Fantasies of the Self: Chinese Lyricism and Modern Photography

Shengqing Wu

Venue: Room 1505, 1555 Century Avenue, NYU Shanghai
Date: Monday, December 3, 2018
Time: 17:30 - 19:00 CST

This talk investigates the visual configurations, rhetorical conventions, and fundamental concepts underlying China’s portrait photography in the early twentieth century. By surveying pictorial magazines, photo albums of courtesans, and poems written about new visual experiences, it addresses issues of how portrait photography was understood and practiced in the flourishing urban culture, and how traditional aesthetics and visual tropes were involved in adopting and indigenizing the new visual media. The complex interactions of modern technology and aestheticism, image and text, reveal that aesthetic tradition was deeply implicated in the cross-cultural exchanges of technology and power in the formation of China’s urban culture and visual modernity.

Shengqing Wu is Associate Professor of Chinese Literature at the Division of Humanities at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Prior to joining the faculty of HKUST, she taught at Wesleyan University for eight years. She was an An Wang postdoctoral fellow at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and a visiting scholar at the Harvard-Yenching Institute.  Her first book Modern Archaics: Continuity and Innovation in the Chinese Lyric Tradition 1900-1937(Harvard University Asia Center Press, 2013) illuminates the mutually transformative power of the modern and the archaic. She is completing her second book manuscript, which is titled “Photo Poetics: Chinese Lyricism and Modern Media” (under contract with Columbia University Press).

Introduction and moderation of the Q&A by Francesca Tarocco, Visiting Associate Professor of Buddhist Cultures, NYU Shanghai.

This event is co-sponsored by the Global China Studies program.

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Location & Details

To our visitors:
• RSVP may be required for this event. Please check event details
• Visitors will need to present a photo ID at the entrance
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• Metro: Century Avenue Station, Metro Lines 2/4/6/9 Exit 6 in location B 
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