Chen Fachun, Leontovich O.A. A Tale of Two Cities: Historical Narratives in the Russian and Chinese Urban Landscapes

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2020.2.7

Chen Fachun

Doctor of Literature, Professor, President of Tianjin Foreign Studies University

Machang Road, 117, Tianjin, China

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Olga A. Leontovich

Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor, Head of the Department of Intercultural Communication and Translation, Volgograd State Socio-Pedagogical University

Prosp. Leninа, 27, 400066 Volgograd, Russia

Professor, Tianjin Foreign Studies University

Machang Road, 117, Tianjin, China

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0972-4609


Abstract. The present paper is part of a broader research "Language of a Big City: Media Urban Discourse in Russia and China". Its theoretical basis is situated in the contact zone between narratology, critical discourse analysis, semiotics and urban communication studies. The investigation is carried out on the example of two big non-capital cities – Volgograd and Tianjin, which represent the social processes typical of modern urban communities. The research model used for the study includes the following dimensions: 1) types of urban narratives; 2) narrator; 3) audience (reader / listener / viewer); 4) plot; 5) time; 6) space; 7) types of semiotic signs; 8) intertextual connections. The investigation proceeds from the idea about the textuality of the human mind, as well as the narrative ways of reality and identity construction. Multiple narratives can provide different urban history interpretations. Politicians use narratives to appropriate or reshape the past and the present as a common form of manipulation. A specific feature of urban historical narratives is that they do not possess fixed temporal boundaries and change due to the dynamics of urban social life. We argue that the stories that shape memories in the minds of general public are condensed versions of historical narratives based on the most intensely remembered facts, coloured with emotions and intensified by visual images, impressions and intertextual links. This idea emphasises the social responsibility of the creators of modern urban narratives in their different forms. The perspective of the research is to investigate the connection of these processes with Russian and Chinese mentality, values, logic of meaning-making and linguistic expression.

Key words: urban landscape, media urban communication, historical memories, narrative, semiotic signs, Russia, China.

Citation. Chen Fachun, Leontovich O.A. A Tale of Two Cities: Historical Narratives in the Russian and Chinese Urban Landscapes. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 2. Yazykoznanie [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. Linguistics], 2020, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 78-85. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2020.2.7

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