New publication on Chinese contemporary art

Dear List Members,

I would like to inform MCLC list members of my recent publication with MIT Press. Dissidence: The Rise of Chinese Contemporary Art in the West is a study of the Western reception of Chinese contemporary art since 1989. In this book, I propose that Western based art-world institutions recognize and valorize dissident gestures – artistic and political – as a means of distinguishing the singular originality of an artist, work, or genre. This book then explores how this valorization of dissidence has influenced the recognition and rise of Chinese contemporary art.

Taking an interdisciplinary approach combining sociology and art history, the book follows the careers of nine Chinese artists – Wang Du, Wang Keping, Huang Yong Ping, Yang Jiechang, Chen Zhen, Yan Pei-Ming, Shen Yuan, Ru Xiaofan, and Du Zhenjun – as they moved from China to France before, during, and after 1989.  Through an analysis of the artists’ production, exhibitions, relationships with art-world agents, curatorial essays, and art reviews, I demonstrate how Chinese art and artists after the Tiananmen Square incident were valued not only for their artistic dissidence (their formal innovations), but also for their perceived political dissidence – that is, how their work was and, in many cases continues to be, understood and recognized as a dissident resistance to the regulation of free expression in China.  The book concludes by considering how the valorization of Chinese contemporary art highlights the often-unrecognized relationship between contemporary art and liberal democracy, and how this relationship, in turn, makes supporting contemporary art a political dilemma for China.

All the best,

Marie Leduc, Ph.D. <>

TAP, fall 2018

The fall 2018 issue of the Trans Asia Photography Review, “Family Photographs”, is now available online at (you may need to refresh your browser to view the new contents). This issue, which is guest edited by Deepali Dewan, features the following articles and book reviews:

Introduction, Deepali Dewan

“A Treasury of Rays”: Finding a Winter Garden in Palestine, Alessandra Amin

Thinking of a Place, Surendra Lawoti

Diaspora and Performance: Reenacting the Family Album, Jessica Nakamura

Family Intact: An Experience of being Photographed, Suryanandini Narain

Finding Family in The Times of India’s Mid-Century Kodak Ads, Jennifer Orpana

Photos Unhomed: Orphan Images and Militarized Visual Kinship, Thy Phu

Modern Family: The Transformation of the Family Photograph in Qajar Iran, Staci Gem Scheiwiller

Review of Guts, by Masaki Yamamoto, Sebastian Galbo

Please take a look, and spread the word to your networks!

All the best,
Sandra Matthews, Editor

Women and the Periodical Press in China

New Publication
Women and the Periodical Press in China’s Long Twentieth Century: A Space of their Own?
EDITORS: Michel Hockx, Joan Judge, and Barbara Mittler
Cambridge University Press, 2018

In this major new collection, an international team of scholars examine the relationship between the Chinese women’s periodical press and global modernity in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The essays in this richly illustrated volume probe the ramifications for women of two monumental developments in this period: the intensification of China’s encounters with foreign powers and a media transformation comparable in its impact to the current internet age. The book offers a distinctive methodology for studying the periodical press, which is supported by the development of a bilingual database of early Chinese periodicals. Throughout the study, essays on China are punctuated by transdisciplinary reflections from scholars working on periodicals outside of the Chinese context, encouraging readers to rethink common stereotypes about lived womanhood in modern China, and to reconsider the nature of Chinese modernity in a global context.

The Formation of Chinese Art Cinema

New Book
Yang, Li. The Formation of Chinese Art Cinema: 1990-2003. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

The Formation of Chinese Art Cinema: 1990-2003 examines the development of Chinese art film in the People’s Republic of China from 1990, when the first Sixth Generation film Mama was released, to 2003, when the authorities acknowledged the legitimacy of underground filmmakers. Through an exploration of the production and consecration mechanisms of the new art wave and its representative styles, this book argues that the art wave of the 1990s fundamentally defined Chinese art cinema. In particular, this vital art wave was not enabled by democratic liberalism, but by the specific industrial development, in which the film system was transitioning from Socialist propaganda into a commercialized entity in the 1990s. Allowing Chinese art film to grow but denying its legitimacy, this paradoxical process shaped Chinese art film’s institutional and aesthetic alternative positioning, which helped to consolidate the art wave into art cinema. Ultimately, The Formation of Chinese Art Cinema is a history of the Chinese portion of global art cinema, one which also reveals the complex Chinese cultural experiences in the Reform Era. Continue reading

Composing Modernist Connections in China and Europe

I would like to call the list members’ attention to the publication of Composing Modernist Connections in China and Europe, edited by me and published by Routledge in the series “Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature.” Here is the link to the publisher’s website, followed by a blurb:

Global modernisms are marked by tremendous transformations in lifestyle, historical consciousness, cultural values, ethics, wars, and crises. This book emphasizes modernist connections within literature, culture, history, and media beyond the nation state and the bifurcation between East and West. Instead of deconstructing and separating, Composing Modernist Connections in China and Europe composes and forges new combinations, linkages, and translations that place Chinese and European modernisms on an equal footing. This book features contributions on James Joyce, Stefan George, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Anna Seghers, Qian Zhongshu, Weimar labor modernism, Chinese wartime literature, Chinese movies in divided Germany, and Sinophone modernity among other subjects.

