A Survey of Modern Chinese Literature and Film - Discourse of Sacrifice: Family Bonding, National Salvation and Revolutionary Fantasy
While providing a historical survey of Modern Chinese Literature and Cinema, this course will focus on the layered narratives of sacrifice and martyrdom in their literary and cinematic representations. The ever-shifting social contexts and the synchronic co-existence of various discourses in Modern China rendered the representation of sacrifice ambiguous in multiple layers—how did the collective passion of sacrifice for one‘s nation (or for a transnational revolutionary ideal) sublimate the individual desire to sacrifice for one‘s lover or family? Can we clearly delineate the boundary between the sacrificed subject/object as martyrs (self-sacrifice) and as scapegoats (forced to sacrifice)? Why did the Chinese nationalist ideology prefer to foreground the representation of one group of martyrs/scapegoats (foreigners, women, children, low-rank soldiers) over the other group (male, adult, high-rank officers)? Finally, what makes us take for granted of martyrs‘ voluntary sacrifice for the nation?
The literary and cinematic texts that we discuss in this course represent a wide range of styles and subject matters related to these issues. All readings will be in English (and all films with English subtitles). Prior knowledge of Modern Chinese History and familiarity with literature and film analysis are preferred, ilbut not required.