Teaching Global Community in an Age of Anti-Immigration

PODCAST: Teaching Global Community in An Age of Anti-Immigration, with Eileen Chengyin Chow

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/fairbank-center/teaching-global-community-in-an-age-of-anti-immigration-with-eileen-chow

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/teaching-global-community-in-age-anti-immigration-eileen/id1255938359?i=1000390848201&mt=2

What role is there for storytelling and roleplay in teaching about Chinatowns and Chinese diasporas?

The “Harvard on China” podcast talks to Eileen Chengyin Chow, Professor in Duke University’s Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Co-Director of Duke’s Story Lab, director of the Shewo Institute of Chinese Journalism at Shih Hsin University, and Harvard alum. She is the author of the forthcoming “Chinatown States of Mind,” as well as the co-translator with Carlos Rojas of Yu Hua’s two-volume novel “Brothers” and the co-editor of the “Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas.”

The “Harvard on China” podcast is hosted by James Evans at Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.

You can subscribe to the “Harvard on China” podcast on iTunes, or listen on Soundcloud, Stitcher, and other podcast apps.

LARB China Channel

Dear MCLCers,

The Los Angeles Review of Books will launch its new China Channel this fall. The China Channel will host a broad range of writing and multimedia about China and the Sinophone world, with an emphasis on literature and culture, and will be accessible to a general audience.

As a commissioning editor, I invite you to pitch and submit essays, book reviews, and multimedia content. Please send your ideas and work to larbchinachannel@gmail.com.

Feel free to email me as well at anne.henochowicz@gmail.com. I look forward to reading/seeing/hearing your submissions. Continue reading

Anthologized without being told?

I recall a discussion in this list about translated books—books of literature, even—being reviewed without any mention of the translator.

Well, this is a little different.  I was getting my usual dose of enjoyment and enlightenment from a great book review by Perry Link in the New York Review of Books—in this case, a review of Yunte Huang’s The Big Red Book of Modern China Literature (along with a new book of Mao poems). It was from April 7, 2016.  I’m a little behind in my reading…  The Huang book has a generous assortment of authors and works, so out of curiosity I brought up the table of contents on Amazon.  I confess I am drawn to mentions of Shen Congwen—I’ll leave it to your imagination to guess how often I do Kinkley searches.  The anthology has excerpts from Border Town!  Wow, I thought, so there’s a fifth translation of that great work, so soon after mine?  Nope, Jeffrey Kinkley is acknowledged as the translator at the end.  Who knew?  Not me!  (W. W. Norton was the publisher of both books.) Well, I was listed as the translator, so I guess I should be grateful for small favors.

–Jeffrey Kinkley <jeffreykinkley@gmail.com

Theodore de Bary dies at 97

Source: NYT (7/17/17)
Wm. Theodore de Bary, Renowned Columbia Sinologist, Dies at 97

Burton Watson, 1925-2017 (3)

The NYT has finally published an obituary for Burton Watson.–Kirk

Source: NYT (5/3/17)
Burton Watson, 91, Influential Translator of Classical Asian Literature, Dies

Burton Watson, whose spare, limpid translations, with erudite introductions, opened up the world of classical Japanese and Chinese literature to generations of English-speaking readers, died on April 1 in Kamagaya, Japan. He was 91.

His death was confirmed by his nephew William Dundon.

For nearly six decades, Mr. Watson was a one-man translation factory, producing indispensable English versions of Chinese and Japanese literary, historical and philosophical texts, dozens of them still in print. Generations of students and teachers relied on collections like “Early Chinese Literature” (1962), “Chinese Lyricism: Shih Poetry From the Second to the Twelfth Century” (1971), “From the Country of Eight Islands: An Anthology of Japanese Poetry” (1981) and “The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry: From Early Times to the 13th Century” (1984). Continue reading

The Age of Irreverence wins Levenson Prize

Source: China Heritage (nd)
幽默: You Having a Laugh? The Birth of Humour in Modern China

Christopher Rea’s The Age of Irreverence: A New History of Laughter in China (University of California Press, 2015) was awarded the Joseph Levenson Book Prize (Post-1900 China) at the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies in March 2017. The prize is given in recognition of books that offer ‘the greatest contribution to increasing understanding of the history, culture, society, politics, or economy of China’ during the preceding year.

The citation for Chris Rea’s award reads, in part:

The Age of Irreverence offers a fresh perspective on the late Qing and early Republican era, focusing on the use of humor. The book balances with levity the better-known accounts of this period as steeped in ponderous intellectual debates. Rea taps into previously ignored sources, honing on parodic verses and essays, fantastic novels, cartoons, amusement halls, and photography, to show how these and other materials produced “cultures of mirth.” As the book demonstrates, the discourse of irreverence, manifested in specific practices, took part in forming and challenging claims to modernity.

