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Frontiers of Literary Studies in China

Front. Lit. Stud. China    2014, Vol. 8 Issue (1) : 78-100     DOI: 10.3868/s010-003-014-0005-0
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Gendering National Imagination: Heroines and the Return of the Foundational Family in Shanghai during the War of Resistance to Japan
Kun Qian()
Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA
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Abstract

During the War of Resistance to Japan (1937–45), the cultural scene in Japanese-occupied Shanghai took on a “feminine” quality, as female leads dominated stage performance and film screens. This essay seeks to engage this gendered phenomenon through examples of Ouyang Yuqian’s wartime play Peach Blossom Fan (Taohua shan) and the film Mulan Joins the Army (Mulan congjun). Borrowing affect theory in conjunction with the gendered perception of modernity, the author argues that these representations of female characters, on the one hand, highlight the subjective projection of male intellectuals motivated by intense feelings of shame and anger, which constitutes a feminized national imagination encountering the colonial Other. On the other hand, such representations continue the May Fourth project of enlightening and liberating woman from the conventional family while reintroducing the concept of the nation in the family setting and proposing the foundational family as the basic unit of the new nation.

Keywords total war      masculinity      femininity      shame and anger      foundational family     
Issue Date: 16 May 2014
 Cite this article:   
Kun Qian. Gendering National Imagination: Heroines and the Return of the Foundational Family in Shanghai during the War of Resistance to Japan[J]. Front. Lit. Stud. China, 2014, 8(1): 78-100.
 URL:  
http://journal.hep.com.cn/flsc/EN/10.3868/s010-003-014-0005-0
http://journal.hep.com.cn/flsc/EN/Y2014/V8/I1/78
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