The Global White Snake
Thursday November 12, 2020
6-7:30 p.m. PST/9-10:30 p.m. EST
In the Chinese legend of the White Snake, woman is not seduced by the snake but is herself the snake, who would form a sexual liaison with a human male, and, in some versions, even give birth to a human son. Originating as a very local legend on the deadly dangers of seduction and infatuation, the story grew into one of China’s most popular love stories that allowed its adapters past and present to explore all possibilities of the relations between the sexes. The Global White Snake foregrounds the Chinese White Snake legends and their extensive, multidirectional travels throughout East Asia, as well as in Southeast Asia and North America, from the late nineteenth century to the present, in print, on stage, in cinema and in digital media. Such travels across linguistic and cultural boundaries have generated distinctive traditions as the White Snake has been reinvented in the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and English-speaking worlds, among others. Moreover, the inter-Asian voyages and global circulations of the White Snake legends have enabled them to become repositories of diverse and complex meanings for a great number of people, serving as reservoirs for polyphonic expressions ranging from the attempts to consolidate authoritarian power to the celebrations of minority rights and activism, which are key issues confronting our contemporary world today.
About the Speaker:
Liang Luo is an Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Kentucky. She is the author of The Avant-Garde and the Popular in Modern China (University of Michigan Press, 2014) and The Global White Snake (University of Michigan Press, 2021). She is working on a new book and documentary project, Profound Propaganda: The International Avant-Garde and Modern China.