The USC Libraries recently digitized a collection of nearly 200 items related to the influential Chinese writer Eileen Chang and made them publicly accessible through the USC Digital Library.
Chang (Ailing Zhang, 1920-95) first gained fame in 1943 in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. She earned a large readership as well as critical acclaim with her novels, novellas, and short stories that explored themes of marriage, family, and love in an urban setting, and today her works are considered among the most important Chinese literature of the 1940s. In 1955 Chang emigrated to Los Angeles and continued her literary career; most of the digitized materials come from this stage of her career, including extensive correspondence between Chang and the literary critic C. T. Hsia.
The digitized materials represent a small portion of the Ailing Zhang papers, which are available for research by appointment at the USC Libraries’ Special Collections. For more information about Chang or the collection, please contact the East Asian Library’s Chinese studies librarian, Tang Li.
Yang Qian with his installations at an art gallery in Beijing. He has used objects from demolished migrant neighborhoods to portray what he calls a “discarded class” of people. CreditGiulia Marchi for The New York Times
BEIJING — When the authorities demolished tens of thousands of homes occupied by migrant workers in Beijing last year, turning entire city blocks into flattened wasteland, the artist Yang Qian went to work.
Mr. Yang scavenged through piles of rubble, recovering hundreds of objects, including stuffed animals, broken glasses and scarlet-red children’s shoes. He sealed the objects in crystal columns to display at a Beijing art gallery, hoping to convey the idea that wealthier people treat the migrants, who come from poor rural areas in search of work, like garbage. Continue reading →
the Institute of Asian and African Studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin will host an international conference entitled “Sinophone meets Francophonie: Concepts and controversies”. The conference will take place from April 12-14, 2018. A description of the key objectives and the conference program can be found here.
Guests are welcome! There is no formal registration, but prior notification by e-mail would be appreciated (to email@example.com).
The English department at Taipei Tech (National Taipei University of Technology) will be hosting the interdisciplinary conference, Literary Fantasy and its Discontents on November 23–24, 2018, with companion cultural events on November 22. (We can also organize a turkey dinner for Americans if there is interest.) As part of this conference, we plan to organize several panels that address how literary fantasies have been celebrated, used, criticized, or abused in Asia. We are also interested in explorations of the reception history of Western fantasies in the East and Eastern fantasies in the West. Keynote speakers are Marysa Demoor (Marketing the Author)and Ackbar Abbas (Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance).
We hope to have a broad cross-section of papers (in English) that consider fantasy in its many forms: both as a (frequently politicized) literary genre or mode and in the word fantasy’s broader meanings of delusion, unconscious wish, or falsehood. How do fantasies assist in the formation of national identities? How do they impact the narratives––be they harmful or beneficial––that nations and people groups tell themselves about their origins, their capabilities, and their future? How do reader responses to the fantastic in literature differ from responses to texts that are predominantly mimetic, and how do these differences condition reception history? How has the fantastic been used in reform movements and the rhetoric of reaction? What are the ethics of literary fantasies (or the fantastic mode), and how have they been applied? Continue reading →
MLA 2019 CFP: Mapping East Asian Feminisms
LLC East Asian Forum Session Call for Papers
MLA 2019 Convention in Chicago, January 3-6, 2019
Modern and contemporary East Asian women writers, poets and filmmakers contribute in unique and significant ways to cultural change, while both embodying and transcending feminist concerns. Many women intellectuals, writers and visual artists across East Asia throughout the modern period until the present articulate new forms of consciousness and address pivotal concerns of their time in provocative, oftentimes experimental ways. This guaranteed session, organized by the MLA LLC East Asian Forum, will explore modes of narrative invention, aesthetic innovation and cultural critique in modern and contemporary East Asian women’s literature and film. Areas of inquiry include but are not limited to: 1. modes of articulating and expressing subjectivity in fiction, poetry, drama and film; 2. unconventional subject matter and voices in feminine/feminist texts such as, for instance, homosexual and transsexual themes; 3. creative de/constructions of the relationship between gender, language and the body; 4. ecocritical consciousness and creative engagement of environmental degradation; 5. re-conceptualizations of the intersection between urban space and human subjectivity; 6. the creative utilization and re-imagination of classical culture as well as the corpus of modern literature and film; 7. male authors’ critical engagement with and portrayal of women’s themes. Continue reading →
The team of Manc.hu would like to make you aware of the online Manchu lexicopedia BULEKU.org . Although still in beta, it is already ready to use.
