Recovering Femininity and Desire: Women and Scar Literature
Graduate Student Colloquium- Jennifer Johnson will be presenting her research in Chinese literature
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
China's Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) saw a negative politicization of women: the feminine, particularly in its sexual functions, was cast as a dangerous distraction from the project of revolution. Even in Scar Literature (shanghen wenxue), the body of works written after the violence of the Cultural Revolution, women often appear as femme fatales alluring men away from their fidelity to the revolution. This paper argues that this lingering toxicity of women's sexuality created an interregnuma stale-mated period of social identity for women writers of the era: the genre of Scar Literature presupposed historical distance and an act of catharsis, while the narratives that first emerged within this genre revived injurious constructions of femininity. Reading women's Scar Literature as narratives of this interregnum illuminates a contentious process of rehabilitating desire and reconstituting gender.