During the Anti Japanese War (1931-1945), “national emergency” intensified the Chinese nationalists' efforts to control and strengthen the citizen's body through sports and physical education for the purpose of redefining gender ideology for new citizenry and construct a strong militant nation. The Fisher Center predoctoral fellow, Yunxiang Gao, will give a talk on “Cinema, Sports, Gender and Nation State During the Anti-Japanese War from 1931 to 1945” at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 4, in the Fisher Center, Demarest 212. Refreshments will follow.
Nationalistic Chinese of every political stripe recognized the raw power of cinema and illustrated press of the early 1930s, and harnessed these tools for wartime nation building. Using the traditional role of public theater in setting gendered body ideology, nationalists promoted the movie actress Li Lili as an “athletic star” and transformed her sexualized film image into a pure athletic body. As the model of the physically fit woman suitable for China's wartime needs, the increasingly popular “athletic star” in cinema served as a discourse for competing wartime institutional powers in constructing different visions of the strong nation. Later, from 1944 to 1946, Li Lili visited the United States and sought to create new image for herself in a new environment, but had to struggle against the persistent controlling forces constraining her.
The Predoctoral Fellowship is jointly sponsored by the Office of the Provost and Dean of Faculty and The Fisher Center.