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Wounds in time: the aesthetic afterlives of the Cultural Revolution

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Title: Wounds in time: the aesthetic afterlives of the Cultural Revolution
Author(s): Huang, Yiju
Director of Research: Xu, Gary G.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Xu, Gary G.
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Goodman, David G.; Huntington, Rania; Rothberg, Michael
Department / Program: E. Asian Languages & Cultures
Discipline: E Asian Languages & Cultures
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): trauma trauma theory Cultural Revolution China literature Chinese literature Chinese modern literature art Chinese art Chinese modern art film Chinese film cinema Chinese cinema Zhang Xiaogang Hong Ying Han Shaogong Jiang Wen Ann Hui Ba Jin
Abstract: My dissertation, “Wounds in Time: the Aesthetic Afterlives of the Cultural Revolution,” departs from the traditional historicist approach to the Cultural Revolution, contributing instead an investigation of the Cultural Revolution through its aesthetic afterlives. This study crosses disciplines and seeks to grasp the traumatic traces embedded within works of literature, art, and cinema that deal with the Cultural Revolution consciously or unconsciously, in lucidity or encryption. My analysis of the Cultural Revolution as a traumatic wound endeavors to bring the concealed political crimes, disavowed pains and absent feelings into historical consciousness. Figures central to this study include writers Han Shaogong, Yu Hua, and Hong Ying, artist Zhang Xiaogang, as well as filmmakers Jia Zhangke and Jiang Wen. Drawing on classical theory of trauma by Freud as well as works by subsequent theorists such as Nicholas Abraham and Maria Torok, Cathy Caruth and Dominick LaCapra, I maintain that the Cultural Revolution is not a fixed temporal entity but a phantom that stretches beyond history, finding contemporary cultural avenues of expression, and rematerializing to demand recognition and reparation. Further, by means of bringing trauma theory into a new historical/cultural context, this study translates/revises trauma theory beyond its Eurocentric provenance.
Issue Date: 2011-08-25
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Yiju Huang
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-08-25
Date Deposited: 2011-08

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