Chunjie Zhang <>

European Journal of Chinese Studies–cfp

CfP: “Censorship and Self-censorship – China and Chinese Studies”
European Journal of Chinese Studies; Volume 1; No. 1, 2020

For its first edition, the European Journal of Chinese Studies invites scholars to submit papers dealing with aspects of censorship and self-censorship in pre-modern, modern, and contemporary China. We welcome unpublished papers that discuss the historical continuities and discontinuities of censorship, the language and discourses of censorship in Chinese and transnational settings.

Historical and political dimensions: Traditions and discourses of censorship Censorship today is a constant and well-established factor in the development of Chinese media and culture. The peoples under Chinese rule have lived with agents of censorship and daily practices of self-censorship from the early stages of the empire up until the establishment of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China in Taiwan. From the first Emperor of Qin’s burning of books to the inherently censored writing of Standard histories by official scribes, censorship as well as ways to avoid it (through metaphorical criticism or the use of commentaries to foster one’s own ideas and ideals) have been central to the imperial history. In contemporary China, state-censorship “is not a cloak-and-dagger business” (Van Crevel 2017) but part of social and political practices and discourses. It re-shapes visibilities and discourses with its own reading and sensitiveness for all participants. Some observers suggest that censorship enhances self-discipline and has becom e an active part of contemporary Chinese cultural life. Beyond the question of how censorship is organized, we are interested in papers that analyse China’s social and political discourses about censorship. Continue reading

Ball Lightning

Source: China Daily (10/26/18)
The science of a good story
By Mei Jia

The English version of Liu Cixin’s Ball Lightning hits the global book market in August.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Two months after the English version of Ball Lightning hit the international book market in August, sci-fi writer Liu Cixin headed for the 2018 Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany.

There, following the book fair, Liu met with fans and gave talks and interviews at a university, in an old coal mine and several more venues across four German cities over the course of a week. According to local reports, he was received enthusiastically, as the second book of his Three Body trilogy, The Dark Forest, was still hot off the presses after its German-language release.

This time, however, as well as his critically acclaimed trilogy, Liu is armed with another recently translated novel-a story about tragedy, obsession and cutting-edge weapons.

The story begins on Chen’s 14th birthday, when his parents are killed in front of him, turned to ash after being hit by ball lightning.

Chen makes it his life’s mission to uncover the mysteries of the natural phenomenon in college, trying to figure out the mathematical pattern behind its random occurrence and movements. Continue reading

Revolutionary Bodies

Revolutionary Bodies: Chinese Dance and the Socialist Legacy
By Emily Wilcox
University of California Press, 2018

Revolutionary Bodies is the first English-language primary source–based history of concert dance in the People’s Republic of China. Combining over a decade of ethnographic and archival research, Emily Wilcox analyzes major dance works by Chinese choreographers staged over an eighty-year period from 1935 to 2015. Using previously unexamined film footage, photographic documentation, performance programs, and other historical and contemporary sources, Wilcox challenges the commonly accepted view that Soviet-inspired revolutionary ballets are the primary legacy of the socialist era in China’s dance field. The digital edition of this title includes nineteen embedded videos of selected dance works discussed by the author.

At publication date, a free ebook version of this title will be available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program. Visit to learn more.

Xu Jilin, ‘The New Tianxia’

Source: Reading the China Dream (10/15/18)
Xu Jilin, “The New Tianxia: Rebuilding China’s Internal and External Order”[1]
Translation by Mark McConaghy, Tang Xiaobing, and David Ownby

Introduction by David Ownby

Although the major themes of this 2015 essay are found in many of Xu’s essays, they are woven together here in an imaginative way to address a topic that Xu does not often address—Chinese foreign policy.  He starts with a fairly familiar presentation of the traditional notion of tianxia 天下 (literally “all under heaven”) which, in Xu’s words, connoted both “an ideal civilizational order, and a world spatial imaginary with China’s central plains at the core.”  In one sense, then, China was tianxia, the embodiment, when the system functioned at its best, of the set of principles that justified imperial Confucian rule.  But tianxia was open, not closed; like the 20th century American dream,tianxia was understood, by the Chinese, as a kind of universalism to which other cultures could aspire.  Xu illustrates his point less through discussion of China’s traditional tribute system, and more through exploration of the historical relations between the Han people and the various non-Han “barbarian groups” on China’s peripheries, his point being that the processes of assimilation, borrowing, and integration were multiple, complex, and non-problematic at an ideological level.  In other words, prior to the arrival of the notion of the nation-state, “Chinese” and “barbarian” were not understood in racial terms but in civilizational terms.  An open, universal tianxia welcomed Asia’s “huddled masses” as long as they recognized tianxia’s brilliance. Continue reading

