The Forgotten 1910s

I would like to announce the existence of my new website: “The Forgotten 1910s – 尋找辛亥文風.”

This website is conceived as a translation platform for long ignored literary pieces of the early 1910s. Its main purpose is to provide China focused scholars and students with a representative selection of famous literary works of that time, which covers the end of the Qing empire and the first years of the Republican era. Most of the pieces translated here were written in Classical Chinese, usually in the elite form of pianwen 駢文 (paralleled prose), and serialized in political newspapers such as People’s Rights (Minquanbao 民權報, 1912-1914).

I choose to focus on what I suggest to label “early Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies” (1912-1918) writers. This group, contrary to others novelists and writers often conveniently gathered under the deceptive label “Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies,” manifested and claimed a sense of unity. Acting as leading figures of this group were Xu Zhenya 徐枕亞 (1889-1937), Wu Shuangre 吳雙熱 (1885-1934), Xu Tianxiao 徐天嘯 (1886-1941), Li Dingyi 李定夷 (1890-1963), and Liu Tieleng 劉鐵冷 (1881-1961).

Joachim Boittout <>

China Dispatches

China Dispatches: the best creative non-fiction available now

Paper Republic, One-Way Street Magazine and the LA Review of Books’ China Channel publish new essay by Chinese writer Liang Hong, translated by Michael Day. 

Paper Republic is delighted to announce the publication of a new creative non-fiction essay.

This marks the launch of a second series of Read Paper Republic: China Dispatches, a unique three-way collaboration between Paper RepublicOne-Way Street Magazine (单读) and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ China Channel. The series focuses on translating the best non-fiction coming from China right now – and making it available online, completely free to read.

The first instalment – “A Fortune-teller in a Modern Metropolis” by Liang Hong– is translated by Michael Day. The essay tells the story of Xian Yi, a man in an old profession that is curiously out of step with modern China. Continue reading

The Poetics and Politics of Sensuality in China


Cambria Press is pleased to announce the publication of The Poetics and Politics of Sensuality in China: The “Fragrant and Bedazzling” Movement (1600-1930) by Xiaorong Li.

By charting a history in which sensualist poetry reached unprecedented and unsurpassed heights through late Ming poets, experienced a period of hibernation during most of the Qing, and then reemerged to awaken the senses of late Qing and early Republican readers, The Poetics and Politics of Sensuality in China brings to light an important Chinese literary tradition and underscores intellectual trends that have been neglected, marginalized, misunderstood, and even condemned Continue reading

Mobility as Method

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of an essay by Tong King Lee entitled “Mobility as Method: Distributed Literatures and Semiotic Repertoires” as part of our online series. Too long to post here in its entirety, find below a snippet from the beginning of the essay. The whole essay can be found at:

Kirk A. Denton, editor

Mobility as Method:
Distributed Literatures and Semiotic Repertoires

By Tong King Lee

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright March 2019)

Posters of Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love and 2046.

In this essay, I propose mobility as a method for thinking literature as distributed repertoires, using Hong Kong literature as an illustrative case. In speaking of literary mobility, we first need to come to terms with its nominal counterpoint: the situatedness and place-based nature of writing; in the context of Hong Kong, this is encapsulated by the notion of Sinophone Hong Kong literature (Shih 2008). My argument is that the mobile and the situated are not diametrically opposed; rather, they complement each other within a creative dynamic that enables the local and the global to reciprocally articulate each other in diverse semiotic constellations.

The mobility turn in the social sciences, exemplified by the work of John Urry (2007) and Zygmunt Bauman (2000), has led to lines of inquiry that challenge stable structures and linear patterns, privileging instead the themes of movement and fluidity. More recently, Engseng Ho (2017) proposed the idea of mobile societies, suggesting that premodern Asia be conceptualized as Inter-Asia, a transregional axis constituted by networks of connections and circulations among peoples, goods, and ideas. Here mobility as method represents a theoretical attempt to dislodge the isomorphism between state and society, where the former is a territorialized, bounded political entity and the latter a dispersed concept transcending the perimeters of the polity.

