Organized Panel Session
While the Cold War is associated with terms like “iron curtain” or “walls of containment” that suggest rigid demarcations of geopolitical borders, cultural production in Cold War East Asia presents instead a sieve-like landscape where boundaries are constantly punctured and traversed by transnational networks, textual circulations and border crossings. Through the lens of translation, literature, film, and dance networks, this panel explores the complexities of cultural production in Cold War East Asia that are entwined with negotiations of aesthetic traditions, institutional power, and individual agency. Volland focuses on Fu Lei’s translations of Balzac’s works to examine the spectres of a European literary cosmopolitan vision that complicate the debates of socialist literary realism in Cold War China. Tan examines how director Evan Yang rewrites the modern women of 1930s Shanghai modernist literature into cosmopolitan travelers to embody Cold War ideals of transnational mobility, freedom and capitalism. Chung highlights refugee literature in the journal Today’s World to examine how these texts refresh our understanding of Hong Kong’s role as a liminal space and its transgressive potentiality. Wilcox discusses the border-crossing journeys of leftist Korean, diasporic Chinese and Japanese dancers who worked on both sides of the bamboo curtain but were brought together through ties of family, friendship, and politics. Revealing thematic intersections and transnational perspectives that have been obscured by conventional binary approaches in Cold War studies, these papers reinterpret the socialist and capitalist blocs as intertwined and ambivalent cultural spheres, refining our understanding of the Cold War.