"Cannibalism or Sanctity? Fleshing Out Gegu in a Late Ming Tale of a Filial Girl"

"Cannibalism or Sanctity? Fleshing Out Gegu in a Late Ming Tale of a Filial Girl" by Professor Sibau, Dept. of Russian and East Asian Languges and Cultures, Emory U.

Time: Oct. 14, 2016; 12:30pm - 1:30pm

Location: Modern Languages 201, 532 Kilgo Circle, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322

Open and Free to the public

The written corpus on gegu, the slicing of flesh from the thigh or other parts of the body to heal one’s parent, shows that if the practice is disturbing
and puzzling to our modern sensibility, it was far from being uniformly accepted, understood, or represented even in premodern China. This talk will examine the polyphonic representation of gegu in a vernacular story from the collection Exemplary Words (1632) and will discuss the usefulness and limits of cannibalism as a conceptual framework to understand this practice.

About the speaker

Maria Sibau specializes in seventeenth-century Chinese literature, with a  particular focus on didacticism and vernacular fiction. Her dissertation, "Reading for the Moral: Exemplarity and Heroism in Xingshi yan and the 'Fiction of Moral Duty,'" is a study of the ways in which traditional moral virtues such as filial piety, loyalty, and chastity are represented in short story collections from the mid-seventeenth century. She has earned a B.A. degree in East Asian Studies from Venice University, an M.A. degree in East Asian Studies from UCLA, and a Ph.D. in traditional Chinese literature from Harvard. Her research and teaching interests include fiction and drama of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties (thirteenth to early twentieth century), women writers, and popular culture in premodern China.