China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
Chinese animation has been traditionally characterized by a preoccupation with Chineseness and national style. This panel reconsiders the issue of Chineseness by exploring the histories, media, and styles of Chinese animation made after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Following a chronological order, the panel begins with Daisy Yan Du’s discussion of the constructed discourse of national style and Chineseness in the late 1950s in relation to the animated Sino-Soviet encounter in the 1950s. Sean Macdonald then analyzes a typical national style animated film in the late 1950s and demonstrates how China’s ethnic minorities were strategically used to represent “Chineseness.” Tracking the transformation of TV animation series from the 1980s to the millennium, Hongmei Sun examines how traditional Chinese medicine was used as a new marker of Chineseness. Weihua Wu’s paper offers a historical trajectory of Chinese online animation since the new millennium and redefines its Chineseness in relation to the traditional paradigm of national style. At the same time, the panel traces the development of media in history of Chinese animation, moving from traditional cinema to TV, and finally to internet. It also analyzes the aesthetics of Chinese animation, spanning from full animation of the Soviet style and Chinese national style to limited animation of TV series and internet animation.