Faculty Book Talk: Daphne Lei, Drama

Faculty Book Talk: Daphne Lei, Drama

Thursday, May 20, 2021
5:00 p.m. Pacific

Daphne Lei will be joined by Hu Ying (UCI East Asian Studies) and Qitao Guo (UCI History) for this public conversation about her new book on women in traditional Chinese performance traditions.

Nominated for several major awards, “Uncrossing the Borders” asks why so many women on the Chinese stage have committed suicide in beautiful and pathetic ways just before crossing the border for an interracial marriage. Daphne Lei, UCI professor of drama, analyzes how national, cultural, and ethnic borders are inevitably gendered and incite violence against women in the name of the nation. The book surveys two millennia of historical, literary, dramatic texts, and sociopolitical references to reveal that this type of drama was especially popular when China was under foreign rule, such as in the Yuan (Mongol) and Qing (Manchu) dynasties, and when Chinese male literati felt desperate about their economic and political future, due to the dysfunctional imperial examination system. Daphne P. Lei covers border-crossing Chinese drama in major theatrical genres such as zaju and chuanqi, regional drama such as jingju (Beijing opera) and yueju (Cantonese opera), and modernized operatic and musical forms of such stories today.

More about the book

Daphne Lei is internationally recognized for her scholarship on Chinese opera, Asian American theatre, intercultural, diasporic and transnational, and transpacific performance. Her intellectual interest is the contact zone, where conflicts occur and solutions are sought, where hybridity is nurtured and resisted, where borders are crossed and borderlands formed, where identity is challenged and performed. Her publications include Operatic China: Staging Chinese Identity across the Pacific (2006), Alternative Chinese Opera in the Age of Globalization: Performing Zero (2011), Uncrossing the Borders: Performing Chinese in Gendered (Trans)Nationalism (2019), and The Methuen Companion to Interculturalism and Performance (co-edited with Charlotte McIvor, 2020).


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May 20, 2021 - 5:00pm