It now includes Jerry Norman’s Comprehensive Manchu-English Dictionary, as well as the Qing Mirror lexicon of the Qianlong court. Over 20 modern and Qing-contemporary lexicons will follow in the coming months. For this project, Manc.hu works together with Helsinki University, Tohoku University (K-dic database), Georgetown University at Qatar, Leiden University, as well as ca. ten database volunteers.
So, for anyone learning or reading Manchu sources, try BULEKU.org. It works on any device. For questions or feedback, please do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org
Call for Papers 60th Annual Conference of the American Association for Chinese Studies
Hosted by the University of Maryland School of Law
October 5-7, 2018
The American Association for Chinese Studies (AACS) annual conference program committee invites proposals for panels and papers concerning China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Chinese diaspora for the 60th Annual Conference, hosted by the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 5-7, 2018. The theme of the conference is “Social, Economic, and Political Change in China and Taiwan.” The AACS seeks to construct a balanced program, including panels representing the humanities, social sciences, communication studies, education, business, and other related disciplines. To mark the 60th anniversary of the AACS, the program committee welcomes, in particular, studies comparing developments in China and Taiwan over the past six decades. Professor Victor H. Mair of the University of Pennsylvania will give a keynote speech on “Yìduān 異端 in the Analects (2.16) and Beyond: Did Ancient China Have a Concept of ‘Heresy’?” at the annual meeting. Continue reading →
MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Chris Berry’s review of Zhang Yimou: Globalization and the Subject of Culture (Cambria 2017), by Wendy Larson. The review appears below, but is best read at its online home here: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/chris-berry/. My thanks to MCLC media studies book review editor, Jason McGrath, for ushering the review to publication.
Kirk A. Denton, editor
Zhang Yimou: Globalization and the Subject of Culture
By Wendy Larson
Reviewed by Chris Berry
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright March, 2018)
In Zhang Yimou: Globalization and the Subject of Culture, Wendy Larson asks us to take Zhang Yimou 张艺谋 seriously again. This is a very welcome intervention. Few Chinese film directors seem to have been more widely—and diversely—reviled than Zhang. As Larson nimbly lays out in her introductory chapter, he was first attacked for alleged self-orientalism in pursuit of foreign film festival awards in the early 1990s. Then, his martial arts megahit Hero (英雄, 2002) was condemned for promoting “fascist” submission to authoritarianism. Worst of all, his more recent films, such as the Matt Damon vehicle The Great Wall (长城, 2016), have been ridiculed and dismissed. Nevertheless, Zhang remains China’s only director with a global reputation beyond the festival scene, and the only one with enough clout to put together a project like The Great Wall. Even though many of us might be more comfortable with festival favorites like Jia Zhangke 贾樟柯, we should not ignore directors with wider impact like Zhang Yimou, Feng Xiaogang 冯小刚, and the host of younger genre filmmakers that have emerged as the industry has boomed in the People’s Republic. Continue reading →
China celebrates International Women’s Day on Thursday, which falls on March 8 annually, with some e-commerce giants depicting women as “Queens”, insisting they should feel privileged to have been born in the country, given its relative equality in lower-end pay levels.
However, a harsh truth hides the reality: Chinese women still earn less than men on average, and have to spend more time taking care of their families, which has become a major hurdle for them advancing at work, according to a recent survey by China’s major hiring website Zhaopin Limited, China’s equivalent of LinkedIn. Continue reading →
I would like to introduce this incoming talk about the botanical interactions between Britain and China in the 18th century which I will co-present on March 24th in Oxford.
