Gender, Labor, and Cultural Representation in Chinese History

April 18, 2018, Brown University


What Did Hollywood Export to the Rest of the World?
 February 16, 2017, Brown University














From Equality to Difference: A Comparative Study of Chinese and American Feminisms in the 1980s

June 22, 2016, Nanjing University

Lingzhen Wang, Associate Professor of East Asian Studies
Brown University














Girlscape: Gender and the Marketing of Mediatic Ambience in Japan
November 6, 2015, Brown University













Gendered Projections: Female Bodies, Sacrifice, and Rural Film Practices in the People's Republic of China
 October 19, 2015, Brown University














Classical Hollywood Cinema and Gender Studies: Historicizing Theory, Theorizing History
April  29, 2015, Brown University














Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary China:
A Conversation with Li Yinhe

April  7, 2015, Brown University














Film Festival and Symposium:
Chinese Women's Documentary Films
October 4-6, 2014, Brown University

Download Film Festival Schedule

Download Sympsosium Schedule

Download Poster

Download Director Bios

International Conference:
Global Capitalism, Socialist Markets, and Feminist Interventions

June 20-22, 2014, Shanghai University

The spread and penetration of neoliberal market values and governance across the post Cold War globe has significantly reframed questions regarding the relationship of economic development to social democracy (including gender) and social justice. Feminist scholars and activists throughout the world have responded to the complexity of these historical transformations, articulating different theoretical, geopolitical, and economic positions. This conference continues feminist endeavors to explore transnational theories and strategies that might generate dynamic and geopolitically meaningful alternative politics and practices in the global market era.

Bringing together scholars from Eastern Europe, Latin American, China and the United States, the conference aims to stimulate critical dialogues on a variety of topics, both old and new, concerning capitalism, socialism, (post)colonial modernity, (post)socialist markets, the role of the nation-state in modern history, transnational capital and labor, and the commercialization of media and cultural production. Conference organizers advocate translation as a critical and reflective enterprise, endorse transnational and cross-cultural engagements, and emphasize the critical importance of gender as an integrated analytical and political category applicable to interdisciplinary research and practice.

Lecture - From Prison Guard to Documentary Director: One Woman's Hong Kong Journey
February 20, 2014, Brown University

Hong Kong Film Festival

February 19 & 20, 2014, Brown University

Lecture: My Dream: Urban Aesthetics and Chinese Cosmopolitanism

December 9, 2013, Brown University

Yan Haiping, Ph.D.
Director and University Professor

SJTU Institute for Advanced Study in Media and Society, Shanghai Jiaotong University
Fellow, Center for the Study of Economy and Society, Cornell University

Lecture: Globalization, Social Transformation, and the Construction of the Chinese Middle Classes
October 4, 2013, Brown University

Professor Zhou Xiaohong
Dean, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Distinguished Yangtze River Scholar in China
Nanjing University

Friday, October 4, 2013, 1:00 PM
Pembroke Hall, 305


Film Screening and Symposium with Filmmaker Liu Jiayin

October 28-31, 2012, Brown University





Film Screening:
Sunday, October 28, 5:00 pm
Smith-Buonanno 201
95 Cushing Street, Providence, RI   

Wednesday, October 31, 2012, 12:30 pm
Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute
111 Thayer Street, Providence, RI

Boldly transforming documentary into fiction, Liu Jiayin cast her parents and herself as fictionalized versions of themselves. Her father, Liu Zaiping, sells leather bags but is slowly going bankrupt. He argues with his wife, Jia Huifen, and his daughter over methods to boost business in the shop. A cloud of anxiety follows them into sleepless nights shared in the same bed. But through the thousand daily travails of city life, a genuine and deeply moving picture of Chinese familial solidarity emerges from the screen.

With virtually no budget and boundless ingenuity, Liu Jiayin's eye-opening debut, shot when she was 23 years old, consists of twenty-three static, one-scene shots within her family's fifty square meter home. Liu keeps her small DV camera in claustrophobic closeness to her subjects, often showing only parts of their bodies as their voices dominate the soundtrack. OXHIDE takes the microscopic physical and emotional details of a family and magnifies them on a widescreen canvas. Breaking new ground in cinematic art, Liu Jiayin's follow-up to her masterful debut OXHIDE turns a simple dinner into a profoundly intimate study of family relationships.

