Past Event

Sinomania in 1950s Czechoslovakia: Socialist Realism with Chinese Characteristics

March 27, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
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School of International and Public Affairs, 420 West 118th Street, Room 918, New York, NY 10027

Speaker: Olga Lomová, Professor, Department of Sinology, Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague

Moderator: Ying Qian, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures, East Asian Languages & Cultures, Columbia University

Discussant: Christopher Harwood, Senior Lecturer in Czech, Co-Deputy Director of the East Central European Center, Harriman Institute, Columbia University

For some time Olga Lomová have been interested in how China had been imagined in Central Europe since late 19th century. This talk discusses her new research project on a particular imagination of China widespread in Czechoslovakia in the early years of the cold war, when both Czechoslovakia and China embarked on the road of building socialism within the Soviet-led socialist camp. This imagination blended searches for a genuine people’s art, rhetorics of anti-imperialist struggle and political friendship, orientalist topoi, as well as the subversive aesthetics of the modernist intellectual within the party system. These sometimes conflicting visions and values nourished a sort of Sinomania in Czechoslovakia of this period. She will present this phenomenon mostly through visual material, and comment on how such imaginations of China formed a counter discourse to the Soviet imported hard-core socialist realism.

Speaker's Bio: Olga Lomová teaches history of Chinese literature with special focus on Chinese poetry, classical and modern. Her second field of interest is PRC ideology in broader historical perspective and its impact on literature and art. She has also published on the intellectual transformation in 20th century China and researched the beginnings of Czech and Czechoslovak Sinology, Rudolf Dvořák, and Jaroslav Průšek. She published several books of translation from ancient and modern Chinese, including selections from Sima Qian’s Shiji, Tang poetry, late Qing wuxia xiaoshuo, and PRC post-Cultural revolution poetry and fiction. Currently she is one of the coordinators of a large interdisciplinary research project KREAS, supported from the European Regional Development Fund.

Olga Lomová is former director of the Institute at East Asian Studies at Charles University. Since 2002 she has been the director of the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation International Sinological Centre at Charles University. Among other she is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Research Center for Literary Thoughts and Discourses at the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan. In 2016 she co-founded the project which aims at connecting academic research about contemporary Chinese politics with broader public.

This event is sponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute and co-sponsored by The East Central European Center, Harriman Institute.


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Contact Information

Julie Kwan