Botanical Art, Botanical Commerce: Britain meets China at the Dawn of Modernity
Oxford (United Kingdom) March 24th (12:45)
Former director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew Sir Peter Crane, author and expert in the history of science, medicine and culture Jordan Goodman and expert in Sino-British exchanges and China Trade paintings Josepha Richard discuss the John Bradby Blake collection.
The Oak Spring Garden Foundation, Virginia, USA, contains the archive of 18th-century East India Company supercargo John Bradby Blake. Blake first visited Canton in 1767/68 as a trader and, before his death in 1773, his collaboration with the Chinese artist Mauk-Sow-U produced over 150 striking and botanically accurate paintings of Chinese plants. These paintings and the associated archives provide details of an interesting life and previously little-known dimensions of late 18th-century social and scientific interactions between the British and Chinese, including British attempts to secure living plants that could prove useful at home and in its colonies. Continue reading →
People visit Lotus Park during Spring Festival in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, Feb. 20, 2015. Deng Fei/VCG
This year, an estimated 385 million Chinese people returned to their hometowns for Spring Festival, piling into packed cars, planes, and train carriages in the run-up to a holiday which has long been recognized as the world’s largest human migration.
The Chinese-American geographer Yi-Fu Tuan once coined the term “topophilia” to describe the attachment we feel to a certain place. Most commonly, topophilia manifests itself in our love for “hometowns” — however we define that term — and our compulsion to return to the places we belong. However, to fully understand topophilia, it helps to examine its polar opposite — places that inspire no feelings of affection or belonging, even among those who live there. Continue reading →
Source: World of Chinese (3/7/18) Slang for Noobs The chatter of the online gaming community has become part of popular Chinese culture
By Sun Jiahui (孙佳慧)
China is already one of the world’s largest and most rapidly growing online gaming markets. According to Statista, a market research and business intelligence portal, the country’s online gaming sector was worth 216 billion RMB in 2017 and is estimated to reach 324 billion RMB by 2020.
Whether PC or mobile games, people are increasingly turning on fantasy role-playing hits such as Honor of Kings or South Korea’s gory “battle royale” phenomenon Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, currently known as the “world’s hottest video game” (the latter has also been given a “socialist makeover” in China, AP reported).
In the process, many gaming terms and jargon have begun to embed themselves into Chinese popular culture and language (much like “Easter egg,” “pwn,” “noob,” “frag,” and other terms have in English). For example, during this year’s Black Friday, phrases like the following were repeated ad nauseum on online banner ads:
Black Friday promotion: all products seckilling for 50 percent off!
Hēiwǔ cùxiāo: Suǒyǒu shāngpǐn wǔ zhé miǎoshā!
黑五促销：所有商品五折秒杀！ Continue reading →
Keeping another woman is common among powerful Chinese men. (Reuters/Carlos Barria)
Shanshan’s $550 shoes came from her lover, but the soles of her feet, as hard as leather, came from her childhood. “We used to play barefoot in the village,” she told me. “All the girls in the karaoke bar had feet like this.”
At 26, Shanshan has come a long way from rural Sichuan, one of China’s poorer southern provinces, famous for the “spiciness” of its food and its women. Today her lover, Mr Wu, keeps her in a Beijing apartment that “cost 2.5 million yuan ($410,000)”, and visits whenever he can find the time away from his wife. In his late 40s, and an official with a massive state-run oil company, he was recently in Africa for six months developing an oilfield. Shanshan got bored and decided to improve her scant English by finding a ‘language-exchange partner’ online, which is how she and I became friends this spring.
Taiwan Literature: English Translation Series, Issue Number 41: Special Issue on “Animal Writing in Taiwan Literature” is available now. See the link for more information. Please also see the table of contents below.