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Culture and female imaginary in contemporary China


In the last fifty years, China has undergone far-reaching social changes and, with them, the transformation of the role of women. In this session, two experts in cultural studies will reflect on the evolution of the representation of women in Chinese social imaginary.

Taking as their basis three female characters forged in literary fiction and recreated on the cinema screen, Peking University lecturers Dai Jinhua and He Guimei will be talking about the evolution of the situation of women in China and the transformation in the way they are represented in the framework of the far-reaching political, economic and cultural changes occurring in the country, from the Cultural Revolution in the sixties to today’s accelerated growth.

The first fictional figure is the stereotypical ideal of the peasantry in the sixties, an honest, enthusiastic woman separated from her family and integrated into the collectivised system of socialist production. Then, from the eighties, we have the figure of a middle-aged intellectual who has to sacrifice her own ambitions to help her husband. Finally, in the first decade of the 21st century, we see successful executive and entrepreneur exponent of the new times of mercantilism, between fashion and money, with a family life that has completely disappeared from the scene.

Moderators: Manel Ollé

Participants: Dai Jinhua, He Guimei

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