Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Imperial-Time-Order: The 'People' and the 'Empire' in Historical Plays in Mao's China", April 15 at Pitt.

The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will hold another "Talking About Asia" event on April 15, with Kun Qian and her "Imperial-Time-Order: The 'People' and the 'Empire' in Historical Plays in Mao's China" talk.
Dr. Qian is an Assistant Professor of modern Chinese Literature and Film in the Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures. A synopsis of the talk:
Guo Moruo's historical plays are usually red as concerned more with contemporary reality than with history. Therefore his wartime dramas are seen as anti-Chiang Kai-shek diatribes and his plays written in the late 1950's pro-Mao eulogies. However, as an architect of Chinese Marxist historiography, his plays that justify the notorious rulers such as Cao Cao and Wu Zetian in the Maoist period are at odds with the class struggle narrative at the time. This talk will examine Guo Moruo's historical plays in general, and Cai Wenji (written in 1959) in particular, to discuss the temporal structure working in and out of his historical plays. Taking Guo's theory of "virtual focus" (seeking similarity at the expense of historical facts) as a point of departure, Qian suggests that the "virtual focus" is the juncture between history and reality that confirms a deeply-rooted historical way of thinking, defined as "imperial-time-order," one that takes unification as normal and morality as the ultimate standard to judge a regime in history. In this regard, not only is history borrowed to mirror reality from the present's perspective, but history also speaks to the present and is conducive to the construction of the " People" and the unified, multi-ethnic, modern Chinese "Nation."
It begins at 12:00 pm in 4130 Posvar Hall (map) and is free and open to the public.