Monday, January 11, 2016

Highlights from Professor Li-Lin Tseng’s Sabbatical

In the spring of 2015, Associate Professor of Art History Li-Lin Tseng took a sabbatical leave, during which time she took a three-week research trip to Asia. There she visited major film archives and libraries in Taiwan and China, including the Chinese Taipei Film Archive, the China Film Archive, the Shanghai Municipal Archive, and the Shanghai Library. This research will contribute to her book project, titled Shanghai Crossing: Early Chinese Filmmakers, Film Stars, and Film Critics and Their Many Encounters with the West, 1896-1937, which focuses on intellectual and technical changes and exchanges among early Chinese and European and American film professionals.

As part of her trip, Professor Tseng was very fortunate to have an opportunity to speak with other scholars in her field, such as the film producer and scholar, Liao Gene-fon, from the Department of Motion Pictures at the National Taiwan University of Arts. She was also able to arrange a visit with the grandson of Zheng Zhengqiu, the father of Chinese cinema. Professor Tseng is will soon publish an article examining Zheng’s cinematic art, so this visit provided her with a unique opportunity to probe into the inside story of Zheng’s work.

In Beijing, Professor Tseng also visited a number of historical sites and art communities, including the Forbidden City, the Ming Tomb, the Great Wall, and the 798 Art Zone. She is currently in the process of developing a study abroad proposal in order to take PSU students to visit these sites as well as other art communities in the near future.

In March, Professor Tseng was invited by the Confucius Institute at Savannah State University to give a talk, titled “From Shanghai to Hollywood: The Chinese and Chinese Cinema in America, 1896-1937, and After.” There she also I screened two films, A Trip Through China (1916) and Shadow Magic (2001).  Later that month she attended the 2015 Annual Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) in Chicago, IL, where she presented a paper, “‘Arrested Civilization’: John Thomson and His Travel Photography, 1873-1874,” for the panel “Seeing Qing China Differently.”  

Also during her sabbatical leave, Professor Tseng worked on several papers and proposals for conferences, including a paper titled Electrifying Illustrated News: Zheng Zhengqiu (鄭正秋) and the Transformation of Graphic Arts into Dramatic Cinema, 1910-1935,” which will appear in the peer-reviewed international journal, Twentieth-Century China (Maney Publishing) in 2016. She also presented her a paper titled “From Shanghai to Hollywood: Chinese Cinema in Transition, 1896-1937” at both the Mid Atlantic Region Association for Asian Studies (MAR-AAS) Conference and the Midwest Conference of Asian Affairs (MCAA) this year. Professor Tseng was able to take advantage of this opportunity for sabbatical leave and produce a great deal of work. This work will both further the conversation regarding this subject matter in her field, as well as inform her teaching to students of art history.