Orientalist Afterlives: Theorizing Discourse about Peppa Pig and China

Kendall, P. 2023. Orientalist Afterlives: Theorizing Discourse about Peppa Pig and China. East Asian Journal of Popular Culture. 9 (2), pp. 191-207. https://doi.org/10.1386/eapc_00107_1

TitleOrientalist Afterlives: Theorizing Discourse about Peppa Pig and China
TypeJournal article
AuthorsKendall, P.
Abstract

In recent years, there have been numerous English-language reports on the purported censorship of Peppa Pig in China. This paper goes beyond this discourse to explore both how this British animation was translated into Chinese popular culture and how English-language news outlets subsequently responded to Peppa’s presence in China. Firstly, it examines how the dubbing of Peppa Pig into Chinese facilitated promotional claims about the universal appeal of this animation. Secondly, it shows how Peppa Pig’s subsequent popularity in China prompted a promotional shift towards a self-conscious localization of the brand with the release of the film Peppa Pig Celebrates Chinese New Year (小猪佩奇过大年). Thirdly, this paper explores how English-language news reporting became distorted in its claims about the extent of Peppa Pig’s censorship in China. Theoretically, I argue that both the localization of Peppa Pig and English-language journalistic discourse about the animation in China have been permeated by an afterlife of Orientalism. As an afterlife, this is a discourse which lacks the all-encompassing qualities of Edward Said’s classic Orientalism, but which continues to draw upon the Orientalist idea of an absolute distinction between ‘the East’ and ‘the West’.

KeywordsOrientalism
animation
Peppa Pig
reception
discourse
Chinese studies
JournalEast Asian Journal of Popular Culture
Journal citation9 (2), pp. 191-207
ISSN2051-7084
2051-7092
Year2023
PublisherIntellect
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1386/eapc_00107_1
Publication dates
Published online25 Sep 2023

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