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Politics of Air: Socialism and Weather in Ge Fei's Jiangnam Trilogy

Politics of Air: Socialism and Weather in Ge Fei's Jiangnam Trilogy
130 St. George Street, Robarts Library 14th Floor, EAS Purple Lounge
Time: Oct 23rd, 4:15 pm End: Oct 23rd, 6:00 pm
Interest Categories: French (FAS), Environment, East Asian Studies (FAS), Comparative Literature (FAS), Cinema, 2000-, 1950-2000
Talk by Paola Iovene, University of Chicago

The Department of East Asian Studies is pleased to present:

Dr. Paola Iovene, University of Chicago

Politics of Air: Socialism and Weather in Ge Fei's Jiangnam Trilogy

Abstract: Overcoming the precariousness of life through the elimination of contingencies constituted one of the core promises of socialism, and a controllable weather of moderate rain and sunshine was posed as an imminent possibility testifying to its success. In socialist literary and visual works storms did happen, but only to be vigorously fought against and culminate into a happy and bright atmosphere. How to make sense of the promises of socialism and what remains of them are among the themes at the center of the Jiangnan Trilogy (2004-2011) by Ge Fei, an important contemporary Chinese writer who has been much translated into French but has so far received little attention in the United States. This talk will focus on the second and third volume of the trilogy, the first set in the 1950s and the second in the 2000s, and will address the following historical and literary questions: How does the trilogy envision the continuities and discontinuities between socialist and postsocialist China? How does a focus on weather help address this question, and what are the linguistic means whereby weather and atmosphere become tangible characters of fiction?

Paola Iovene is associate professor of modern Chinese literature at the University of Chicago. Her book Tales of Futures Past: Literature and Anticipation in Contemporary China (Stanford University Press, 2014) explores the ways in which normative visions and intimate feelings about the future have shaped literary institutions, editorial practices, and diverse genres and texts in socialist and postsocialist China. She is currently working on a project on Chinese independent documentary film tentatively titled Precarious Testimony: The Poetics of Presence in  Chinese Independent Documentary Film.

This event is free and open to all. Registration is not required.  For further information, please contact the Department of East Asian Studies at (416) 978-7260.

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