Institute for Gender Studies,Ochanomizu University

Dai Jinhua

Professor, Institute of Comparative Literature
and Comparative Culture at Peking University, China
Visiting Professor at the Institute for Gender Studies, Ochanomizu University(10-12/2003)

The 14th IGS Evening Seminar Series

Women, Migration, and the Politics of Reproductive Labor


October 27, November 6,12,19,26 2003


Dai Jinhua

Professor, Institute of Comparative Literature
and Comparative Culture at Peking University, China
Visiting Professor at the Institute for Gender Studies, Ochanomizu University


The Institute for Gender Studies (IGS) of Ochanomizu University has invited Professor Dai Jinhua (professor of Institute of Comparative Literature and Comparative Culture at Peking University) as a visiting professor starting from September through December, 2003. Professor Dai's research started with comparative literature and culture in China in the 1980's and is highly regarded for her contribution to serious feminist literary criticism and film criticism. As a groundbreaking work in feminist analysis of Chinese literature, her "Emerging from the Horizon of History" (1989), coauthored with Men Yue, was awarded the Chinese Philosophy and Social Science Award in 1994. She has recently established a research style that clearly and skillfully articulates a gender perspective on the multiple relations of race, class, ideology and culture. In "Breaking Out of the Mirrored City: Woman, Film, and Literature" (1999), Professor Dai, as she recounts how she found her way in her research in the 1980s and 1990s, points out that the main problems of today are problems of commercialization and the power of the media, and suggests that there is a possibility of a new Chinese Studies. In "Cinema and Desire: Feminist Marxism and Culture Politics in the Work of Dai Jinhua" (2002), she suggests a future direction for film criticism through a discussion of film directors of "the fifth generation" and "the sixth generation" who criticize the Cultural Revolution generation.

In her three-month stay in Japan, Professor Dai expresses a strong desire to have dialogues with people living in Asia, focusing on the current situation of the post-Cold War era.

The IGS has planned a five-seminar series inviting a variety of panelists under the theme of "The Gendered 'China' as seen in Chinese Cinema: Cultural Politics of the Post-Cold War Era" We will host the evening seminars as described below. The seminars will be open to the public and participants both affiliated and unaffiliated with the university are welcome.

The 14th evening seminar organizing committee
Secretariat: AKIBAYASHI Kozue, HASEGAWA Kazumi


1.First screening (October 27): 4:30--6:00 p.m.
"The Goddess" 1934 China. Directed and screenplay by Wu Yonggang
2. Second screening (November 6): 4:15--6:00 p.m.
"Woman Demon Human" 1987 China. Directed and screenplay by Huang ShuQin
3. Third screening (November 12): 4:00--6:05 p.m.
"Raise the Red Lantern" 1991 Hong Kong/China. Directed by Zhang Yimou.
4. Fourth screening (November 19): 4:30--6:00 p.m.
"Beautiful Mother" 1999 China. Directed by Sun Zhou.
5. Fifth screening (November 26): 3:00--6:00 p.m.
"Jingke Killing Qing King" 1998
Collaboration of Japan, China, France, U.S. Directed by Chen Kaige

Profile of panelists

SHIRAI Keisuke (Professor at Bunkyo University)
His research includes modern Chinese plays " " and "The Techniques of Expression in Plays in the Historical Development and Formation of the Character of Chinese Films." He has written subtitles for prominent Chinese films, including "Old Well," "Hibiscus Town," "Red Sorghum," "The Day the Sun Turned Cold," and "On the Beat" as well as many articles that introduced Chinese films to Japan.

SAITO Ayako (Associate professor at Meiji Gakuin University)
Her research areas include film theory, film history and women's film criticism. In particular, she investigates films and the institutions of films, based on ideas of feminism, psychoanalysis and gender/sexuality. She co-edited "Shin Eiga Riron Shusei 1 (Theories of Film: A New Anthology vol.1)" (1998), in which she translated and interpreted Laura Mulvey's "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema " and Teresa de Lauretis's "Rethinking Women's Cinema :Aesthetics and Feminist Theory " She also co-authored "Endless Night, Cinema and Psychoanalysis, Parallel Histories" (1999), "Eiga Joyu Wakao Ayako (Movie Actress Ayako Wakao)" (2003) and "Eiga no Seijigaku (Political Science of Film)," among others.

MIZUTA Noriko (President of Josai International University)
Her research areas are Japan-U.S. comparative literature and feminist literature criticism, and self-expression of Japanese and American women. She wrote "Hiroin Kara Hiro e (From Heroin to Hero)" (1992), "Josei no Jikohyogen to Bunka (Women's Self-expression and Culture)" (1993), co-authored "Yamanbatachi no Monogatari (Story of Old Mountain Witch)" (2002), and translated E. Ann Kaplan's "Women and film: both sides of the camera." (1985) and "Women in Film Noir" (1988), among others. Currently Mizuta serves as the president of Josai International University and the head of the Institute for Gender & Women's Studies.

