|Insensate Intimacy in Recent Asian Films|
Thursday, October 19, 2017
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Bunche Hall 10383
Talk by Jean Ma, Stanford University
The talk addresses the presence of sleeping characters in recent Asian films. Works directed by Tsai Ming-liang and Apichatpong Weerasethakul devote considerable portions of screen time to characters in states of unconsciousness, contravening standard ideas of what counts as narratively meaningful action in movies. Sleep would seems to represent the very negation of drama, as a paradigmatic instance of inaction and the dead time that editing typically strives to eliminate. But these filmmakers turn this conventional coding of sleep on its head as part of a project to re-attune perception and to recalibrate the sense of passing time. Moreover, the presence of such unconscious characters forges a link between Tsai and Apichatpong as queer auteurs, prominent figures not only on the international art film circuit but also in contemporary queer Asian cinema. Sleep plays a central role in the universe of desires and relationships constructed by these filmmakers, a universe that does not necessarily align with western paradigms of visibility and recognition. Acts of drifting off and waking up bind their characters together in webs of intimacy and sociality. I explore the significance of sleep for a queer relational mode based on asymmetry, vulnerability, and care, a mode that I designate as insensate intimacy.
Jean Ma is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University, where she teaches in the Film and Media Studies Program. She is the author of Melancholy Drift: Marking Time in Chinese Cinema (2010) and Sounding the Modern Woman: The Songstress in Chinese Cinema (2015), and a coeditor of Still Moving: Between Cinema and Photography (2008) and “Sound and Music,” a special issue of the Journal of Chinese Cinemas. Her work has appeared in Camera Obscura, Criticism, Grey Room, Film Quarterly, Post Script, and Journal of Chinese Cinemas. She is the coeditor of “Music, Sound, and Media,” a new book series from the University of California Press.
Going West and Going Out: Discourses, migrants and models in Chinese development
Friday, October 20, 2017
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
1261 Bunche Hall
Talk by Emily Yeh, University of Colorado-Boulder
In 1999, China announced the launching of the Open up the West campaign, sometimes called “Go West,” to help western China finally catch up to the much wealthier eastern, coastal areas after several decades of lagging behind. The same year, China also announced a “Go Out” strategy, to encourage Chinese investment abroad. The fifteen years since then have witnessed dramatic Chinese government investment in various development activities in western regions of China, as well as around the world. Though rarely considered together, I will argue in this talk that there are significant parallels, in development discourse, the centrality of physical infrastructure, the characteristics of Chinese labor migration and the nature of migrant-local relations, and the application of “models from elsewhere” in Go West and Go Out. Considering these parallels can help shed light on Chinese development discourse and practice, as China becomes increasingly important in the field of development once dominated by Western countries. Finally, I will briefly consider direct connections and convergences between the two strategies in China’s neighboring countries of Asia and in the One Belt One Road initiative.