We all thought Professor David Wang’s lectures on contemporary Chinese literature would be interesting. But from the first one last night, we now know:
- The talks will touch on a lot of themes IGS 10a has discussed in class and…
- Prof. Wang is very funny.
Last night’s talk, on “Red Star Over America: The Politics of Transgression” got me thinking about the relationship between literature and national identity. Professor Wang noted that the current Chinese government wants its citizens to “tell the good China story.” He described this as a nationalist request, and contrasted it to the many examples of current literature that tell all kinds of other stories.
So I started wondering: what is the relationship between narrative fiction and nationalism? Does nationalism always come from the government? Is there something nationalist about telling the “xiao shuo” — the small stories — of ordinary people? Or is the freedom to tell one’s own story the opposite of collective nationalism?
There are two more lectures in the series:
Tuesday, March 6: 4:30-6 pm
“Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out: The Ghost in Socialist Transmigration.”
Thursday, March 8: 4:30-6 pm
“The Dark Night Gives Black Eyes: The Art of Transillumination.”
All lectures are in Mandel G03. I’ll have questions for each of these as well.
Prof. Wang will also give a lunch seminar on Thursday, March 8 at 12 noon in Mandel 303. If you want to attend the lunch seminar on Thursday, please read this as background first.