Textile Things and Their Making in Zhang Ailing’s Wartime Writing

Thu Oct 12 2023 at 12:30 pm to 02:00 pm

Manchester China Institute | Manchester

The Manchester China Institute
Publisher/HostThe Manchester China Institute
Textile Things and Their Making in Zhang Ailing\u2019s Wartime Writing
Join Dr Aoife Cantrill at the MCI for a captivating ECR discussion on textile things and their making in Zhang Ailing’s wartime writing.
About this Event

It is close to an accepted truth that objects play a central role in Zhang Ailing’s writing. Amongst her assembly of literary thing, textiles occupy a distinctly privileged position as embellishments that drive Zhang’s storytelling and offer the reader a window into late-Republican era Shanghai and colonial Hong Kong. Beyond the material escapism often associated with these texts, this talk will discuss how Zhang’s writing published during the 1940s responds to the impact of war on material culture, in particular the impact of material scarcity on fashionable and literary pursuits. More broadly, the talk will open up avenues to discuss how the concept of ‘things’ (東西/物) evolved in the context of the Sino-Japanese war, and how textual culture in turn responded to those shifts.

About the Speaker

Dr Aoife Cantrill is a Lecturer in Chinese Studies and Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Manchester. Her research primarily looks at the interaction between Sinophone and Japanophone cultures in Taiwan from 1930 onwards, with a focus on women’s writing and its history. Her other research interests include the use of paratext in contemporary Chinese fiction, and the cultural politics of textile production in the Japanese Empire.

Event Photos


MCI’s ECR Workshops are lunchtime seminars held in person at the Manchester China Institute. They seek to bring together students, faculty, and staff who can best provide feedback as Early Career Researchers develop their ideas. Free lunch will be provided.


Event Venue & Nearby Stays

Manchester China Institute, 178 Waterloo Place, Manchester, United Kingdom


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