Associate Professor of East Asian Languages Zhuoyi Wang gave invited talks at DePauw University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Skidmore College in October and November.
Wang’s talks were titled “Between the World Ship and the Spaceship: Planetarianism, Hollywood, Nationalism, and the Iceberg-Shaped Story of The Wandering Earth (2019).” He analyzed how the Chinese sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth departs from the Hollywood sci-fi formula of individual saviors in its imagination of a total environmental disaster and a global unity fighting for survival.
Wang argued that that the film’s future imagination bears laudable potential to promote a turn from exclusionist individualism to inclusive planetarianism, an idea proposed by literary scholar Masao Miyoshi. At the same time, Wang pointed out that the film’s persuasiveness is greatly limited by the double-layered restraint imposed upon it by the state and the market.
Tracing the turn and the restraint to their historical sources, he closely analyzed where The Wandering Earth succeeds and fails in moving beyond the Hollywood vision of the planet’s future.
In addition to the public talks, Wang was also invited by Skidmore Professor Cathy Silber to lecture in her Chinese-English translation class, which conducts a subtitling project for a 1964 Chinese film Never Forget. Wang presented a comparative analysis between Never Forget and the director’s earlier film Early Spring in February (1963).