Thursday, October 14, 2010

East Asian Colloquium

EAST ASIAN COLLOQUIUM (Presented by the East Asian Studies Center)
PRESENTER: Wai-yee Li (Professor of Chinese Literature, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University)
TOPIC: Gender and Early Qing Historical Memory: The Case of Yangzhou Women
DATE: Friday, October 15
TIME: 12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
LOCATION: Ballantine 004

(Light refreshments will be served.  You are also welcome to bring your own lunch.)
References to the Yangzhou massacre of 1645, a key event in the Qing conquest of China, span many genres, including miscellanies, fiction, local gazetteers, poetry, and biographies. In these writings, the fate and choices of Yangzhou women emerge as a prism determining the memory of trauma and a crucible defining historical judgment. In “An Account of Ten Days in Yangzhou,” the author Wang Xiuchu condemns women who shamelessly consorted with Qing soldiers and tried to profit from their loot and turns them into the emblem of the shame of conquest. This implied logic of blame surfaces in a variety of writings, notably the relentless unfolding of crime and punishment in Sequel to the Plum in the Golden Vase by Ding Yaokang. The counterpoint to the negative portrayals of women is the elevation of women who died resisting real or potential violation as political martyrs in local gazetteers, historiography, poetry, and biographies. As Yangzhou returned to prosperity during early Qing, the memory and erasure of trauma can be traced in the diverse images of Yangzhou women and the ambiguous role of sensual, feminine imagery in the poetic exchanges defining literary communities that often included literati who made different political choices.

Wai-yee Li is Professor of Chinese Literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. Her first book, Enchantment and Disenchantment: Love and Illusion in Chinese Literature (Princeton, 1993), traces the discourse on desire and its myriad transformations in the Chinese literary tradition. She is also the author of The Readability of the Past in Early Chinese Historiography (Harvard, 2007), which investigates the ordering impulse of Chinese culture in understanding the past, especially in connection with conceptions of rhetoric, exegesis, and interpretation of early China.

For more information about any upcoming event, please contact:

East Asian Studies Center
Indiana University
Memorial Hall West 207
1021 East Third Street
Bloomington, IN 47405-7005

Tel: (812) 855-3765
Toll free: (800) 441-3272
Fax: (812) 855-7762

Persons with disabilities interested in attending our events who may require assistance, please contact (812) 855-3765 in advance.

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