Christopher Rea is Associate Professor of Asian Studies and former director of the Centre for Chinese Research at the University of British Columbia. Among other things, he was also in the first group of Post-doctoral Fellows at the Australian Centre on China in the World, founded in 2010, and during his time in the Centre he pursued work on this book project. Chris also contributed generously to China Heritage Quarterly and, with William Sima, was the co-guest editor of the last issue of that journal, the focus of which was The China Critic. He is also the editor of China’s Literary Cosmopolitans: Qian Zhongshu, Yang Jiang, and the World of Letters (Brill, 2015) and Humans, Beasts, and Ghosts: Stories and Essays by Qian Zhongshu (Columbia, 2011), as well as being co-editor, with Nicolai Volland, of The Business of Culture: Cultural Entrepreneurs in China and Southeast Asia, 1900-60 (UBC Press, 2015). Continue reading

Burton Watson, 1925-2017 (2)

Thanks for the links, Magnus. I’m glad to see an official obituary, finally.

I’ve been collecting remembrances from Watson’s friends, students, and fans—scholars, translators, and poets—on my blog, and so far have put up pieces by Victor Mair, Jesse Glass, Jeffrey Yang, John Bradley, Jonathan Chaves, Sam Hamill, J. P. Seaton, Chloe Garcia Roberts, Deb Wallwork and Mike Hazard, and  John Timothy Wixted. You can see them all here: http://xichuanpoetry.com/?cat=1774

Lucas Klein <lklein@hku.hk>

Burton Watson, 1925-2017 (1)

More notes on Burton Watson, the great translator and scholar, who just passed away.




I myself only spoke to him once. But I have enjoyed his work tremendously over the years, and also used it in teaching. It shines with the same generosity that came across in his voice that one time.

— Magnus Fiskesjö <nf42@cornell.edu>

Interview with Mark Bender

Dear Colleagues,

The following is an interview with Professor Mark Bender (The Ohio State University) about his new book, The Borderlands of Asia: Culture, Place, Poetry, which was released last month at the 2017 AAS conference in Toronto. This unprecedented volume presents important cultural works from the borders, margins, buffer zones, transitional areas, and frontiers from within and around the megastates of China and India, subsumed within the larger geopolitical constructs of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. Many are from communities of poets or individuals writing within the watersheds of the Eastern Himalayas, an area encompassing Northeast India, Myanmar, and Southwest China. A number are from farther north in Western China and the steppes of Inner Mongolia and the nation of Mongolia. This book is a rare collection that brings together the works of poets of diverse cultural backgrounds located in places that are only beginning to be recognized globally as sites of intense poetic work. Major themes that penetrate these works are rapid environmental change and subsequent effects on traditional culture and challenges to ethnic and personal identity. These concerns are often framed within imagery of the local folk culture and local geographic environment, which are under increasing pressures of development by local and international governments and business enterprises. You can also watch Professor Mark Bender’s speech about his book at the AAS Cambria Press reception (or read the transcript of his speech). The Borderlands of Asia is part of the Cambria Sinophone World Series, headed by Professor Victor H. Mair (University of Pennsylvania). Continue reading

Remembering Wang Xiaobo

Source: LA Review of Books Blog (April 11, 2017)
Commemorating and Anti-Authoritarian Provocateur: Reflections on Wang Xiaobo (May 13, 1952-April 11, 19997)
By Sebastian Veg

Wang Xiaobo, an important Chinese literary and intellectual figure who died of a heart attack 20 years ago this week at the age of 44, remains largely unknown to the reading public outside China.  Only a few novellas and one important essay of his have been translated into English.  In China, by contrast, his popularity reached unprecedented heights in the late 1990s, and he was even included posthumously (with five other “emeriti”) on the first list of China’s 50 “most influential public intellectuals” published in 2004. Even now, his books are still reprinted and widely read: Changjiang Literature and Art has just published a new seven-volume selection of his writings to mark the anniversary of his death. Continue reading

Yu Xiuhua visits Stanford

Poet Yu Xiuhua Visits Stanford University

Generously sponsored by the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (the Confucius Institute), and co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and the Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Stanford University presents to you:

