China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
This panel presents new approaches to issues of displacement caused by war and violence in premodern China, through literary and art historical perspectives. Instead of considering displacement as a subversion of state categories, the panel tackles geographical and social displacement in communal memories, personal histories, and psychological situations. The four papers attend to the trauma of the displaced in subterranean narratives in different historical moments. Sujane Wu explores how displaced poets in early and medieval China represented the lives of illiterate commoners who were impacted by war and violence. Focusing on women forced to migrate during war, Xiao Rao examines how the stories of anomalies in Record of the Listener serve to vocalize women’s trauma during the Jurchen’s invasion of the Northern Song (960-1127). Switching to visual representations, Najung Kim discusses how paintings by the late Yuan refugee Ni Zan (1301-1374) served as “communal spaces” that harbored covert memories of his community during the end-of-dynasty turmoil. Ka-Yi Ho takes up the art of Xiang Shengmo (1597-1658), hitherto regarded as a tragic remnant subject of the Ming, and argues that Xiang’s penchant for reclusion helped him cope with the new order of the Qing regime. Combining textual and visual materials, the panel aims to redress the dominant narratives of Chinese dynastic transitions by elucidating alternative channels and sites of the displaced people’s lived experiences.