China′s New Cultural Scene

A Handbook of Changes

China′s New Cultural Scene

Book Pages: 272 Illustrations: 23 b&w photographs Published: June 2000

Author: Claire Huot

Asian Studies > East Asia, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism, Media Studies > Film

The Cultural Revolution of China’s Maoist era has come and gone, yet another cultural revolution of a different sort has been sweeping through China in the 1990s. Although recently much interest has been focused on China’s economy, few Westerners are aware of the remarkable transformations occurring in the culture of ordinary people’s daily lives. In China’s New Cultural Scene Claire Huot surveys the wide spectrum of art produced by Chinese musicians, painters, writers, performers, and filmmakers today, portraying an ongoing cultural revolution that has significantly altered life in the People’s Republic.
Western observers who were impressed by the bravery of the demonstrators in Tiananmen Square—and stunned at the harshness of their suppression—will learn from this book how that political movement led to changes in cultural conditions and production. Attending to all the major elements of this vast nation’s high and low culture at the end of a landmark decade, Huot’s discussion ranges from the cinematic works of Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, and others to emerging musical forms such as rock, punk, and rap. Other topics include television, theater, and avant-garde art, the new electronic media, and subversive trends in both literature and the visual arts.
With a comprehensive index of artists and works, as well as a glossary of Chinese words, China’s New Cultural Scene will enlighten students of Chinese culture and general readers interested in contemporary Asia.


“[Huot] displays a keen sensitivity to the semiotics of contemporary Chinese cultural production. She gives sweeping overviews and goes into meticulous detail in her coverage of avant-garde fiction, drama, cinema, art, and rock music. . . . It is rare to find a scholar with her breadth and depth of interest who is so culturally sensitive, politically aware, and linguistically competent. This is a work of scholarly importance, of great value to anyone interested in modern Chinese cultural studies, and in young Chinese cultural identities in transformation at the end of the 20th Century.” — Jan Walls , Choice

“[L]ively and conversational . . . . [A]n engaging tour through many of the events and artifacts of the last fifteen years or so of Chinese cultural production.” — Jason McGrath , Journal of Asian Studies

“Huot takes her readers on a dazzling tour through literature, film, theatre, painting, installation and performance art, and popular music. She is admirably well informed on all of these subjects, and has something to offer to readers of various backgrounds.” — Mark Leenhouts, The China Journal

“Claire Huot’s readable and engaging book is rich in specifics and subtle in its theorizing, an unequaled and up-to-date account of culture in contemporary China. From sitcoms to street-slang, the marketing of the avant-garde to the cultural politics of heavy metal, it is a work of importance to all interested in modern China, in cultural studies, and in the formation of transnational audiences and cultural identities at the century’s end.” — Craig Clunas, University of Sussex

“Remarkable. An erudite and entertaining whirlwind tour of China’s high culture, pop culture, and subculture at the turn of the century—from world-famous film directors to a ‘mad calligrapher’ who has never sold a work.” — Richard King, University of Victoria


Availability: In stock
Price: $26.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Claire Huot is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies at the University of Montreal.

Table of Contents Back to Top


1 Literary Experiments: Six Files

2 Away from Literature I: Words Turned On

3 Away from Literature II: Words Acted Out

4 Colorful Fold in the Landscape: Fifth Generation Filmakers and Roots Searches

5 China's Avant-Garde Art: Differences in the Family

6 Rock Music from Mao to Nirvana: the West is the Best

Conclusion: A World Wide Web of Words

Glossary of Chinese Terms


Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2445-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2409-6
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