A Film about and Conversation with POET YU XIUHUA:  诗人余秀华对话斯坦福

Yu Xiuhua has been hailed as “China’s Emily Dickinson,” although she refuses the label, insisting that her singularity defies such comparisons. Having shared hundreds of poems on her blog, Yu rose to fame in 2014 when her poem “Crossing Over Half of China to Sleep with You” went viral online. She has since then published three best-selling books of poetry. Sensual, rebellious, at once lyrical and dark, her poetry often expresses a yearning for human connections. The public reception, however, has relentlessly exploited her disability (cerebral palsy) and rural background, labeling her as a “brain-paralyzed peasant poet.” In 2016, Fan Jian made a documentary film Still Tomorrow that chronicles Yu’s transformation from a farmer living in rural China to a public figure appearing on national TV shows; it also documents her struggle to end her 20-year-long arranged marriage. Still Tomorrow won the prestigious IDFA Special Jury Award for Feature-Length Documentary. Yu and Fan will come to Stanford for a poetry reading and film screening. And a roundtable discussion will look at how multiple minority identities such as gender, class, and disability intersect in Yu’s rise to national fame in the age of social media.

See film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wq3iN2P4toI Continue reading

MLA forum in ancient/medieval Chinese lit

Please endorse the creation of a new MLA forum in ancient/medieval Chinese literature!

Within the Modern Language Association, forums are the basic organizational unit to focus scholarly discussion around certain periods and topics in literary history.  After a 2014 reorganization of the MLA’s structure, forums in Ming-Qing Chinese Literature and Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature were successfully established; however, a third forum, in “Pre-14th Century Chinese Literature” failed to get the requisite number of endorsements, and has since languished in the status of a “prospective forum”. Continue reading

Liu Cixin nominated again for Hugo Award

Source: China Daily (4/6/17)
Chinese sci-fic writer nominated for second Hugo Award
China Plus

Chinese sci-fic writer nominated for second Hugo Award

Front cover of Death’s End, a third novel in Chinese writer Liu Cixin’s trilogy Remembrance of Earth’s Past. [File photo]

The finalists for the 2017 Hugo Awards, which celebrate the year’s best in science fiction or fantasy works, were announced online by Worldcon 75 on Tuesday.

Chinese writer Liu Cixin, who was the first Asian writer to win the award, was nominated again this year for Death’s End, a third novel in his trilogy Remembrance of Earth’s Past. Liu previously won the award in 2015 for the first book in the trilogy, The Three-Body Problem.

Experienced American science-fiction translator Ken Liu again helped Liu to translate Death’s End, as he did on The Three-Body Problem. Ken Liu’s English translation was considered a great contribution to Liu Cixin’s Hugo-Award winning novel in 2015. Continue reading

Burton Watson, 1925-2017

Source: Notes on the Mosquito (4/3/17)
Burton Watson, 1925 – 2017

https://i1.wp.com/xichuanpoetry.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/A41A6373-2.jpg?resize=229%2C307Burton Watson, the greatest translator of premodern poetry and prose from Chinese and Japanese, passed away on the evening of April 1, 2017, at Hatsutomi Hospital in Kamagata City, Chiba, Japan. He was 91.

I have so far been unable to find an obituary. I am reposting “Not Altogether an Illusion: Translation and Translucence in the Work of Burton Watson,” which I wrote for World Literature Today, published in May of 2014.

Ascent and grounding describe as well Watson’s reconciliation of the scholarly and poetic demands of translation: the solidity of his knowledge of classical Chinese finds expression in an English that calls attention to itself primarily in how it barely calls attention to itself. It is an extension of the overall architecture of the regulated verse form, down to the “succession of highly disciplined maneuvers” that define the antithetical parallelism of their middle couplets at their best. Where others have presented poetry and translation as forever at odds, Watson’s work sees this conflict as its own static tableau and reduces it to a productive part of his own translational poetics.

Lucas Klein

Open letter on Feng Chongyi’s situation

Dear colleagues,

In response to the situation currently faced by our Sydney colleague Feng Chongyi (http://www.smh.com.au/national/uts-professor-chongyi-fengs-daughter-yunsi-feng-calls-for-his-return-to-australia-20170330-gva8n6.html), concerned scholars have worked together to draft and collect initial signatures on an open letter in support of Feng. 

If you would like to sign this open letter, please email scholars.for.feng@gmail.com with your name and affiliation. Please also feel welcome to share the content of this message with anyone else who may be interested in signing.

I appreciate your taking the time to consider this.


Kevin Carrico <scholars.for.feng@gmail.com>

An open letter to President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang 

Dear President Xi and Prime Minister Li, 

We the undersigned are members of the global China Studies community.  We are deeply concerned by the travel restrictions recently placed upon Professor Feng Chongyi of the University of Technology Sydney, which have prevented him from departing the People’s Republic of China and returning to his workplace and family in Sydney since last week. Continue reading