Now what if, instead of mobile societies, we conceive of mobile literatures, defined as spectra of creative semiotic resources moving dynamically between and beyond languages, cultures, and bounded territories? What connections and circulations might emerge from such a distributed view of literature? What are the implications of disaggregating literature from society and dispersing its resources to a global scale, and then reaggregating them back into society, in what Engseng Ho (2017) calls an “outside-in” analysis? [click here to read the whole essay]

Animated Encounters

My monograph, Animated Encounters: Transnational Movements of Chinese Animation 1940s-1970s, is in print now. Thank you all for providing me with the much-needed community support over the past 11 years!

For the table of contents, abstract, and preview, please see

Hope to see some of you soon at the annual conference of AAS in Denver!

Sincerely yours,

Daisy Yan Du <>

Mouse vs. Cat in Chinese Literature

Mouse vs. Cat in Chinese Literature
Tales and Commentary
Translated and Introduced by Wilt L. Idema
Foreword by Haiyan Lee

In literatures worldwide, animal fables have been analyzed for their revealingly anthropomorphic views, but until now little attention has been given to the animal tales of China. The complex, competitive relationship between rodents (vilified as thieves of grain) and the felines with whom they are perennially at war is explored in this presentation of Chinese tales about cats and mice. Master translator Wilt Idema situates them in an overview of animal tales in world literature, in the Chinese literary tradition as a whole, and within Chinese imaginative depictions of animals. Continue reading


New Book: Race in Routledge’s New Critical Idiom series
Race, by Martin Orkin and Alexa Alice Joubin. London: Routledge, 2019;  252 pages. ISBN: 9781138904699

For 20% discount, enter code FLR40

Can Chinese intellectuals in the diaspora be themselves first and a Chinese subject second? Gao Xingjian poses this question in his dramatic works and theory of “cold literature.” Conversely, Julia Kristeva describes her experience of feeling like an ape under the gaze of the other during her visit to China in her book, About Chinese Women (1978). How does racialized thinking inform Japanese and Chinese mythologies, Sun Yat-sen’s republican revolution, performative discourses of “yellow peril” and “yellow fever,” and the relationship between Taiwanese women and their Southeast Asian maids? Continue reading

Ming Qing Studies 2018

edited by PAOLO SANTANGELO, Sapienza University of Rome

We are glad to inform you that Ming Qing Studies 2018 has been issued in November by “Write Up Site”:

MING QING STUDIES is an annual publication focused on late imperial China and the broader geo-cultural area of East Asia during the premodern and modern period. Its scope is to provide a forum for scholars from a variety of fields seeking to bridge the gap between ‘oriental’ and western knowledge. Articles may concern any discipline, including sociology, literature, psychology, anthropology, history, geography, linguistics, semiotics, political science, and philosophy. Contributions by young and post-graduated scholars are particularly welcome.

Provided that the process of double-blind peer-review proceeds with no delay and the scrutiny of our experts confirms the scientificity, scholarly soundness and academic value of the author’s work, it is one of MING QING STUDIES’ commitments to publish the submitted manuscript within one year after its formal acceptance. This would ensure a timely circulation of the author’s research outcomes without imposing hard limits on word counts or compromising the quality of peer-review, which, for publications in the same field, is usually much longer. The average article length is 10.000-15.000 words, but long articles and notes on focused topics are also taken into consideration.

Please find more information on Ming Qing Studies’ past issues and on the CALL FOR PAPERS at: Continue reading

Caring in Times of Precarity

New Book Announcement
Yiu Fai Chow, Caring in Times of Precarity: A Study of Single Women Doing Creative Work in Shanghai (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)

“Drawing on a wonderfully eclectic mix of theory and research, Chow hits the reader time and again with critical and humane insights. Caring in Times of Precarity is a major contribution to studies of creative labour, and a brilliant feminist-inspired sociology of women’s lives in contemporary China.”– David Hesmondhalgh, University of Leeds, UK

“This remarkable book makes a timely scholarly intervention. Provocatively, it supplements the standard Leftist critique of creative labour’s neoliberal precarity with attention to the ethics of self-care. With solidarity and deep respect for these women, Chow reveals the complexities and singularities of their social and affective experience, challenging our understanding of Shanghai, the creative classes, and female individualization.”– Fran Martin, University of Melbourne, Australia Continue reading

China Tripping

China Tripping: Encountering the Everyday in the People’s Republic
Edited by Jeremy A. Murray, Perry Link, and Paul G. Pickowicz
Rowman and Littlefield (2019)

