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Landscape Paintings and Sovereign Territory in Socialist China

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Event Details:

The focus of this talk is a new genre of Chinese painting, Socialist Landscape, developed in the 1950s and 1960s. With the traditional landscape form and techniques largely retained to mobilize the people's identification with the territory and the new regime, these paintings were produced to infiltrate nationalist pride and the new sovereign ideology. Along the Great Leap Forward campaigns, the territory was also considered a resource to assist the Chinese people to flourish. The jiangshan (rivers and mountains) being depicted in these paintings is both an aesthetic site of transcendental identification and a reservoir of raw materials to be exploited so that the people could be elevated from poverty. As a result, the landscape depicted is full of values of all kinds. In these socialist landscape paintings, we can find many elements complexly in play, indirectly showing how the PRC juggles with utilitarianism and idealism, control and emancipation, the concrete and the abstract, to develop a new socialist sovereign ideology.

RSVP REQUIRED. This is a hybrid event, with in-person attendance restricted to Stanford affiliates (ID holders) ONLY ( East Asia Library Room 224), pandemic conditions permitting. Members of the public can join us for this talk via Zoom. 

About the speaker:

Laikwan Pang is professor of cultural studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is the author of a few books, including, more recently, The Appearing Demos: Hong Kong During and After the Umbrella Movement (University of Michigan Press, 2021), The Art of Cloning: Creative Production During China's Cultural Revolution (Verso Books, 2017), Creativity and Its Discontents: China's Creative Industries and Intellectual Property Rights Offenses (Duke University Press, 2012), and The Distorting Mirror: Visual Modernity in China (University of Hawaii Press, 2007). Her books have received CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title and Chiang King-Kuo Foundation Publication Award, and she has also been awarded the Discovery International Award by Australia Research Council, as well as the Research Excellence Award and the Young Research Award by the Chinese University of Hong Kong.