Pacific Crossings: Wango Weng and his Film Collection at Columbia
Please join us for a panel discussion:
Organized by Ying Qian (Assistant Professor of Chinese Cinema and Media, Columbia EALAC) and Jim Cheng (Director, the C.V. Starr Library)
Introduced by Eugenia Lean (Director, WEAI and Professor of Chinese History, Columbia EALAC)
Charlotte Brooks (Professor of History, CUNY Baruch College)
Jane Gaines (Professor of Film, Columbia University)
Caroline Hsu-Balcer (Filmmaker, designer and art programmer)
Ssu Weng (Physician, daughter of Wango Weng)
Yanqiu Zheng (Assistant Professor of History, Misericordia University)
As research in East Asian studies moves away from the national paradigm to pay more attention to transnational connections and diasporic communities, this roundtable is the first of a series of events that trace transpacific film and media connections as prisms to examine larger historical processes of war, migration, racialized capitalism, cultural diplomacy and community organizing.
Wango Weng (1918-2020) was a Chinese American filmmaker, art historian and collector. He came to the US in 1938 to study engineering at Purdue, and later on, entered University of Wisconsin, Madison to study painting. In 1948, he brought his family's massive art collection to the US., where he then settled for life. He began making films in the 1940s, mostly producing for the U.S. educational film market and covering topics related to Chinese art and history. He was also active in the Chinese American community, and served as the president of the Chinese Institute from 1982 to 1987. Mr. Weng passed away at 102 on December 9th, 2020, after donating his family art collection to museums in the US (the MFA) and in China (the Shanghai Museum and others), and his film collection to the C.V. Starr Library at Columbia.
This roundtable brings together historians and film scholars on both China and America, and Mr. Weng’s family and friend, to discuss Mr. Weng’s filmmaking in the US, his connections to China’s film industry, and his engagements with the China Institute, the Chinese American community and American society at large.
Audience are encouraged to watch prior to the round table a short film shot by Wango Weng in 1948, on his last trip to his hometown Changshu before settling in the US, entitled A Town On the Yangtze (full 10-min film streamed here https://wp.nyu.edu/orphanfilm/2020/05/26/weng/).
Sponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, the C.V Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University, and Dragon Summit Foundation.