China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
Chinese minority literature is a crucial component in the landscape of modern Chinese literature. Recent research has provided many case studies on elite writers whose works are related to ethnicity. With a different approach, this panel will explore the construction of the post-1949 minority literature as a literary genre through discussing the communications and negotiations among various agents, mainly the state, the Chinese-language writers, and ethnic elite writers.Jing Sun focuses on the original social identity of the early Inner Mongolia writers. As she noted, contrary to the officially stereotyped identity of “born peasants”, these native writers actually defined themselves as the new generation of enlightened and elite intellectuals.Jing Li focuses on the cinema adaptation and reproduction of a Dai ethnic narrative poem Zhao Shutun after 1949. The paper studies the dialogical communication between China’s nation-building project, socialist ideologies, individualized political motivations, and efforts made to preserve ethnic culture. Mark Bender analyzed the work of Wa author Burao Yilu and how a journalistic perspective and personal fieldwork has influenced her prose and poetry in the representation of Wa heritage.Jing Qiu employs a concept of dialectic relationship between cultural nationalism of the state and the awakening ethnic consciousness to examine the formation of Yi poetry movement. She emphasizes a more complicated nature of the identity of contemporary Yi poets: they are both Chinese writers and guardians of Yi tradition, they even engage in NGO activities.The panel will provide an approach to interpret modern Chinese minority literature from a more socially critical perspective.