TAKAHASHI Tetsuya (Professor at University of Tokyo)
His research areas include Jacques Derrida and deconstruction, phenomenology and politics of speech of the history and memory of wars and genocides, and the theory of justice and just war theory in political philosophy. His publications include "Kioku no Echika (Ethica of memory)," "<Shoah> no Shogeki (Impacts of Shoah)" (1995), "Sengo Sekinin Ron (Problems of Postwar Responsibility)" (1999), "Rekishi/shusei Shugi (History/Revisionism)" (2001). In his latest book "Kokoro to Senso (Mind and Wars)" (2003) he analyzes the ideas of national strategies that form the basis of the present time.

SAKAMOTO Hiroko (Professor at Hitotsubashi University)
Her research concerns identity politics in modern China (ethnicity and gender) and cultural history of ideas in China. Confronting the issues of nationalism of Japan, China and Korea today, the distortion of Orientalism as transferred from Europe and North America, and globalism, she raised new issues in the papers and the "general forum" as a member of the editorial board of the eight volumes of "Ajia Shinseiki (New Century in Asia)" to create a space for criticism to foster the coexistence of Asian countries.

Introduction to the Evening Seminars
Dai Jinhua

In the five evening seminars I will introduce, by using film scripts, the process of drastic changes in Chinese society and of changes in gender relationship during the last 20 years of the 20th century and discuss how the role of gender has been utilized as social rhetoric. I will propose my own thoughts on feminist and gender theories of Europe and America by considering the changes in Chinese society and changes in gender narratives in film scripts in those 20 years. Also, by placing this discussion in the context of globalization, post-Cold War and post-socialism, I will show the topography of class, gender, and ethnicity, and the phase of social practice that emerges or is hidden in this context, and reconsider the value of feminism and gender theory as intellectual resources in today's world.

1. Stories of "Women"-A History of Drastic Changes

In the first lecture I will make an overview of the history of women's liberation in the 20th century China by discussing representative films in the history of Chinese films such as "The Goddess", "New Women", "Spring in a Small City", "Red Women's Army Corps", "Li Shuangshuang", "Small Street", and so on. In addition, from the perspective of gender studies, I will explore the process of formation and change in Chinese women's culture and gender narratives in films. To be more concrete, by looking at the changes in the roles given to women and the depiction of such roles, as "A Doll's House", "Enslaved Mother", and "The Puzzlement of New Women," women warriors, and retrospection of a bygone great era, I hope to see through and clarify the drastically changing Chinese society and history. I will argue that there are two important basic assumptions for examining the history of the women's liberation movement and the gender situation in society in China. First, the women's liberation movement occurred at the same time as China's modernization, and male intellectuals and politicians consistently played a significant and special role in the movement. Secondly, the women's liberation movement is interlinked with social change in China, and for that reason, is closely related to the changes of world conditions in the transition from cold war to post cold war. Therefore, the "stories of women" in the 20th century and in 20th century Chinese films are not only one aspect of this drastically changing history, but also important means for writing (anew) such a history. Feminism and the gender theory that originated in Europe and America offer us a number of valuable new perspectives to look at and think about such history. However, such history itself also challenges and supplements European and American feminist theories.

2. Stories of "Acting"---Struggles of the Female Subject

In this seminar, I will assess the survival of women in modern society and the difficulties confronted by women as the female subject through my analysis of the image of the "woman warrior" that have infiltrated popular cultural history and Chinese film history; "Youth in the Midst of War," a representative films of the socialist period; "Woman, Demon, Human", a representative women's film; and Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." I will try to approach gender roles in modern society and "acting" from three sides. First, I will investigate the views of gender in traditional Chinese society from the image of the "woman warrior" in films and popular culture, while at the same time considering the tradition of the female protagonist well-versed in martial arts () in the classical theater, especially Peking operas. I will continue with a discussion of how the views of gender roles were modernized and westernized, the process of changes in the relations between gender and power, and the social functions and position of women who, as the "agent/actor" and executor of justice in the image of the "woman warrior," occupied the space of culture and story. I will argue that this image differs from the image of women in Euro-American culture and discuss the borrowing and the strategic use of similar representation of women in Chinese patriarchal society. Next, I will discuss the gender order and the multiple roles "acted" out and "performed", in my analysis of the cultural representation of women's survival under socialism and the tense relationship between women's full liberation and the consolidation of the patriarchal order. Moreover, connecting the reality of Chinese society and culture, and connecting the analysis of the film "Woman, Demon, Human," I will examine "the state of Fa Mu Lan," where the modern woman/new woman/liberated woman is positioned, i.e. in the acting of a male role. Through these discussion, I hope to show the predicament of the female subject and the space and limit of women's subjectivity.

