top of page




CGED Research Seminar Series

Framing a Socialist Face: Women in Mao-era Photography

Framing a Socialist Face: Women in Mao-era Photography

Speaker: Professor Nicole Huang, Professor and Chairperson, Department of Comparative Literature, HKU

Respondent: Dr. Vivian Sheng, Assistant Professor, Department of Fine Arts, HKU

Date: Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Time: 5:00pm – 6:30pm

Venue: Rm 4.36, 4/F, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

This talk focuses on the photographic portraiture as a key genre of image production in Mao-era China. In the vast visual output of the period, a socialist subject emerged as both politically mobilized and distinctively Chinese. The spectacular revolutionary model ballet, for instance, showcased how a socialist body became gendered, politicized, aestheticized, and set to motion. If the body can be tempered, what about the human face? Huang draws examples from the works of women photojournalists active during the period to argue that the socialist face was gendered, disciplined, and refashioned along with the revolutionized body. 

Professor Nicole Huang received her PhD in East Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of California, Los Angeles, and taught at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, for 17 years before joining the University of Hong Kong as Professor of Comparative Literature. Her early work focused on literature, visual, and auditory manifestations of human agencies through extraordinary times. Her current research engages social use of photographic portraiture in Mao-era China. At HKU, Huang teaches courses on literature, film, media culture, and critical theory. 

Dr. Vivian Sheng is Assistant Professor in the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Hong Kong. She teaches courses on Chinese contemporary art, global feminist art history and transnational art and visual culture. Before taking her position at the University of Hong Kong, she was a lecturer in modern and contemporary art history and theory at the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester, UK. 

bottom of page