China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
Eileen Chang shot to literary stardom during World War II but continued to write in the subsequent decades. In fact, other than her first few short fiction and essay collections, the bulk of her work, including novels, screenplays, adaptations and translations, was mostly created in the political and cultural milieu of the long Cold War period. Reassessing the relationship between Chang’s oeuvre and the Cold War context is thus crucial to deepening our understanding of this iconic writer. As the year 2020 marks Chang’s 100th birth anniversary, this panel takes the occasion to shed light on the following understudied areas: Chang’s ecocritical imagination of the territory of China during a time of political conflict and division (Joe Liew), Chang’s projection of an upbeat, cosmopolitan Hong Kong onscreen through the film scripts she wrote for MP&GI in contrast to the enclosed China she depicted in The Rouge of the North (Xiaojue Wang), Chang’s tactful and subversive appropriations of disparate Communist and capitalist popular cultures for creating the socialist novel Eighteen Springs (Tze-Lan Sang), and Chang’s traversing multiple political and cultural systems through annotating and translating the Wu-dialect novel Flowers of Shanghai (Shuang Shen). Together, the presenters explore Chang's resourcefulness and resilience as a writer negotiating shifting Cold War politics and intersecting cultural forces. Nicole Huang, a highly respected Eileen Chang scholar, will respond to the presentations.