3. Stories of the "Other"---Subject, Identity, and Gender.

At the third meeting, I will focus on the women in works by male directors in the last 20 years of the 20th century, discussing how women as "the other"-the other of the male ego, the ego of the other-express the process of construction/reconstruction of men's social subjectivity and the new mainstream ideology. First, I will turn my attention to China's "new period"-the process of the reconstruction of patriarchal order accompanying the progress of reform and the process of "the re-writing of women" in societal culture. Through the analysis of the representative works of the so-called "fourth generation" movie directors, I will discus how the image of women becomes the "mask" of men's political rebellion and cultural criticism, and how it is used to express the male subject's reception of political violence and the loss of subjectivity. How does the male subject borrow the beautiful but tragic female image to imagine and construct a new relationship between himself and political power, society, and so on? Next, using as a starting point for analysis the movies by the fifth-generation directors like Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige (in particular, "Raise the Red Lantern," "Farewell, My Concubine"), I will examine how, in the context of post-cold war and globalization and in the midst of the multiple ideological constraints and demands of government/non-government, the East/the West, China/the world, Tradition/Modern, Art/Market, Rebellion/Compliance, and so on, male intellectuals and artists in China use new narratives and gender strategy to affirm and re-write their own cultural identity and their subject position. On the one hand, they portray women as the ego's "other", and on the other hand, they have accepted what can be called as the other's ego in the process of internalizing the Euro-American gaze of the East or China. Whether self-consciously or reluctantly, they have assumed the position of "women" in the power structure of "ethnicity". This is a story of "the other" in the western gaze-the fable of the Orient or socialism, or the story of the other in the imagination of the power/rebellion of the male subject-woman, or the victim and accomplice of the violence of history.

4. Story within a "Story"--- Gender and Class in the Post-Socialism Era.

In the fourth seminar, from Chinese movies made in the 1990s ("Rouge and Power", "Beautiful Mother", "Nice and Warm Summer"), I will discuss the process of the rapid change to capitalism-privatization, or market economy, globalization-in the mid to late 1990s. Such a process appeared directly in the form of the redistribution of property and restructuration of classes. In this highly brutal process of the division of classes in reality, "women" were chosen as the right group to be the victims of society. However, in the midst of the multiple axes of China/ "the world," cold war/post cold war, "progress"/ "setback," city/village, discussions related to women and gender completely disappeared. In movies and popular culture, gender, as an immensely effective rhetoric, concealed process of the rapidly expanding increase in the gap between the rich and the poor. One reason for this is that the post-socialist regime, in directing all of their energies to pushing capitalism, made any talks concerning the legitimacy of the socialist rule into a taboo and avoided any talks about class, consequently establishing gender as a "euphemistic" social rhetoric. On the one hand, women and the description of women gradually were integrated in to the story of a new mainstream ideology, the filmic _criture of women, and the lowest social stratum brought forth the reality of the classes division in Chinese society to the surface. Through the description and discussion of the drastically changing reality of Chinese society in the 1990s, by raising and re-questioning the familiar themes of gender and classes, I hope to consider the function and role of ideology and "grand narrative" in the context of post-structuralism and post-modernism.

5. Stories of "Men"-- Power of the Post-Cold War Era and Gender Identity in Historical Descriptions.

In the fifth seminar, I will analyze three movies about the assassination of Qingshihuang (the first emperor) by renowned directors ("Qing Song" directed by Zhou Xiao Wen, "Jingke Killing Qing King" directed by Chen Kaige and "Hero" directed by Zhang Yimou), and look at the changes in the power structure of in Chinese society in the context of the new century. Stepping into the process of globalization, and accompanied by the progress of a sweeping economic development, China gradually confronted the deepening internal social problems and became situated in a delicate position in the new international situation, and the re-unification of the conservative political forces particular to Chinese society arose (of course, in the world where the dualisms such as progress/setback, reform/conservation, leftwing/rightwing have been lost, in the specific circumstances, one has to define the so-called conservative political forces or reactionary forces). At the same time the market, multinational capital, the nouveau riche unite with the bureaucratic regime by the name of the communist party and form power and interest groups, the division within the intelligentsia in China deepened. Quite a few Chinese intellectuals (including artists) of the 1980s gradually began to abandon their critical attitude. Talks about the "rebellious son" attacking the patriarchal society, a typical social rhetoric of the 1980s, slowly began to disappear. Male artists no longer carried out historical expose and criticism with the help of a female "mask". Rather, they began to define their male identity/"hero" by identifying themselves as a symbol of power and identity. It was not a coincidence that three stories about the assassination of Qingshihuang appeared in the 1990s; they just clearly bring out the process of changes of societal culture and narrative of the time. However, what should be noted is that, while the majority of this type of movies are products of the Chinese movie industry, lying behind this are the international capital and an aim to enter the international market. Therefore, the story of the men in those films takes on the function of the story of "China." This time, in the text of popular culture, including the fact that there is the same tendency in the historical _criture of women, I will talk about the condition of this complex reality. In the totally new context of globalization, I hope to explore anew the significance of feminism as a resource and the space of possible social criticism.

※This event is finished.

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Institute for Gender Studies,Ochanomizu University
2-1-1 Ohtsuka, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8610, Japan
Phone: 81-3-5978-5846 Fax: 81-3-5978-5845