An Indian Outcast in Reform China: Hindi Film and the Chinese Imagination of Global Culture Post-Mao

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Friday, February 28th, 2020

Friday, February 28, 20204:00PM - 6:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place, Toronto, ON, M5S 3K7
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East Asian Seminar Series

The late 1970s and early ‘80s saw a Chinese craze for Indian films. Members of the generation that came of age in this time have such fond memories of the foreign and exotic Hindi films that many Indian visitors to China are still serenaded with songs from the handful of films that were screened in that period. This talk examines India’s symbolic role in China’s post Cultural Revolution healing, looking especially at the discourse around popular Hindi films such as Caravan, Noorie, and Awara. The contemporary rethinking of the 1980s in China serves as the larger framework of the talk, emphasizing how the India craze of the early 1980s challenges how 21st century scholars see 1985 as marking China’s entry to “world culture.” Looking at Hindi film in the 1980s interrogates the ways in which “the west” can come to symbolize “the world” in contemporary Chinese cultural studies.

Krista Van Fleit is Associate Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of Asian Studies at the University of South Carolina. Her first book, Literature the People Love, examines culture from the Early Maoist Period, providing a new interpretive framework with which to approach texts from this time. She is currently writing a book titled Bollywood to Beijing: Film Exchange and Cultural Production in China and India.


Krista Van Fleit
Associate Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of Asian Studies, University of South Carolina

Anup Grewal
Assistant Professor, Department of Historical and Cultural Studies, University of Toronto, Scarborough

Tong Lam
Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Toronto

Main Sponsor

Asian Institute

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