Exploring Hybrid Identities with Writer and Filmmaker Xiaolu Guo

February 25, 2020

WEAI Writer-in-Residence Xiaolu Guo explored the concept of hybrid identities in a dialogue on February 25, 2020, with Qin Gao, Professor of Social Policy and Social Work, Columbia School of Social Work. Guo, who is a novelist, essayist, and filmmaker, read passages from her published works, weaving her vividly descriptive writing into the discussion centered around identity construction. She shared her experience growing up in China, her desire to escape her childhood village, and the lasting effects of her early life on her work as an artist. In particular, Guo’s work is deeply influenced by the agricultural lifestyle of her youth, the peasant value system, and the Cultural Revolution. Guo and Gao also touched on the experience of femalehood in China, the creative process, and the role of artists in society. Guo’s hybrid identity and relationship with the world is visible through her unique literary style, which employs broken English.

A reporter from the Singtao Daily covered the event, describing the discussion as a rumination and articulation of the “unseverable” place that “homeland” holds in Guo’s work, and emphasizing how lost homelands, revived as memory, combine with Guo’s Western education to form her “global identity” through her body of work.

Click here to read the full article (in traditional Chinese).