Propaganda and Memory in Li Kunwu and Philippe Ôtié’s 'A Chinese Life'

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-118
Journal / PublicationConcentric
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


A Chinese Life is a graphic autobiography first published in France as Une vie chinoise in three separate volumes between 2009 and 2011. With a single volume English translation appearing in 2012, the work has reached a global audience and speaks to a growing interest in the graphic narrative form as a mode through which comics artists are able to explore questions of identity, politics, and memory. Documenting the life of a Communist Party member who faces severe personal adversity and struggles to maintain his faith in Party ideals, A Chinese Life is a work that addresses issues of history and memory on both personal and political levels. The result is a provocative, sometimes unsatisfying, account that speaks to larger underlying problems of cultural memory and narrating Chinese history, particularly as this history is translated and negotiated across national and political borders.

Research Area(s)

  • A Chinese Life, Collaborative autobiography, Graphic autobiography, Memory studies, Propaganda and memory