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Monday, March 6, 2023 at 4:45pm to 6:15pm
Goldwin Smith Hall, GSH64 Kaufman Auditorium
232 East Ave, Central Campus
Her Voice: Recounting Japanese Military Sexual Slavery in Chinese Literature and Film
Xian Wang (East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Notre Dame)
During World War II, hundreds of thousands of young women across Asia were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military as so-called “comfort women.” Long after the end of the war, the victims of the “comfort women” system remained silent due to social and
political pressure that stigmatized raped women as unchaste and viewed them as shameful traces of national pain. Since Kim Hak-sun, a Korean victim, first broke the silence in 1991, more voices have emerged. However, Chinese victims’ voices remain mostly unheard by the wider public beyond Asia.
This talk examines the voices of “comfort women” as a motif in Chinese wartime literature in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as recent documentary films Thirty Two (2013) and Twenty Two (2015), which focus on the daily lives of the dwindling number of “comfort women”
survivors in China. This talk explores how personal testimonials of “comfort women” can be included in collective memory and how women’s wartime sufferings can be remembered within
and without a nationalist framework.
Engendering China is the theme of the Cornell Contemporary China Initiative spring '23 lecture series hosted by faculty member, Yue (Mara) Du (History, Cornell), and the series corresponds to the course of the same name that she is teaching (Engendering China: CAPS2932, ASIAN 2291, FGSS 2932, HIST 2932).
In contemporary China, as in many other places of the world, the ideology and social reality of gender relations are highly paradoxical. Women are flattered for their power as consumers and commitment to the family while they are also expected to engage in wage-earning employment. Men, on the other hand, face the constant pressure of being tough and social problems such as skewed gender ratio and costly betrothal gifts as unintended consequences of a gender regime that is supposedly male-oriented. Are these paradoxes a betrayal of the socialist experiment of erasing gender differences? Are they remnants of China’s long imperial tradition? The series and course explore the power dynamics of gender relations in China from ancient times to the present.
Along with the East Asia Program, this lecture series is co-sponsored by the Department of Asian Studies, Cornell Center for Social Sciences, Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Department of History, ILR School's Global Labor Institute, The Levinson China and Asia Pacific Studies Program, and Cornell's Society for the Humanities.
This event is primarily in person. If you need to attend virtually, please register in advance.
Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, ILR School, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, The Society for the Humanities, Asian Studies, Sociology, East Asia Program, History
East Asian Languages and Cultures, Notre Dame University
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