Blue Lotus Oral Presentation Abstract

*Here is my abstract for my oral presentation in May - I hope it is accepted - such a project would be a great experience and show of my accumulated knowledge from attending UCR ;o;

Student Researcher Information
Name: Elizabeth Paich
Academic Institution: UC, Riverside - CHASS
Major: Asian Studies
Status: Senior – Undergraduate

Faculty Mentor Information
Faculty Mentor name: Michelle Bloom
Academic Title: Associate Professor of French & Comparative Literature
Department: Comparative Literature & Foreign Languages
Current College: College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Abstract Information
Paper Title: When Bias Shows: Comparing Accurate and Racist Portrayals in The Blue Lotus
Area of Study: French and Asian Studies, Comparative Literature
Type of Presentation: Oral Presentation

When Bias Shows: Comparing Accurate and Racist Portrayals in The Blue Lotus
Elizabeth Paich, Asian Studies, University of California, Riverside
Michelle Bloom, Associate Professor of French & Comparative Literature, University of California, Riverside

The Blue Lotus is a turning point in the Tintin series, as Hergé’s research of Mainland China and Chinese culture with his colleague Zhang Chongren would lead to candid portrayals of foreign peoples and lands for the rest of the graphic novel’s series instead of through Eurocentric misconceptions and stereotypes. However, after researching the creative process behind the graphic novel and examine the work itself, it is clear that while the album strives for accurate portrayals of China, it is still not without racist caricature. As the protagonists Tintin and Chang bond, representing a comradery between East and West, there is still racist caricature inspired by the Japanese occupation of Shanghai and eventual exiting of the Japanese from the League of Nations during the 1930s. Thus, Hergé does not combine the appearances of the Chinese and the Japanese into an indistinguishable group of “Asians”, but maintains racist portrayals of both Asians (specifically the Japanese) and Westerners because they are supporters of governments that maintain Imperialistic ideology. Thus, The Blue Lotus contains characters that are a combination of both accurateness and racist exaggeration – displaying Hergé and Zhang’s disdain for the Japanese actions in China during the 1930s and the bigotry of Caucasian white supremacists.

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