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Durham University

School of Modern Languages & Cultures

Events in Modern Languages & Cultures

New Woman and Urban Space in Chinese Cinema, 1921-1949

16th October 2019, 10:00 to 11:00, ER207, Jianhua Chen, Fudan University, China


There are numerous splendid representations of “new woman” in Chinese cinema in the Republican era, remaining a legacy for our reflection. As symbolizing Chinese modernities there were different types of new woman such as good wife and loving mother, revolutionary warrior, or independent career woman. This lecture will examine the films A String of Pears, New Woman, Cross Roads, and Modern Woman from the perspective of urban spaces. Mediated by streets, urban architecture, the trolleybus and boudoir, these films represented, ideologically and aesthetically, new women’s aspiration and struggle for happy family, new nation-state, or independent career.


Jianhua Chen received his PhD degrees in Chinese Literature from Fudan University, China and Harvard University, USA. He is emeritus professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and currently Chair Professor at the Institute of Chinese Classics Studies, Fudan University, China. His publications include Revolution and Form: Mao Dun’s Early Novels and Chinese Literary Modernity (Brill, 2018), “D. W. Griffith and the Rise of Chinese Cinema in Early 1920s Shanghai,” and other books and articles on literary modernity, popular literature, print culture, and cinema from early modern to contemporary China.