College of William and Mary
2014-15 Chinese Major Forum: Desiring China
Organized by Prof. Calvin Hui
In fall 2014, seniors majoring in Chinese took Professor Calvin Hui’s course CHIN 428 Advanced Seminar in Chinese. As part of the course, they did research and produced a paper relating to the course’s major concerns. They also presented their research projects at the 2014-15 Chinese Major Forum entitled “Desiring China.”
The first forum panel was called "Popular China: Political Economy and Gender." The panel’s first section looked at how culture is intimately tied to the radical transformations of China from the socialist to the post-socialist periods. Joshua Hocker presented the competing meanings of whiteness in socialist and revolutionary posters. Jared Vinnedge examined XIE Jin's oeuvre by focusing on one revolution film and one reform film (scar drama). Andrew Kopca traced the changing representations of love from socialist to capitalist China. The second part explored gender variations and commercialism. While Robert Weed presented his research on "leftover women," Connor Docherty showed us conflicting portrayals of Chinese masculinity. Sarah Stefan showed us boi-ish charm through her research on androgyny in the popular TV show Super Girl.
The second panel was entitled "Consuming China." The presenters looked at a wide variety of consumer commodities, including the alcoholic beverages baijiu and beer (Ryan Olstein), Thailand as a site of exoticism and vacation (Maria Loverde), the English language (Henry Woodburn), automobiles (Evan Chandler), Nike shoes (Adam Siegel), and Hollywood films (Elizabeth Jenkins). We began with consumption within the national context (Ryan), moved to the intra-Asia context (Maria), and then to the transnational context (Henry, Evan, Adam, Bess), with an emphasis on U.S.-China relations. Thinking dialectically, we were interested in how China consumes and is consumed.
The third panel was called "Gaming China" (video games!). James Linek presented his interesting research on gaming consoles and Soon Hyok Kwoen told us about his work on electronic sports. Aleeya Ensign’s presentation "The Act of Waiting” explored GAO Xingjian's absurdist play The Bus Stop. It is fitting that we concluded the Chinese Major Forum with the absurd because what has been happening in China during the past thirty years is indeed quite absurd!