Re-imagining the Boxer Rebellion : popular culture’s engagement with colonialism, anti-imperialism, and identities

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2021-05-12

Authors

Zhou, Nanjun

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Abstract

By comparing the literary and cinematic representations of the Boxer Movement that target different national and international communities in conjunction with their respective historical narratives about the Boxer Movement, this study explores the relationship between history and fiction as well as the dynamics between the (popular) literary devices and the (expected) historical knowledge shared by cultural producers and their audiences. The unstable historiographical paradigms surrounding the Boxer Movement (including colonialism, anti-imperialism or post-colonialism), and the often-belated use of the historiographical paradigms by the popular cultural producers reveal the complex and multi-faceted nature of the Boxer Movement as a historical event and its usefulness as the background for the exercise of historical empathy. This study suggests also how the cultural producers creatively deploy the genre conventions within a certain cultural frameworks that are familiar to their targeted audience in order to create cathartic and subliminal effects.

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