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Tze-Lan Sang (Michigan State University): Revisiting the Modern Girl in Early-Twentieth-Century China
Thursday, 27 April 2017,  4:30pm -  6:00pm

Location: Brower Commons A


Abstract: The Modern Girl (modeng guniang) has a ubiquitous presence in early-twentieth-century Chinese literature and visual culture. From popular fiction to revolutionary literature, from movie fanzines to more serious varieties of newspapers and magazines, from advertising images to leftist cinema, the Modern Girl appeared as an iconic figure in a wide range of representations from the late 1920s through the 1940s. Generally speaking, she was depicted as glamorous, alluring, and sexually liberated. She was envied and emulated as much as chastised. She symbolized the contradictions of modernity--its inordinate attraction as well as its threat. Drawing on a wide array of social commentaries in the mass media and works of fiction, this talk will examine the diversity of opinions in the Chinese discussion on the Modern Girl, as well as the transnational discursive resources drawn on by the commentators.