Comparative Literature 576A SLN 11383


Toward the Domination of the Image: Recent China Scholarship in Visual Studies




W 5:30-8:20 pm MGH 074



Yomi Braester


office: C-504 Padelford


office hours: by appointment





CLASS SCHEDULE (subject to change)

Week 1: no class

Week 2: Intellectual debates in the 1980s and 1990s
             Reading: Zhang Xudong, Postsocialism and Cultural Politics, Part I

Week 3: The cultural production of nostalgia
             Reading: Zhang Xudong, Postsocialism and Cultural Politics, Parts II and III
             Film assignment: Zhang Yimou, The Story of Qiuju

Week 4: Intellectual debates in the 1980s and 1990s
             Reading: Jason McGrath, Postsocialism and Cultural Politics
             Film assignment: Feng Xiaogang, The Banquet

Week 5: What is visual modernity (seminar with William Schaefer)
             Readings: David Summers, Real Spaces, introduction
                            James Elkins, "Marks, Traces... Nonsemiotic Elements in Pictures"
                            T.J. Clark, "Art History in an Age of Image Machines"
                            Laikwan Pang, The Distorting Mirror, Introduction and Chapter 1

Week 6 : Proto-cinematic and cinematic modernity
             Readings: Laikwan Pang, The Distorting Mirror
                            Zhang Zhen, An Amourous History of the Silver Screen, "Teahouse, Shadowplay, and Laborer's Love"
             Film assignment: Laborer's Love

Week 7: The pathology of vision
             Readings: Larissa Heinrich, The Afterlife of Images
                            Donald Preziosi, Rethinking Art History, “The Coy Science”

Week 8: Rey Chow’s interventions in film studies
             Reading: Rey Chow, Sentimental Fabulations
             Film assignments: Ann Hui, Song of Exile; Li Yang, Blind Shaft

Week 9: The city as a neoliberal construction
             Readings: Yomi Braester, Painting the City Red, Chapter 7
                            Yomi Braester and James Tweedie, Cinema on the City’s Edge, Introduction
             Film assignment: Jia Zhangke, The World

Week 10: Branding cultures
             Readings: Alexander Des Forges, Mediascape Shanghai
                            Jing Wang, Branding New China (selection)
             ALSO: student presentations