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CGED Research Seminar Series

Book Talk — Televising Chineseness: Gender, Nation and Subjectivity


Speaker: Geng Song, Associate Professor, School of Chinese, HKU

Respondent: Alvin K. Wong, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Comparative Literature, School of Humanities, HKU

Moderator: Angie Baecker, Lecturer, Department of Art History, School of Humanities, HKU

Date: 8 December 2021 (Wednesday)

Time: 5:00 PM

Delivery: via Zoom

Zoom recording available here.

Publication information available here.

The talk introduces the speaker’s new book Televising Chineseness: Gender, Nation and Subjectivity (University of Michigan Press, 2022). In particular, it addresses a conspicuous paradox in Chinese popular culture today – the coexistence between an increasing diversity of gender presentations and a revival of patriarchy. By focusing on the popular subgenre of “overbearing CEOs”– revamped Cinderella stories that normalizes the male protagonists who patronize and the female protagonists who organize their behaviors to ultimately deserve that patronage, the talk explores the roles played by gender hierarchy and ideals in a new mode of governance in today’s China. Stories promoting women’s agency as part and parcel of postsocialist modernity paradoxically end up reinforcing the patriarchal gender order. Drawing on first-hand data collected through interviews and focus group discussions with audiences comprising viewers of different ages, genders, and educational backgrounds, Televising Chineseness sheds light on how television culture relates to the power mechanisms and truth regimes that shape the understanding of gender and the construction of gendered subjects in postsocialist China.

Geng Song teaches in the School of Chinese at the University of Hong Kong. He has written extensively on issues such as men and masculinities in China, Chinese television and Chinese nationalism. Among his publications are The Fragile Scholar: Power and Masculinity in Chinese Culture (2004); Men and Masculinities in Contemporary China (co-author, 2014); Chinese Television in the Twenty-First Century (co-editor, 2015); and The Cosmopolitan Dream: Transnational Chinese Masculinities in a Global Age (co-editor, 2018). He co-edits a book series on “Transnational Asian Masculinities” for Hong Kong University Press.

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