Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Magic, Power, and Knowledge: Technological Reproducibility in Chinese and American Animations
by Guo, Shuqing, M.A., Bowling Green State University, 2011, 56; 10817824
Abstract (Summary)

Whether we are considering Eastern or Western embodiments of technology, it is clear that in both cases artistic products and technology are inseparable. Their mutual correspondence is seen most clearly in the production of narratives that relate power to knowledge. What is the relationship between technology and the arts and culture, and how is this manifested in Chinese and American animated films that attempt to produce narratives of hope, dreams, and magic? This thesis seeks to understand the magic promise that technology offers within and across cultural and temporal locations.

Technology is a means of maintaining authority. Cultural discourse and the culture industry rely on the reproduction of technology to produce narratives and sublimely influence readers and viewers. In China, animated films produced in association with Disney, or those produced independently, seek to create a similar form of magic that returns the viewer to a process of searching for secrets concealed by the authority to formulate power structures. Globally, the Disney Enterprise has dominated an industry that distributes and spreads cultural myths that tell children about social interactions and that create magical dreams that are appealing to such an audience. Disney’s Mulan is a new world Mulan who transcends time and space but only with her last name added as Disney.

The present inquiry into technology reviews considerations of art and mechanical reproduction in culture by members of the Frankfurt School, including Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer; my thesis examines the past to imagine a future of technological reproducibility by considering the effects of the culture industry on late-capitalism and popular culture by considering the works of Disney as read by Frederic Jameson and Jack Zipes, among other scholars of Disney. Finally, through discussion on Umberto Eco’s semiotics and his popular novel The Name of the Rose, the thesis comes to an end in hoping that we as readers could decode the dominant discourses and authoritative ideologies manifested in magic and technologies in popular culture.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Labbie, Erin
Commitee: Coates, Lawrence, Labbie, Erin
School: Bowling Green State University
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: MAI 57/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: American studies, Asian Studies, Film studies
Keywords: Chinese animation, Disney, Knowledge, Magic power, Semiotics
Publication Number: 10817824
ISBN: 9780355844047
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