Building on the stunning vision of OXHIDE (voted one of the best Chinese films of the 2000s), writer-director Liu Jiayin once again casts herself and her parents in scripted versions of their life in a tiny Beijing apartment. Liu takes her uncompromising artistry to the extreme, setting all of the action around the family dinner table, which doubles as her father's leather-making station. As the workbench is cleared for the family to make a dinner of dumplings, the camera catches every meticulous detail of the action in real time. Small moments between family members reveal deep insights into the mysteries of family relations and the art of everyday living.

Essay by the director: A Clumsy Movie: On Oxhide II (English)  Essay in Chinese

Director's CV (English) Director's CV (Chinese)

International Conference on Gender Research in Chinese Studies
June 9-11, Nanjing University

Scholars from Brown University, Nanjing University, Hong Kong University, Wellesley College, McGill University, Shanghai China -Eastern University, University of California-Davis, Shanghai University, Xiamen University, Nanjing Normal University, University of Chicago, Dalian University, Rice University, University of Paris VII, City University of New York, and Chinese University of Hong Kong participated in a three-day conference exploring gender issues relating to late imperial Chinese literature and culture, (trans)gender performance and the body, modern Chinese literature, history, and culture, and the market era. The conference also included a roundtable discussion concerning feminism, theory and practice, and keynote speeches from Kam Louie (Hong Kong University), Tani Barlow (Rice University), Julia Kristeva (University of Paris VII), and Kay Warren (Brown University).

Conference Schedule

Read more about the inauguration of the new Center for Gender Studies and the Humanities, a collaboration between Nanjing University and Brown University, that kicked off this conference.

Chinese Women’s Documentaries in the Market Era
Film Festival and Symposium

Film Festival
March 17-18, 2012
Cable Car Cinema, 204 South Main Street, Providence

Film Screening and Director Discussion Schedule

March 21, 2012, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street, Providence
Symposium Schedule

Chinese Women’s Documentaries in the Market Era will screen and examine important documentary films by Chinese Women directors from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China. The symposium will feature directors and international scholars who will discuss the role and significance of women’s documentary films in articulating different human concerns, critical visions, and visual aesthetics in the rapidly changing Greater China area.

Participating Directors:

Ho Chao-ti
(My Fancy High Heels, 2010)
Tammy Cheung (Rice Distribution, 2003, and Speaking Up 2, 2007)
Lee Ching-hui (City of Memories, 2007, and Money and Honey, 2011)
Shi Tou (Women 50 Minutes, 2006)
Miao Wang (Beijing Taxi, 2010)
Feng Yan (Bing Ai, 2007)
Director Biographies

These Chinese women directors have made some of the most important and influential documentaries of the past decade on issues relating to the female self, sexuality, social migrations and transformations, and history. The symposium will explore these and other issues.

Participating Scholars:

Hongwei Bao, Assistant Professor, Nottingham Trent University
Sylvia Lin, Associate Professor of Literature, University of Notre Dame
Tze-lan Sang, Associate Professor of Chinese Literature, University of Oregon
Qin Shao, Professor of History, The College of New Jersey
Shiyu Louisa Wei, Associate Professor, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong
Lu Xinyu, Professor of Journalism, Fudan University

Films  screened:

Speaking Up2, 2007 (directed by Tammy Cheung)
Rice Distribution, 2003 (directed by Tammy Cheung)
Beijing Taxi, 2010 (directed by Miao Wang) > Trailer
Bing Ai, 2007 (directed by Feng Yan)
My Fancy High Heels, 2010 (directed by Ho Chao-ti) > Trailer
Money and Honey, 2011 (directed by Lee Ching-hui) > Trailer
City of Memories, 2007 (directed by Lee Ching-hui)
Women 50 Minutes, 2006 (directed by Shi Tou)

Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, Year of China, Cogut Center for the Humanities, East Asian Studies, Malcolm S. Forbes Center for Culture and Media Studies, Modern Culture and Media, Office of International Affairs

Innovative Development of China's Future Economy
December 6, 2011, Brown University

Yinxing Hong
Chancellor, Nanjing University
Professor of Economics, Nanjing University Business School

Sponsored by the Year of China, in collaboration with the Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance, the Watson Institute, the Office of International Affairs, and the Department of Economics.

Film Screening of Forever Enthralled

Performance and the Politics of Gender - Transgender Performance in Contemporary Chinese Film
December 1-2, 2011, Brown University

Chengzhou He
Professor of English and Drama, Nanjing University
Associate Director, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanjing University

Modern China from Socio-economic and Transcultural Perspectives
June 12, 2010, Brown University






The development of modern China is intrinsically linked to social transformations, regional reconfigurations, global markets, and transnational cultural communications. Scholars from China’s Nanjing University will engage in critical dialogues with American scholars on issues related to gender, the environment, economics, and transcultural exchanges.

Huamin Peng
Professor of Sociology, Nanjing University
The Experience of Unemployment and Registered Long-term Unemployment in China: A Gender Perspective
Discussant: John Logan, Professor of Sociology, Brown University

Junya Ma
Professor of History, Nanjing University
A Sacrificed Local Interest:  Water-Control Decisions and the Social Economic Conditions of Modern Huabei, 1580-1949
Discussant:  Peter Perdue, Professor of History, Yale University

Hong Huang
Professor of French Literature and Gender Studies, Nanjing University
A Critical Survey of Translation and Reception of 20th Century French Literature in China
Discussant: Gretchen Schultz, Associate Professor of French Studies, Brown University

Jun Liu
Professor of Chinese, Nanjing University
Director of the Confucius Institute, Waterloo University, Canada
History, Memory, and Writing: The Imaginary Homeland in Chinese Literature in North America
Discussant: Emma J. Teng, Associate Professor of Chinese Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Yajun Chen
Professor of Western Philosophy, Nanjing University
Pragmatism in China and Chinese Philosophy
Discussant: Paget Henry, Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies, Brown University

Chengzhou He
Professor of English and Drama, Nanjing University
Associate Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences
Co-Director, Nanjing-Brown Joint Program in Gender Studies and the Humanities
Interculturalism in Theater: Western Plays on the Contemporary Chinese Stage
Discussant: Haiping H. Yan, Professor and Director of the Graduate Field in Theatre Studies, Cornell University

Sponsored by the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, the Cogut Center for the Humanities, and East Asian Studies, with generous support from International Affairs, American Civilization, and the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America.

Critical Reflections on Contemporary Chinese Feminist Practice and Gender Studies
June 30 , 2009, Nanjing University

Lingzhen Wang
Associate Professor of East Asian Studies, Brown University

Gender, Modern China and Transnational Humanities Colloquium
March 13, 2009, Brown University
(Left to Right) Amy Dooling, Connecticut College, Haiping H. Yan, Cornell University, Rey Chow, Brown University, Gail Hershatter, University of California, Santa Cruz, Lingzhen Wang, Brown University, Zheng Wang, University of Michigan, Chengzhou He, Nan(Left to Right) Amy Dooling, Connecticut College, Haiping H. Yan, Cornell University, Rey Chow, Brown University, Gail Hershatter, University of California, Santa Cruz, Lingzhen Wang, Brown University, Zheng Wang, University of Michigan, Chengzhou He, Nan

While twentieth-century China has long been described as a century of revolution, Western feminist scholars of China have, over the past twenty years quite dramatically changed their views of the relationship of Chinese women to the revolution, shifting from a fascinated admiration of women’s elevated status in socialist China in the early 1970s to a pronouncement of the failure of the feminist cause in the Chinese communist revolution of the mid-1980s. This radical change in perception has spurred many questions. Was there a gender revolution in China’s long twentieth century? How do we understand the state feminism practiced in the communist revolution and in socialist China? Could Chinese women’s stories and writing help us comprehend revolution and agency differently?

The changing perceptions that sparked such questions have, in turn, stimulated critical reassessments of the ideological and political assumptions underpinning Western feminism itself: feminist scholars worldwide have had to reframe their political and intellectual endeavors in light of the entrenchment of transnational capitalism and international media. Taking into account the long history of globalization and modernity, they have examined, in particular, the complicitous role of feminism in reinforcing power structures in both national and global settings. Challenging the long existing modes of colonialist/neocolonialist and cold-war knowledge production, some feminist scholars have articulated a transnational feminist practice that interrogates universalized concepts of subject, gender, and history and calls for critical attention to historical specificities, local cultural dynamics, and political contingencies in dealing with ever changing and multilevel patriarchal collaborations.

