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Doctoral Project

Reading Asymmetries and Flows: Satirical Pictures in Chinese Illustrated Newspapers and Periodicals
I-Wei Wu (M.A.)

This project will investigate satirical pictures of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Here, 'Chinese' is interpreted in a broader sense, not only scrutinising Chinese publications, but also some English periodicals published in China.
Asymmetries and flows are two main focuses in this regard. By reading these publications, one can find that a variety of targets were satirised by those pictures, including imperialists' invasion, the Westerners and their culture, or current Chinese politics, traditions, culture, and habits. Such contradictive attitudes, indeed, reflect the then-current China's crisis of self-identity. Those pictures are also helpful in understanding, how the Chinese identified with themselves and coped with asymmetries. On the other hand, apart from asymmetries, the West's colonialism and imperialism led to an exchange on both sides, which produced specific flows in regard to ideas and publications. For example, one can find periodicals in China similar to two famous western cartoon magazines, London Punch and New York Puck. As illustrated newspapers, their format of publication was not only brought in by Westerners, but was also adopted by Chinese cartoonists,who added Chinese flavor to it. It will be explored how these publications and internal images were presented in different contexts, and what mechanism and ideology were hidden behind them by tracing the 'journey' of flows.