Forgetting and Othering: Representing the War of Resistance
War narratives are products of both memory and amnesia. Neither remembering nor forgetting is inherently good or bad. However, when it comes to ways of dealing with war past, forgetting is often dismissed as the malignant other of remembering, something that needs to be resisted against. This paper considers the politics of forgetting in war cinema and understands forgetting as a constitutive part that connects war and cinema. By examining the intricate figure of the Other Chinese, the paper discusses the representational strategies of forgetting and othering in a range of Chinese films of the War of Resistance against Japan (1937-1945) produced since the 1950s. The divergence in cinematic representations allows us to reconsider wartime and postwar epistemologies of Asia and China’s changing self-positioning in the region and the globe.
Xiaojue Wang is Associate Professor of Chinese Literature at Rutgers University. She received her Ph.D. degree in Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her research interests are Chinese literature and culture from late imperial to contemporary periods, the cultural Cold War, cultural memories, film and media studies, and comparative literature. She is the author of Modernity with a Cold War Face: Reimagining the Nation in Chinese Literature across the 1949 Divide (Harvard University Asia Center, 2013), which examines the diverse, dynamic cultural practices in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and overseas across the 1949 Chinese divide, and re-positions modern Chinese literature in the global context of the Cold War. She is currently finishing her second book on the prominent woman writer Eileen Chang and the concept of literature in the making of Chinese modernity.
Her official website: http://asianstudies.rutgers.edu/menu-i/fbaos/41-faculty/faculty-profiles/573-xiaojue-wang