Worldly Stage: Simulation & Spectacle in 17th-Century China
A talk by Sophie Volpp, UC Davis
Thursday, January 16, 2003
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
11377 Bunche Hall
In Professor Volpp's words,
In this talk, I examine the shifting significance of the metaphor of the world as stage through the seventeenth century. Exploring the ways in which authors construed literary and social identity to be theatrical, I ask why the notion of theatricality occupied such an important ideological niche during the late Ming and early Qing. I argue that the rapid commodification of the economy and the ascent of the mercantile class at the end of the sixteenth century created an anxiety regarding social imposture and impersonation. Notions of voyeurism and spectatorship elucidated the changing relations between different social spheres. With the fall of the Ming dynasty in 1644, however, the notion that the world was but a stage became a source of consolation rather than concern.
Sophie Volpp (Ph.D., Harvard, 1995) is Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures at the University of California, Davis. She has published on, among other things, actors and gender in late imperial China. She now has a book manuscript in progress, Worldly Stage: Simulation and Spectacle in Seventeenth-Century China.
For more information please contact
Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies