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: 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 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 (, 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 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 <>

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

RMMLA news


News from the Rocky Mountain Modern Language association. We have a new website: <>. You can access it and renew your membership on line. The Call for Papers has been extended to April 1st, but we already have a huge number of submissions in Chinese Studies and East Asian Comparative Studies. We are on track to have about 15 sessions on Chinese and/or East Asian Comparative, with between 50 and 60 presentations.

The conference this year will be October 12-14 at the Davenport Grand in Spokane. I just stayed there and checked it out, and it is an amazing hotel. Staying at the Davenport Grand gives one amenities privileges at the Historic Davenport Hotel (about 5 blocks away), widely considered to be the best hotel in the Pacific Northwest (US).

RMMLA now has a listserve: <>, which is mainly being used for conference planning updates.

I look forward to seeing all of you presenting at the RMMLA Convention in Spokane this October!

Christopher Lupke, Ph. D.  陸敬思
Professor and Chair, Department of East Asian Studies

Faculty of Arts
University of Alberta
3-32A Pembina Hall
Edmonton, AB T6G 2H8

China writers remember Robert Silvers

Source: China File (3/22/17)
China Writers Remember Robert Silvers
A ChinaFile Conversation

David Shankbone—Wikimedia Commons. Robert Silvers at the National Book Critics Circle Awards, March 8, 2012, when he was awarded the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ian Johnson

A few years ago, Bob got a call from a young woman representing the Shanghai Review of Books. She came by to interview him and also to float an idea: China had a burgeoning middle class and many were eager for the sort of broad-ranging intellectual discussions that had made The New York Review of Books famous. Her publication had even named itself after his. Wouldn’t it be great if the two publications cooperated? How about it?

Bob recounted this story to me several times, always fascinated by the meeting. He thought the interviewer was sharp and incisive and he was flattered that a publication would name itself after the magazine that he and Barbara Epstein had founded half a century earlier. But he didn’t need to consider his answer. It was obviously no; the Shanghai publication, however good, had too many limitations. How could he be loyal to his writers and their memory—especially to Fang Lizhi, Liu Xiaobo, and the others influenced by the Tiananmen Massacre—if he cooperated with a publication that couldn’t mention their names? Continue reading

Celebrating the life and work of Yu Jing

Source: China Media Project (11/28/16)
Celebrating the Life and Work of Yu Jing
By David Bandurski


Yu Jing soon after her enlistment in the People’s Liberation Army.

YU JING (于劲), an award-winning writer of Chinese literary reportage, died on Saturday, November 26, at Hong Kong’s Princess Margaret Hospital. She was 63.Yu died of illness early afternoon Saturday surrounded by her husband, Qian Gang, director of the China Media Project and author of The Great Tangshan Earthquake, family members and friends.An accomplished army writer and a member of the China Writers’ Association, Yu published under the pen name Xiao Yu (肖于). She was perhaps best known for her two-volume work of literary reportage, The Debacle in Shanghai: 1949. A native of Zhejiang province, Yu spent her youth during the Cultural Revolution working as an agricultural labourer in the countryside. She enlisted in the army in 1971 and later became a specialist writer for the Nanjing Military Command. She graduated from the People’s Liberation Army Academy of Arts in 1986, studying alongside noted friends and fellow writers including Mo Yan, 2012 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature.Yu Jing’s works include Doom (厄运), a long-form work of literary nonfiction, and several novellas, including Souls at Rest (安魂), Melting Snow (融雪), and Under the Blue Sky (蓝天下,有一辆军列). Yu received the Youth Literary Prize in 1982 for her short story Cracking Melon Seeds (困了,嗑点瓜子, and the Kunlun Prize in 1983 for her story Sweep of Red Earth (绵亘红土地).

Chinese Studies Research Group, 3/4

Please join us for the 2nd meeting of the academic year for the Chinese Studies Research Group (San Francisco Bay Area).

This group is designed to create a sense of community among Chinese Studies scholars in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our meetings are an opportunity to hear and discuss interesting research in progress (typically from one faculty member and one doctoral candidate) and to network with people with similar interests.