Made in China 3.3

Dear Colleagues,

I am glad to announce the publication of the latest issue of Made in China, the open access quarterly on Chinese labour and civil society supported by the Australian Centre on China in the World, the Australian National University. You can download the pdf for free and subscribe at this link: Below you can find the editorial of the new issue:

On a Chinese Screen: Media, Power, and Voice in China

The previous decade saw widespread discussions about the role of the Internet in reshaping power relations in Chinese society. New media—it was widely believed—would give voice to the poor and downtrodden, allow citizens to better supervise government activity, and foster lively cultural exchanges. Workers would also benefit from this, as the Internet provided them with the tools needed to bring their grievances into the spotlight and enhance their ability to connect with their peers to establish new forms of solidarity. A decade later, what is left of that cyber-utopian discourse? As the Chinese Party-state steps up the censorship and manipulation of online information, and as new media is increasingly used as a means to reinforce control and surveillance over the population, a more sombre assessment of the role of the Internet seems to have gained traction in the court of public opinion. The scandals that in recent years have engulfed those social media companies that in the late 2000s and early 2010s gave rise to many of those thwarted expectations—Facebook in primis—have nothing but contributed to the disillusion. Continue reading

Cross-Currents no. 28

New China-Related Content: Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review (September 2018 online issue):


Special issue: “Writing Revolution Across Northeast Asia”
(guest edited by Steven S. Lee, UC Berkeley)

Introduction to “Writing Revolution Across Northeast Asia”
Steven S. Lee, University of California, Berkeley

Rethinking World Literature through the Relations between Russian and East Asian Literatures
Heekyoung Cho, University of Washington

Boris Pilniak and Sergei Tretiakov as Soviet Envoys to China and Japan and Forgers of New, Post-Imperial Narratives (1924–1926)
Katerina Clark, Yale University

Afterword: Mapping Socialism Across Eurasia

Edward Tyerman, University of California, Berkeley Continue reading

CL&WL 3.1

We are pleased to announce the publication of Vol. 3.1 of Comparative Literature & World Literature (CL&WL). Please feel free to browse and/ or download articles, dialogues and reviews from our website

Comparative Literature & World Literature (CL&WL) Vol. 3, No. 1, 2018.

Entire issue:

1. Comparative Literature and Comparative Cultural Studies: An Interview with Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek
By Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek (European Academy of Sciences and Arts), Zhang Cha (Sichuan Normal University)

2. “I’m an Old-fashioned Chinese-style Scholar Who Writes in English”: An Interview with Professor Richard John Lynn
By Richard John Lynn (University of Toronto), Shi Guang (Beijing Normal University)

3. The Interdisciplinary Nature of Literature and Theology and its Potential Value
By Yang Huilin (Renmin University of China), Translated by Chloë Starr and Zhang Jing Continue reading

Bamboo and Silk 2.1

A new issue of the journal Bamboo and Silk now available! Below, please find the table of contents and see the link for more information:

Volume 2, Issue 1, 2019
ISSN: 2468-9238
E-ISSN: 2468-9246

“On Reading Xiehou 邂逅 (“Chance Meeting”) as Xing hou 邢侯 (“Marquis of Xing”) (邂逅“邢侯”),” by Liu Gang (劉剛), pp.: 1–15 (15)

“Seeking an Audience in the Underworld and the Question of the Han Juridical Soul (向地下官吏請謁:漢代法律意義下的靈魂),” by Ethan Harkness (郝益森), pp.: 16–31 (16)

“To Turn Soybeans into Gold: a Case Study of Mortuary Documents from Ancient China (“黃卷以當金”:古代中國隨葬文獻個案分析),” by Jiang Wen (蔣文), pp.: 32–51 (20)

“From “Clothing Strips” to Clothing Lists: Tomb Inventories and Western Han Funerary Ritual (從“衣物簡”到衣物疏——遣策與西漢的喪葬禮儀),” by Tian Tian (田天), pp.: 52–86 (35)

“Newly Unearthed Wooden Figures for Averting Misfortune from Yangzhou (揚州新出土五代解除木人研究),” by Cheng Shaoxuan (程少軒) and Liu Gang (劉剛), pp.: 87–103 (17)

“Summary of Research Published in 2015 on Bamboo and Wood Manuscripts from the Qin through Jin Dynasties (2015 年秦漢魏晉簡牘研究概述),” by Lu Jialiang (魯家亮) and Li Jing (李靜), pp.: 104–140 (37)

Posted by: Lauren Bissonette <>

Bulletin of the Institute of Modern History no. 100

Bulletin of the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, no. 100

The latest issue of Bulletin of the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Vol. 100 is now available online at:



Tensions between Gentry and Merchant Cultures: Advertising Papers as an Aspect of Consumer Society and Cultural History
By Wu Jen-shu

“Pacifying the Wildland”: The Larut Wars and the Beginning of the He Xiangu Cult in British Malaya
By Hsiao-ching Liao

Household Necessities: Popular Science in The Ladies’ Journal (Funü zazhi) before the May Fourth Movement, 1915-1919
By Hsiang-Fu Huang Continue reading