Chinese Literature Dissertation Reviews: Huang Yiju’s Wounds in Time

Aesthetics Afterlives of the Cultural Revolution Dissertation Reviews has posted Yiching Wu‘s review of Yiju Huang‘s Wounds in Time: The Aesthetic Afterlives of the Cultural Revolution. Here’s how it begins:

Yiju Huang’s dissertation is an investigation of the Cultural Revolution through its aesthetic and literary afterlives in the post-Mao era. The dissertation takes as its point of departure the widespread notion that the Cultural Revolution was a “colossal catastrophe,” and proceeds to examine the ways in which traumatic traces were embedded within works of literature, art, and cinema. Focusing on how people produce meanings in the aftermath of a major historical event, Huang argues against the attempts of the CCP to bring the subject of the Cultural Revolution to premature closure, in its attempt to transfer the country’s attention to a fetishized future of economic development and modernization. Instead of understanding the Cultural Revolution as exclusively belonging to a bygone era, Huang urges us to reopen the subject as “a nexus of unresolved and unfinished problems that spill beyond the threshold of the past” (p. 4).