"Picturing China's Semi-Colonial Modern: Industrial Process Films and the Developmental Imaginary"

Thursday, April 25, 2019 at 3:30pm

Carothers Library, Galanti Lounge
15 Lippitt Rd, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881, USA

In the 1930s and ’40s, the University of Nanking, a U.S.-backed institution with close ties to the Chinese nationalist government, produced several dozen films depicting manufacturing processes in key Chinese industries. Sponsored by the state, and produced in cooperation with firms and research institutions, these “industrial knowhow films” pictured possibilities of economic self-determination within a world defined by escalating imperialist competition.  Focusing on films about silk, salt, and artisanal handicrafts, Hongwei Thorn Chen will explore how visual representations of industrial processes negotiated the contradictions of China’s semi-colonial predicament and projected alternative developmental futures. 

Hongwei Thorn Chen is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Brown University's Department of Modern Culture and Media.  Beginning this fall, he will be Assistant Professor of Communication at Tulane University.

This lecture is part of The Harrington Forum, the Harrington School's events series.

Event Type

Lectures / Presentations


College of Arts and Sciences, Harrington School of Communication and Media

College of Arts and Sciences
Contact Person

Scott Kushner

Contact Email


Contact Phone

401 874-5223

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