University of Nottingham Ningbo China
School of
International Studies
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Towards a Visual History of Occupation in wartime China: Tracing the Visual culture(s) of the Wang Jingwei regime, 1940-1945 

Abstract:This presentation provides a basic overview of the visual culture that developed in occupied east and south China under the Wang Jingwei regime, from 1940 to 1945. It will explore how this regime maintained significant autonomy in the field of cultural production despite the restrictions of occupation, and managed to graft tropes, symbols and techniques developed in Manchukuo, earlier occupation 'puppet regimes', Japan, the Soviet Union and pre-war Republican China onto its own visual culture -- with varying degrees of success. However, the paper will also explore how this regime ultimately struggled to maintain a coherent narrative in the rapidly changing context of the war, especially following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Conceptually, the paper will suggest that a renewed focus on cultural production and visual culture might prompt current scholarship on collaboration in wartime China to move beyond questions of the motivations of major protagonists and political intrigues. Methodologically, I will also be exploring the extent to which a 'visual history' approach might open up new avenues of enquiry for the study of the Japanese occupation of China. 

Speaker:Dr Jeremy E. Taylor 

Bio:Dr Jeremy E. Taylor is an associate professor in modern Asian history at the University of Nottingham. He is the author of Rethinking Transnational Chinese Cinemas: The Amoy-dialect Film Industry in Cold War Asia (2011) as well as over 25 journal articles and chapters on topics ranging from heritage preservation to personality cults in the Chinese-speaking world. He is also the founder of the 'Enemy of the People: Visual representations of Chiang Kai-shek' database (www.hrionline.ac.uk/chiangkaishek). Dr Taylor is currently leading a 2 million euro project entitled 'Cultures of Occupation in 20th Century Asia', funded by the European Research Council.