Legends, Media and Stars: The Transmission of Chinese Popular Culture, 1820s-1920s

Lecture by Margaret Wan, University of Utah

Legends, Media and Stars: The Transmission of Chinese Popular Culture, 1820s-1920s
Public Lecture Series: Transformations and Innovations of Chinese Cultural Tradition in the Era of New Media

The stories of Judge Shi and Judge Liu provide an excellent way to explore the transmission of Chinese popular culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Since both are based on Qing officials – Shi Shilun (d. 1722) and Liu Yong (1719-1805) – their legends have a distinct starting point. Tracing the transmission of the stories of Judge Shi and Judge Liu across time and space reveals different patterns of circulation of the two legends. What do these differences tell us about the transmission of culture regionally, trans-regionally, or nationally? Can traditional media like ballads, drama, and popular woodblock prints create a “mediasphere”? To what degree did changes in technology in the late Qing (including newspapers, railroads, and steamships) affect existing cultural practices?

Margaret Wan is Associate Professor of Chinese literature and culture at the University of Utah. She is the author of “Green Peony” and the Rise of the Chinese Martial Arts Novel (2009), and co-editor of The Interplay of Oral and Written in Chinese Popular Literature (2010) and Yangzhou - A Place in Literature: The Local in Chinese Cultural History (2015). Currently she is finishing a book project on drum ballads and Chinese regional culture, and piloting a new digital humanities project, “Mapping the Chinese Novel.” Her research has been awarded fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She is the editor of CHINOPERL. Professor Wan received her PhD from Harvard University.

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Duration: 00:34:45

Published: Thursday, May 12, 2016