Transnational Chinese Cinemas: Identity, Nationhood, Gender

By Sheldon Hsiao-Peng Lu | Go to book overview

Chapter 3 Yingjin Zhang
From "Minority Film" to "Minority Discourse" Questions of Nationhood and Ethnicity in Chinese Cinema

In recent years, cultural critics have returned to the relationship between nationhood and ethnicity with a renewed sense of urgency if not anxiety. This has been, in part, to criticize the established paradigms and epistemes (such as "center-periphery" and "majority-minority") and, in part, to reconfigure the geopolitical space in the contemporary world. This study seeks to investigate the functioning of a set of critical categories -- ethnicity, race, nation-state-as well as other related terms, such as nation-people, nationalism, state discourse, cultural hegemony, and subjectivity, in the field of Chinese cinema. Proceeding from "minority film" (shaoshu minzu dianying) as a special genre in Mainland China to "minority discourse" as a critical practice in New Chinese Cinema,1 I will demonstrate that the categories of the nation and ethnicity have been put to use through a complex process of negotiation in Chinese cinema from the early 1920s to the present. Two levels of such negotiation can be differentiated at this point: the level of filmic discourse (i.e., film narrative and narration) and the level of critical discourse (i.e., film theory and criticism). I shall start with the second level so as to identify issues of crucial importance and then return to the first level by way of reading a number of films that illuminate these issues.


Theoretical Excursions: Race or Ethnicity?

Chris Berry published an article in which he equates minzu, an ambiguous Chinese term, with "race," an extremely loaded English term. By insisting on equivalents such as "race characteristics" for minzu tedian, "race form" for minzu xingshi, "race-ization" for minzuhua, "race color" for minzu fengge, and "racial minority" for shaoshu minzu, he attempts a deconstructive reading of minzu that has resulted in, unfortunately, not so much a clarification as a conflation of several distinct categories in Chinese film studies.2 While Berry is certainly correct in identifying "sinocentrism," which he would rather term "race-centrism," in post-1949 Chinese film, what he sees as "race-

-81-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Transnational Chinese Cinemas: Identity, Nationhood, Gender
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 418

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.