It is in this context that a group of leading scholars gathered at Brown to reassess gender and revolution in modern China, reevaluate different political and feminist legacies, and develop new transnational approaches that take into consideration different cultures, histories, and political significations.

Gaze, Performativity and Gender Trouble in Farewell My Concubine
March 6, 2009, Brown University

Chengzhou He
Cogut Center Distinguished Visiting Fellow
Professor of English and Drama, Nanjing University
Associate Director, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanjing University

From Tie Guniang to Dagonmei: Cultural Representations of Female Labor in
Post-Socialist China

March 6 , 2009, Brown University

Amy Dooling
Associate Professor of Chinese, Connecticut College

The Gendered Dimensions of Nation-Building in Rural Sichuan during World War II: A Local Perspective
February 20, 2009, Brown University

Chris Gilmartin
Professor of History, Northeastern University

International Conference on Gender and Chinese Cinema
June 26-29, Nanjing University

The conference was organized by the Nanjing-Brown Joint Program on Gender Studies and the Humanities and the Department of Drama and Movie Arts at Nanjing University. It was sponsored by the School of Liberal Arts in Chinese, and the the National Center for Modern Chinese Literature at Nanjing University. The conference hosted 150 international scholars, filmmakers, and graduate students.

Has Time Become Space?
June 2008, Institute for Advanced Studies, Nanjing University

Mary Ann Doane
Visiting Distinguished Chair (Huaying Lecture Professorship)
George Hazard Crooker Professor of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University

The mechanical and electronic representation of time has, along with other factors, made time subject to a form of representation--highly reproducible, easy to transmit globally--that has undeniably transformed its status and effects. Theorists and philosophers from Henri Bergson to Fredric Jameson have argued that the process of spatializing time is characteristic of modernity and/or postmodernity, producing a loss in which the experience of time as duration, flow, historicity, is replaced by the quantification or mathematization of time and hence its transformation into a static, spatial, divisible entity.  What can this mean in relation to a time-based medium such as the cinema?  Doane's lecture placed the cinema in its various forms in relation to the “spatialization of time” thesis. Through a concentration on the figure of the filmic ellipsis (and its exaggeration in the movie trailer) and an analysis of work in or about cinema by Hiroshi Sugimoto, Tsai Ming-Liang, and Jim Campbell, she explored a crisis in and around the commodification of time in a culture characterized by intensive and extensive mediation.

Symposium on Feminist Theory and Gender Studies
June 24-25, 2008, Institute for Advanced Studies, Nanjing University

Scholars explored questions pertaining to Gender Studies and the Humanities through an international frame during this two-day symposium, which was attended by scholars from Brown University, Nanjing University, and nearby institutions. Presentations included:

  • "Spectatorship, Subjectivity, and Feminist Theory" - Mary Ann Doane
  • "Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women:  Theoretical Challenges" - Elizabeth Weed
  • "Transnational Feminism and Its Implications for Gender Studies in Contemporary China" - Lingzhen Wang
  • "From Film to Television:  Journeys in Feminist Media Studies" - Lynne Joyrich
  • "Narration, Nation, and the Politics of Redress in China and Japan" - Yukiko Koga
  • "The Humanities and the Human Condition" - Michael Steinberg
  • "Studying Areas, Studying Gender" - Kerry Smith
  • "From Chinese to Chinese Americans:  The Modernity of Gish Jen's Women" - Hong Fang
  • "Gender and Cultural Globalization" - Yihong Jin
  • "On Feminist Expression in Computer-Mediated-Communication" - Lei Wang
  • ""From Collapse to Rebuilding: Studies of Gender Relationships in Twentieth-Century Chinese Literature" - Jun Liu
  • "Discourse Strategies of Twentieth-Century Chinese Women's Fiction" - Lixin Yang
  • "Second Thoughts on Female Subjectivity" - Xuehong Dai
  • "Reconsidering Gender and Modernity in the Cross-Cultural Context" - Chengzhou He