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Feb. 21 final, free lecture in Mount St. Mary's 'Women in China' series explores Chinese films' insight into modern Chinese history

Contact:Phillip Jordan

Los Angeles / Feb. 14, 2013 — What can Chinese films "The Family," "Song of China" and "Shower" tell us about the evolution of Chinese attitudes toward gender equality and the nation's traditional culture?

Quite a bit, says Zhiwei, Xiao, professor of history at California State University, San Marcos. Xiao is the final speaker in Mount Saint Mary’s University's "Women in China" lecture series, a six-part series of free talks that has explored the progression of gender roles in China.

Xiao's Feb. 21 lecture will begin at 6 p.m. on the College's Doheny Campus, and will focus on "What Can Chinese Film Tell Us about Modern Chinese History?"

"The Family," Xiao says, is based on a novel that was immensely popular when it was published in the 1930s. The book and film lashed out at traditional culture and viewed China's past as a burden to a more modern transformation. Five years later, "Song of China" took the opposite view in response, glorifying the country's traditional culture. Xiao calls "Shower," made in 1999, a synthesis of the two views.

Xiao earned a bachelor's of arts in Chinese language and literature from Liaoning Teacher's University, a pair of master's degrees from Sichuan University and the College of St. Rose, and a PhD in modern Chinese history from the University of California at San Diego.

A question-and-answer period will follow the Feb. 21 lecture, which takes place from 6-7 p.m. at Mount St. Mary's Donohue Center on the College's downtown campus. The talk is free and open to the public. For more information, and to RSVP to reserve a seat.

Xiao's lecture caps the "Women in China" lecture series that the College has hosted this school year as part of a two-year $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Each lecture featured top scholars in Chinese history, poetry, art and literature.

The concluding lecture series is just one part of the College's ongoing project, "Women in China: Internationalizing the Humanities and Professional Studies Curricula," which launched in 2012 to integrate international cultures into undergraduate and graduate coursework. The project ties humanities courses into the Mount's professional schools of nursing, physical therapy, education and business.

About Mount Saint Mary’s University
Founded in 1925, Mount Saint Mary’s University is a Catholic, liberal arts college offering undergraduate education for women, as well as innovative programs for professional men and women on two historic campuses in Los Angeles. The mission of Mount St. Mary's is to provide a superior education enhanced by an emphasis on building leadership skills and fostering a spirit to serve others. For more information, go to or call 310.954.4000.

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