM to 4:30 PMUptown Campus
Recent cultural production by Chinese immigrants to France such as Dai Sijie, Shan Sa and Gao Xingjian play out a complicated relationship to the political and aesthetic ideals that long characterized their home country in the French imaginary. Indeed, 19th century French race theory and world politics relegated China to the status of a rival power that needed to be subdued. Even over the next century, fear of Chinese invasion permeated the work of the most famous of France’s Sinophile writers like Victor Segalen and Marguerite Duras. Chinese authors who create literary and cinematic works in French, in the wake of this history, have thus resorted to a new aesthetic mode, born out of the experience of migration from China to France. This migrant aesthetic captures the sullen reality of silence and isolation that characterizes the Chinese diaspora in France. It also draws on Taoist philosophical traditions to propose a visually inspired language that crosses the chasm separating the two cultures with an appeal to the cavernous beauty of their failed historic relationship.
Sponsored by the Kathryn B. Gore Chair in French Studies (French & Italian department) and the School of Liberal Arts.
Reception to follow.