CFP: The Cultural Revolution Today: Literature, Film, and Cultural Debates

Organized by the French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC) and the Department of Comparative Literature, HKU.

2 and 3 June 2016 (Thursday and Friday), The University of Hong Kong

May 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the launching of China’s “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.” Historiography continues to debate the periodization of the Cultural Revolution, its impact among the urban elite, the political incentives of the Red Guard movement, the long-term influence of the rustication movement, and the mass violence that took place in the countryside.

At the same time, the Cultural Revolution remains a ubiquitous presence today in cultural and intellectual productions in China and beyond, which pose similar questions in different ways. Whereas scar literature and the “wholescale rejection” of the Cultural Revolution marked the cultural scene in the 1980s, this focus was subsequently criticized as too limited in scope, too dependent on the framework of government discourse, or too elitist. Films and fiction of the 1990s took a more irreverent approach, as a younger generation assessed the Cultural Revolution decade through its own unique experience, and New Left intellectuals attempted to salvage democratic experiments within the Cultural Revolution. Commodification of Maoist kitsch trivialized the Cultural Revolution experience and gave rise to new visual cultures. In the 2000s, renewed attention was given to grassroots violence and the political roots of the Cultural Revolution project.

This conference reconsiders the Cultural Revolution’s enduring impact in China and beyond, looking at literary, cinematographic, visual and intellectual productions byattempting to understand their relevance to contemporary China in a global context. The conference will consist of presentations of fifteen to twenty minutes in length, and English will be the language used for the event.

We invite proposals of 250-300 words for consideration.  Please also include a brief biography of no more than 100 words and a short working bibliography/filmography with your proposal.  The deadline for proposals is February 1, 2016.  Successful presenters will be notified of their acceptance by February 15, 2016.  We regret that we cannot provide any funding for transportation or accommodation.

Please send proposals to BOTH Gina Marchetti (marchett@hku.hk) and Sebastian Veg (veg@ehess.fr) by February 1, 2016.  Feel free to contact either of us with questions about the conference.  We look forward to welcoming you to Hong Kong in June.  For additional information, please contact Ms. Man Man Wong at manmanw@hku.hk.