About the Book This unique book is the first to bring together a group of influential China experts to reflect on their cultural and social encounters while travelling and living in the People’s Republic. Filling an important gap, it allows scholars, journalists, and businesspeople to reflect on their personal memories of China. Private experiences—vivid and often entirely unanticipated—often teach more about how a society actually works than a planned course of study can. Such experiences can also expose the sometimes naïve misconceptions visitors often bring with them to China. China experts relate stories that are always interesting but also more: they tell not just anecdotes but telling anecdotes. Why are there no campus maps? (Because, if you don’t know where you’re going and why, you don’t need to be here.) What’s the allure of Mickey Mouse? (He could break all sorts of rules and get away with it.) What’s a sworn brother in China? (Somebody who fights for your honor even when you’re not looking.) Covering nearly a half-century from 1971 to the present, these stories open a vivid window on a rapidly evolving China and on the zigzag learning curve of the China trippers themselves. Continue reading


We are pleased to present issue 9.1 of the Journal of the British Association for Chinese Studies.

This issue focuses on Chinese female (academic) identities in a variety of different contexts starting with a though provoking essay by Yan Wu (University of Swansea) on the experience of being a Chinese female academic in the UK.

Li Meng (Hong Kong Polytechnic University) follows by asking in what ways well-educated Chinese women are stigmatised in popular culture.  Li argues that it is the two motifs of estrangement and escape that reflect how Chinese intellectual women are represented and rendered in the Chinese popular cultural context with frequent animosity, prejudice and discrimination.

Xie Kailing (University of Warwick) investigates how gender affects the career and reproductive choices of China’s well-educated daughters, particularly those working in academia. Drawing on a sub-set of a larger data sample, Xie analyses how the existing socio-political discourse constructs a naturalised female subject bound by reproductive norms and the implication of this for women’s careers. Continue reading

Tiananmen special feature–cfp

Source: Cha Journal Blog (1/9/19)
Call for Submissions: Special Feature on Tiananmen (June 2019)

June 4th.jpeg

Photograph by Aaron Anfinson

4 June 2019 will mark thirty years since the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing, when the Chinese government crushed the nascent democracy movement led by students and workers. The ensuing decades have brought tumultuous changes to the culture, politics, economics of China and the whole world. To honour the struggle of the democracy protesters, mourn their defeat, and take stock of the last three decades, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal is convening a special feature of translations and original English works, to be co-edited by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming and Lucas Klein, for publication in the June 2019 issue of the journal.

We are looking for high-quality and previously unpublished poems, stories, remembrances, essays, and works of creative nonfiction, either originally written in English or translated from any of China’s languages into English, on the topic of the Tiananmen Square democracy movement and its aftermath.

Please email submissions to The subject line should read “Tiananmen—[Your name]—Genre”. The deadline for submissions is 31 March 2019. Please follow our guidelines closely.

Tensions in World Literature

New Publication
Tensions in World Literature: Between the Local and the Universal
Editor: Weigui Fang
Palgrave Macmillan, 2018

This collection gives a diversified account of world literature, examining not only the rise of the concept, but also problems such as the relation between the local and the universal, and the tensions between national culture and global ethics. In this context, it focuses on the complex relationship between Chinese literature and world literature, not only in the sense of providing an exemplary case study, but also as an introspection and re-location of Chinese literature itself. The book activates the concept of world literature at a time when it is facing the rising modern day challenges of race, class, and culture. Continue reading

Chinese Discourse of Happiness

New Publication
Chinese Discourse on Happiness
Edited by Gerda Wielander and Derek Hird
Hong Kong University Press, November 2018

[We are glad to offer a discount to MCLC members to order your book on our website.  Please enter the code ‘MCLC2019’ in the discount box of our website to enjoy 30% off when ordering the books. The offer is valid from 22 Jan – 22 Feb 2019. URL:

Happiness is on China’s agenda. From Xi Jinping’s “Chinese Dream” to online chat forums, the conspicuous references to happiness are hard to miss. This groundbreaking volume analyzes how different social groups make use of the concept and shows how closely official discourses on happiness are intertwined with popular sentiments. The Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to define happiness and well-being around family-focused Han Chinese cultural traditions clearly strike a chord with the wider population. The collection highlights the links connecting the ideologies promoted by the government and the way they inform, and are in turn informed by, various deliberations and feelings circulating in the society. Continue reading