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LRCCS Interdisciplinary Workshop Series |Universal Disorder: Utopianism, Anarchism and the Aesthetics of Early Chinese Leftism in the Shidai Manhua, 1934-1937

Joe Cacese, MIRS Student, Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies
Monday, February 20, 2023
12:00-1:30 PM
Room 447 Weiser Hall Map
In 1934, a prominent group of Shanghai artists formed the Shidai manhua (Modern Sketch), a manhua publication that would prove to be one of the most eclectic, radical, and bizarre periodicals that would grace Shanghai's flourishing print culture scene during the republican period. Recent research on manhua periodicals during the Republican period has highlighted its shift from an eccentric and "vulgar" form of art that primarily focused on the cultural fads of Shanghai during the time, to a left-wing publication that found a place in the battle for national salvation against imperialism. Yet, there has been very little research that has critically engaged with the contents of manhua's most popular and successful periodical by far, the Shidai manhua (1934-1937). This presentation will highlight one of the major motifs present within the manhua community reflected within the Shidai manhua, that of an anarcho-utopian belief primarily influenced by the Confucio-Buddhist ideologies of Chinese nationalists and literati such as Kang Youwei, Tan Sitong, Zhang Binglin (Zhang Taiyan), and Cai Yuanpei. As this presentation will highlight, manhua became an artistic method of preserving and highlighting the national essence (guocui) of Chinese intellectual thought while combating imperialism, by blending Western ideas such as anarchism with traditional forms of Chinese ideology and art, like that of the nascent manhua which evolved on the streets of Republican Shanghai.

Joe Cacese is currently a second year MIRS (Masters in International and Regional Studies) student at U-M Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies. He came from Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2019 where he researched early Chinese leftism during the republican period in manhua outlets, focusing on how women's bodies were used by leftist artists to critique capitalism and imperialism in republican Shanghai. His recent research looks at the influences of Confucianism, Buddhism, and anarchism on the Shanghai manhua art community, particularly in the Shidai Manhua (Modern Sketch) periodical, 1934-1937.

Please register for this in-person workshop here:

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Workshop / Seminar
Tags: Asia, china
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies