Zhuoyi Wang

Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures Zhuoyi Wang recently published a paper on Mulan in the special issue "The Art of Adaptation in Film and Video Games" of the scholarly journal Arts.

Titled “Cultural ‘Authenticity’ as a Conflict-Ridden Hypotext: Mulan (1998), Mulan Joins the Army (1939), and a Millennium-Long Intertextual Metamorphosis,” the paper analyzes the 1939 Chinese film Mulan Joins the Army as a cultural palimpsest revealing attributes associated with different stages of Mulan’s millennium-long intertextual metamorphosis.

Against common assumptions, the paper reveals that Disney’s 1998 animation Mulan is simply another adaptation continuing Mulan’s metamorphosis, and that the film by no means contains the most dramatic intertextual change. Productive criticism of Disney’s Orientalist cultural appropriations, the paper argues, should move beyond the dichotomy of the static East versus the change-making West, taking full account of the immense hybridity and fluidity pulsing beneath the fallacy of a monolithic cultural “authenticity.”

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