Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.
Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.
Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.
Campus-Only Access for One (1) Year
Master of Arts (M.A.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
This thesis explores how traumatic memories of the Tangshan earthquake have been constructed in literature, documentary works, and films. Through analyzing the narrative construction of the Tangshan earthquake in the form of film and literature, this thesis studies the relationship between state power and individual agency in the representation of this natural disaster. It argues that the cultural representation of this natural disaster reflects a subtle shift: one from the dominant nationalistic narrative to the narrative centering on individuals’ psychological trauma. It suggests the high degree of state control and politicization is what is similar between a natural disaster such as the Tangshan earthquake and other political events. To some extent, the Tangshan earthquake has become a political event to promote the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) propaganda. Therefore, this thesis engages existing scholarship on political traumas to research the Tangshan earthquake. It is indicating a subtle shift because it is a slow-changing process and there is no mark to signal a radical departure from the earlier nationalism accounts. There also exists more interlaces and interconnections between the state and individual in the range of sources I have examined. And the overlay of the different narratives reflects the complexity of reality and history.
chen, jinhui, "On Shattered Ruins: The Cultural Practices and Production of the Great Tanghsna Earthquake in Post-Mao Literature and Film" (2021). Masters Theses. 1088.