This presentation examines the role of mirrors, adorned with images of revolutionary heroes from the ‘model works’ (yangbanxi), in the production of Cultural Revolution (1966-76) subjectivities. I argue that these mirrors inscribe the gazer within a system of remediation—and, by extension, an economy of signification—that renders her body alienable and consumable. A testament to the dream of a unitary, communist subject, the model in the mirror paradoxically facilitates a kind of body snatching that gives the lie to the fantasy of inalienability.
Laurence Coderre is a postdoctoral fellow in the study of China at the University of Michigan’s Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies. She received a Ph.D. in Modern Chinese Literature from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015. Her research focuses primarily on the literature and material culture of the Mao and post-Mao periods. She is currently revising a book manuscript on remediation and socialist commodity production in the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Her recent articles have appeared in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture and Journal of Chinese Cinemas. Additional research interests include socialist realism, postsocialism, and disability studies.
Laurence Coderre, LRCCS Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Michigan