Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (June 24 - July 26) :
Yujing Chen’s research project will be carried out as an exploration of how China’s economic, political and urban transformations informed the subjects of Chinese cinema; and how this filmography in turn documented and interpreted the transformation of China’s cultural identity. A rising world super power, China—a historically agricultural civilization—has started to identify primarily with the city. Shanghai was not only China’s first modernized city, but also the pioneer of Chinese cinematic practice. Though Shanghai’s prosperity has long been criticized as a residual of Western imperialism and culture appropriation, Chen believes that the city’s cultural identity, especially in its cinematic representation, is an organic fusion of the indigenous and the foreign which continues to inform and influence China’s modern identity at large. In his research, he hopes to trace Shanghai’s history along side the evolution of Chinese cinema. Considering those themes side by side, he will attempt to map a genealogy of Chinese cultural identity and try to induce what its current representation in cinema should be in this globalized world.