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March 12: Shengqing Wu (HKUST) “Fantasies of the Self: Chinese Lyricism and Modern Photography”

Society of Fellows Lecture Series Spring 2018 Shengqing Wu, HKUST: “Fantasies of the Self: Chinese Lyricism and Modern Photography”

Monday, March 12, 5-6:30 PM Room 4.36, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus Event followed by wine and cheese reception

This talk investigates the visual configurations, rhetorical conventions, and fundamental concepts underlying China’s portrait photography in the early twentieth century. By surveying pictorial magazines, photo albums of courtesans, and poems written about new visual experiences, it examines of how portrait photography was understood and practiced in the flourishing urban culture, and how traditional aesthetics and visual tropes were involved in adopting and indigenizing the new visual media. The complex interactions of modern technology and aestheticism, image and text, reveal that aesthetic tradition was deeply implicated in the cross-cultural exchanges of technology and power in the formation of China’s urban culture and visual modernity. Shengqing Wu is Associate Professor of Chinese Literature at the Division of Humanities at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. An examination of the works and activities of previously neglected poets who maintained their commitment to traditional aesthetic ideals, her first book Modern Archaics: Continuity and Innovation in the Chinese Lyric Tradition 1900-1937 (Harvard University Asia Center Press, 2013), illuminates the splendor of Chinese lyricism and highlights the mutually transformative power of the modern and the archaic. She is completing her second book project, which is titled “Photo Poetics: Chinese Lyricism and Modern Media.”


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