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ERIC Number: ED546011
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 236
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-7575-3
Speech after Mao: Literature and Belonging
Hsieh, Victoria Linda
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Irvine
This dissertation aims to understand the apparent failure of speech in post-Mao literature to fulfill its conventional functions of representation and communication. In order to understand this pattern, I begin by looking back on the utility of speech for nation-building in modern China. In addition to literary analysis of key authors and works, this project brings together research on the history of written and spoken language standardization in modern China; the stakes of private and public space during the Mao and post-Mao eras; as well as theories of speech acts, voice, dissent, secrecy, myth, and national allegory. I argue that post-Mao literature "deforms," rather than performs, speech's representative and communicative capacity as a response to the political appropriation of individual speech acts. During the Cultural Revolution, speech openly served as a tool for the reinforcement of ideology in public recitations, struggle sessions, confessions and self-criticisms, but we see the political utility of speech earlier in the emphasis on developing a shared culture through the promotion of vernacularization, a standardized spoken language and public acts of oral narration in the late Qing and Republican era. This political utility derived from both the conception of speech as a means of individual agency and the claim that a publicly shared speech would be proof of a cohesive and populist national community. By undoing the underlying equation between speaking and participating in a community, these deformations expose the falseness of attempts to prove--through, for instance, reliance on myth, standardized language, and allegory--that a shared national culture already exists. However, deformed speech here is neither the beginning of an alternative community nor the expression of goal-oriented protest. I depart from criticism that might read this trope as a symptom of oppression to be struggled against in order to arrive at normative speech or as a vehicle of a specific political protest. Instead, I argue that by undermining speech as a means of political agency or individual expression, these authors go beyond a critique of official nationhood and suggest a desire to evade community belonging altogether. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China