Oxford Seminar on Visual Culture in Modern and Contemporary China
The Battle of Images: The Sino-Hollywood Negotiation
Ying ZHU, City University of New York and Hong Kong Baptist University
Tuesday 23 November 2021, 5pm
HYBRID EVENT: In-person venue: University of Oxford China Centre, Kin-ku Cheng Lecture Theatre; or to attend online (via Zoom), please register here
Hollywood dominated the Chinese film market during China’s Republic era, triggering a mixture of fascination and resistance. The Communist victory in 1949 and the outbreakof the Korean War in 1950 led to an official ban on Hollywood imports by the PRC government in 1950.China’sfilm market reopened to Hollywoodin 1994 amidst China’s declining domestic output and theatre attendance. Hollywood has since becomea regular fixturein China, spurringsimultaneously rejection, admiration, emulation, competition and coercion. Rejection and repulsionfor Hollywood’s historical injustice to the China image; admiration and emulation for thesheer allure and market prowess of Hollywood pictures; competition and coercion for Hollywood’s global dominance and a new determination to draft Hollywoodinto serving China’sglobalimage campaign. This talk comparesthe context and terms of Hollywood’s Republic era China triumphto those of its repeated performance in the post-1994 era, and the subsequent expansionof a powerful Chinese film marketto suggest historical contingencies, continuities andchanges in an ongoing Sino-Hollywood dynamic with competing political, cultural and economic interest on and off screen.
Ying ZHU is a faculty member at the City University of New York and Hong Kong Baptist University, and a visiting fellow at the Oriental Institute at the University of Oxford and a visiting professor in the Film Studies Program at Columbia University. The founding editor of Global Storytelling: Journal of Digital and Moving Images, her research areas encompass Chinese cinema and media, Sino-Hollywood relations, and TV drama and online streaming. She has published ten books, including Soft Power with Chinese Characteristics: China’s Campaign for Hearts and Minds (2019) and Two Billion Eyes: The Story of China Central Television (2013). Her first research monograph, Chinese Cinema During the Era of Reform: The Ingenuity of the System (2003) pioneered the industry analysis of Chinese film studios. Her second research monograph, Television in Post-Reform China: Serial Drama, Confucian Leadership and the Global Television Market (2008), together with two edited books – TV China (2009) and TV Drama in China (2008) – pioneered the subfield of Chinese TV drama studies. Her works have been translated into Chinese, Dutch, French, Italian and Spanish.
Zhu is the recipient of a US National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, and a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship. She reviews manuscripts for major publications and evaluates grant proposals for research foundations in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, the UK, Sweden and the US. Her writings have appeared in major academic journals as well as established media outlets such as The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Her new book, Hollywood in China: Behind the Scenes of the World’s Largest Movie Market is forthcoming.