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postgraduate thesis: Ecology beyond shanshui : comparative ecocriticism in contemporary Chinese cinema and visual culture

TitleEcology beyond shanshui : comparative ecocriticism in contemporary Chinese cinema and visual culture
Authors
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Chu, K. [朱翹瑋]. (2014). Ecology beyond shanshui : comparative ecocriticism in contemporary Chinese cinema and visual culture. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractAs a rich and rapidly expanding field of academic studies, ecocriticism has been criticised for its disproportionate reliance on Western literary studies and insufficient attention given to other media forms, cross disciplinary dialogues, and non-western perspectives. On the other hand, progress in Chinese scholarship has been hindered by a shortage of scholars conversant in both Eastern and Western concepts and knowledge in environmental issues, hence resulting in insufficient cross-cultural exchange. Addressing the gaps in ecocriticism, this thesis aims to broaden the scope of ecocriticism by highlighting its comparative approaches in three major aspects: East-West cross-cultural comparisons; trans-disciplinary exchanges; and a focus on studies in visual media and culture. Cross-cultural dialogues are introduced between western ecocritical approaches and Chinese eco-philosophy, juxtaposing environmental aesthetics, eco-cosmopolitanism, poststructuralist and new materialist ecocritical approaches, with classical Daoist and Confucian ecological thoughts. Trans-disciplinary exchanges have been shown to encourage cooperation and bridging of knowledge gaps between sciences and humanities. From ancient religio-philosophy, critical theories, aesthetics studies to scientific knowledge, this project brings together various disciplinary approaches that are useful in explaining the complex relationships between human beings and the more-than-human world. By identifying both convergence and conflicts among different philosophical approaches and disciplinary emphases, this project aims to develop fragmegrative conceptual frameworks that explore Chinese people’s ambivalent attitudes and practices towards the environment, thus to expose the tensions and conflicts between human and nonhuman beings in contemporary world. Responding to ecocriticism’s predominant focus in literary texts, this study also expands the scope towards visual culture in Chinese context. Shanshui (山水, literally “mountains and water,” or landscape in general) and its representations are employed as the basis for assessing a wide range of visual texts produced in contemporary China. From classical landscape paintings that reflect Chinese ideal of harmonious union between humans and nature (tianrenheyi), to contemporary forms of “new shanshui” such as landscape of wastes and ruins in Jia Zhangke’s urban cinema; Xu Bing’s shanshui-inspired art installations created out of disposed materials, as well as the technologically enhanced, artificialized natural environments as theatrical stages in Zhang Yimou’s outdoor landscape performance, this project reveals the changing dynamics and relationships between human beings and the environment in China under its drastic transformations. Eventually, this thesis envisages an open up of possibilities in reading, interpreting and understanding various aspects of visual culture in non-anthropocentric, ecocritical ways, and contribute towards promoting ecological media literacy in both China and beyond.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectEcology in motion pictures
Motion pictures - China
Landscapes in art
Landscape painting, Chinese
Dept/ProgramComparative Literature
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/249184

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorChu, Kiu-wai-
dc.contributor.author朱翹瑋-
dc.date.accessioned2017-11-01T07:38:40Z-
dc.date.available2017-11-01T07:38:40Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationChu, K. [朱翹瑋]. (2014). Ecology beyond shanshui : comparative ecocriticism in contemporary Chinese cinema and visual culture. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/249184-
dc.description.abstractAs a rich and rapidly expanding field of academic studies, ecocriticism has been criticised for its disproportionate reliance on Western literary studies and insufficient attention given to other media forms, cross disciplinary dialogues, and non-western perspectives. On the other hand, progress in Chinese scholarship has been hindered by a shortage of scholars conversant in both Eastern and Western concepts and knowledge in environmental issues, hence resulting in insufficient cross-cultural exchange. Addressing the gaps in ecocriticism, this thesis aims to broaden the scope of ecocriticism by highlighting its comparative approaches in three major aspects: East-West cross-cultural comparisons; trans-disciplinary exchanges; and a focus on studies in visual media and culture. Cross-cultural dialogues are introduced between western ecocritical approaches and Chinese eco-philosophy, juxtaposing environmental aesthetics, eco-cosmopolitanism, poststructuralist and new materialist ecocritical approaches, with classical Daoist and Confucian ecological thoughts. Trans-disciplinary exchanges have been shown to encourage cooperation and bridging of knowledge gaps between sciences and humanities. From ancient religio-philosophy, critical theories, aesthetics studies to scientific knowledge, this project brings together various disciplinary approaches that are useful in explaining the complex relationships between human beings and the more-than-human world. By identifying both convergence and conflicts among different philosophical approaches and disciplinary emphases, this project aims to develop fragmegrative conceptual frameworks that explore Chinese people’s ambivalent attitudes and practices towards the environment, thus to expose the tensions and conflicts between human and nonhuman beings in contemporary world. Responding to ecocriticism’s predominant focus in literary texts, this study also expands the scope towards visual culture in Chinese context. Shanshui (山水, literally “mountains and water,” or landscape in general) and its representations are employed as the basis for assessing a wide range of visual texts produced in contemporary China. From classical landscape paintings that reflect Chinese ideal of harmonious union between humans and nature (tianrenheyi), to contemporary forms of “new shanshui” such as landscape of wastes and ruins in Jia Zhangke’s urban cinema; Xu Bing’s shanshui-inspired art installations created out of disposed materials, as well as the technologically enhanced, artificialized natural environments as theatrical stages in Zhang Yimou’s outdoor landscape performance, this project reveals the changing dynamics and relationships between human beings and the environment in China under its drastic transformations. Eventually, this thesis envisages an open up of possibilities in reading, interpreting and understanding various aspects of visual culture in non-anthropocentric, ecocritical ways, and contribute towards promoting ecological media literacy in both China and beyond. -
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.subject.lcshEcology in motion pictures-
dc.subject.lcshMotion pictures - China-
dc.subject.lcshLandscapes in art-
dc.subject.lcshLandscape painting, Chinese-
dc.titleEcology beyond shanshui : comparative ecocriticism in contemporary Chinese cinema and visual culture-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineComparative Literature-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.date.hkucongregation2015-
dc.identifier.mmsid991043962676703414-

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