Date: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Location: University of San Francisco, Fromm Hall, Maier Room

Blogging in A Heritage Language: Epistemic Stance and Identity Positioning of Chinese Heritage Language Learners 
Yang Xiao-Desai, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, San Francisco State University

A Re-examination of He Zhu’s 1096 Restored Poem of Being Moved and Lodging the Feelings in Words
Stuart Sargent, Independent Scholar Continue reading

David Keightley (1932-2017)

We have lost a giant in Chinese studies. David Keightley was a wonderful person and scholar whose work on ancient China and its antecedents inspired me a lot, and is highly relevant to modern China studies, too, especially because of the intense struggles today, over how to understand China’s past. I was lucky to meet him one last time, when he graced my presentation on just that topic, at Berkeley two years ago. In sadness, Magnus Fiskesjö <> Continue reading

5th Newman Festival

The University of Oklahoma is hosting the 5th Newman Festival March 2-3, 2017. All listed events are free and open to the public.


2:30–4pm   Salon on Chinese Literature, in Chinese 

Featuring Newman laureate Wang Anyi, scholars Dai Jinhua and Wang Ban, and translator Andrea Lingenfelter; moderated by Ping Zhu

(Reception 2-2:30pm)

Bizzell Memorial Library, Fourth Floor, West

7–9pm   Poetry reading by Taiwanese poet Ye Mimi and her translator Steve Bradbury

Featuring His Days Go By the Way Her Years: Poems by Ye Mimi

Mainsite Art Gallery, 122 E Main St, Norman, OK Continue reading

Stephen Song translation studies awards 2016-17

Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards (2016–2017)
I. Call for Entries
RCT invites Chinese scholars or research students in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau or overseas regions to participate the 19th Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards (2016–2017). General regulations are as follows:
II. General regulations
(i) All Chinese scholars or research students affiliated to higher education/research institutes in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau or overseas regions are eligible to apply.
(ii) Submitted articles must be written in either Chinese or English and published in a refereed journal within the calendar year 2016. Each candidate can enter up to two articles for the Awards. The publication date, title and volume/number of the journal in which the article(s) appeared must be provided.
(iii) Up to three articles are selected as winners each year. A certificate and a cheque of HK$3,000 will be awarded for each winning entry.
(iv) The adjudication committee, which consists of renowned scholars in Translation Studies from Greater China, will meet in May 2017. The results will be announced in June 2017 and winners will be notified individually.
(v) Articles submitted will not be returned to the candidates.
(vi) Two new submission mechanisms have been introduced since 2010 to the Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards. They are:
Nomination: scholars are welcome to nominate outstanding journal articles in the field for the Awards.
Email submission: in addition to mail-in submissions, electronic or scanned journal papers via emails are also accepted.
III. Submission
Entries can be made by email attachment or by post (postmarked on or before the deadline). For email submission, please attach a scanned PDF version of the published article. For postal submission, please provide the original or a photocopy of the journal entry.

Email address:

Postal address: Research Centre for Translation, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong (with “Entry for Awards” marked on the envelope)

All entries should be submitted on or before 28 February 2017. For enquiries, please contact Ms Eppie Wang (

Continue reading

Marilyn B. Young in memoriam (1-5)

Oh No! This is a huge loss for our discipline and also, for her country. I knew her through her work on Vietnam. But in 2008, when I was presenting a paper on the Mediterranean during the Cold War at Columbia, she dropped in to listen to it. I was awestruck. This larger than life historian was there actually asking questions of me and patiently listening to my answers. Afterwards, we had a long chat. She was direct and shared her knowledge generously. For women historians like me, she was a pathbreaker and we owe her so, so much! RIP

Dr Effie G. H. Pedaliu <>


Stunned and grieving. Mario Corona. Milan, Italy.

Mario Corona <>


Marilyn Young was a major contributor to a wonderful period in NYU History Department’s history.

Jeff Donnelly <> Continue reading