Queer Marxism in Two Chinas review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Jia Tan’s review of Queer Marxism in Two Chinas (Duke UP, 2015), by Petrus Liu. The review appears below, but is best read at its online home here: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/jia-tan/. My thanks to Jason McGrath, MCLC book review editor for media studies, for ushering the review to publication.


Kirk A. Denton, editor

Queer Marxism in Two Chinas

By Petrus Liu

Reviewed by Jia Tan
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright June, 2017)

Petrus Liu, Queer Marxism in Two Chinas. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015. 256pp. ISBN: 978-0-8223-5972-2 (Cloth: $84.95) ISBN: 978-0-8223-6004-9 (Paperback: $23.95)

In the past two decades, the term “queer” has gained increasing academic momentum in China studies across disciplines such as history, sociology, anthropology, film and media studies, communication, and literary studies. What does it mean to queer China studies, and where is this emergent field of queer China studies moving? And conversely, what is the significance of this sub-field for the broader field of queer studies? Petrus Liu’s Queer Marxism in Two Chinas is a timely and highly original book that provides theoretical interventions to the above questions. Taking into account the geopolitical implication of the “two Chinas,” the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, Liu proposes the framework of queer Marxism as an antidote to major debates and concerns in both queer studies and area studies. Continue reading

Shanghai film industry

Source: Sixth Tone (6/22/17)
Is Shanghai’s Film Industry in Terminal Decline?
The city was once renowned worldwide as the ‘Eastern Hollywood,’ so why do its studios lie empty today?
By Chen Changye

This article is the first in a series about the history of filmmaking in Shanghai.

From left to right, the portraits of Ruan Lingyu, Butterfly Wu, and Chow Hsuan, the most prominent Chinese film stars of the 1930s and 1940s, are displayed at Jiangning Imperial Silk Manufacturing Museum in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, May 1, 2013. Liu Birong/IC

The Shanghai International Film Festival is in full swing, welcoming filmmakers and moviegoers from across the world. Yet in the last few years, the festival’s continued presence has posed a slightly embarrassing question to the city’s residents: When will Shanghai’s film industry rise again? Continue reading

Our Seventeen review

Source: SCMP (6/20/17)
Film review: Our Seventeen – Angela Yuen makes impressive star turn in Macau youth drama
Playing a mean-spirited teen who channels her family problems into music and schoolyard bullying, Yuen’s uncannily natural performance alongside singer-songwriter Sean Pang shows she could be a star in the making
By Edmund Lee

From left: Kyle Li, Mary Ma, Angela Yuen, Sean Pang and King Wu in the film Our Seventeen (category IIB; Cantonese, Putonghua), directed by Emily Chan.

A group of troubled high-school students look to rise above their broken family backgrounds and pursue their music dreams in the diverting, if haphazardly scripted, Our Seventeen.

The second narrative film by Macau writer-director Emily Chan Nga-lei – and a full-length spin-off from her eponymous short film from 2014 – it shows a marked improvement over Chan’s first feature, Timing, also from 2014, which was screened at a Hong Kong “premiere” but never received a proper release in the city.

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Vol. 29, no. 1 of MCLC

We are pleased to announce publication of vol. 29, no. 1 (Spring 2017) of Modern Chinese Literature and Culture. Find the table of contents below, with links to abstracts. For those of you who are subscribers, you should be receiving your copy within the next few weeks. If you have any questions about your subscription, please contact SHI Jia, my assistant, at mclc@osu.edu. We rely on subscriptions for our survival, so please keep your subscription up to date! Shi Jia will also handle new subscriptions and sales of individual copies. A reminder that essays from back issues of MCLC, with a two-year lag, are available in pdf through JSTOR:


Kirk Denton, editor

Volume 29, Number 1 (Spring 2017)


Fan Ho, poet with a camera

Source: SCMP (6/20/17)
How Fan Ho, Hong Kong’s poet with a camera, found his calling – in his own words
In one of his last interviews, Fan Ho, who died a year ago today, aged 84, recalls how he rediscovered his passion for photography – and some old negatives – to finally gain the recognition and respect he longed for

Chinese to English interpreter needed

Dear list members,

I am a PhD candidate doing a research entitled “Forging Development in Western China: A Case Study on Lanzhou City.” I plan to conduct interviews with experts, scholars, and business people in Lanzhou from July 7 to July 17. I need the help of an interpreter to make Chinese to English translation during interviews. Do anyone knows a suitable person in Lanzhou? Or any suggestion for an online way of finding a translator there.

Best Regards,

Veysel Tekdal <vtekdal@gmail.com>

Universities teach how to go viral

Source: Taipei Times (6/21/17)
In China, universities teach how to go viral online
Young and streaming savvy entrepreneurs, known as ‘wanghong,’ now represent an industry worth billions in a country with 700 million smartphone users
By Albee Zhang  /  AFP, Shanghai

Jiang Mengna live broadcasts in March during a break at the Yiwu Industrial & Commercial College in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, China. Photot: AFP

A 21-year-old student walked around her campus in China using invaluable skills she learned in class: Holding a selfie stick aloft, she livestreamed her random thoughts and blew kisses at her phone.

Jiang Mengna is majoring in “modelling and etiquette” at Yiwu Industrial & Commercial College near Shanghai, aspiring to join the growing ranks of young Chinese cashing in on internet stardom. Continue reading

Project on Taiwan aborigines

Source: Taipei Times (6/21/17)
Spreading the message
A new project is set to boost the international profile of a Taipei museum and provide fresh material for students interested in Taiwan’s Aborigines
By Tony Phillips  /  Contributing reporter in London

Shung Ye museum posters at an exhibit in London in 2015. Photo courtesy of Niki Alsford

Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines (順益台灣原住民博物館) and London’s Centre of Taiwan Studies, part of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), are to cooperate in a two-year research program that will give people in the UK a unique insight into Taiwan’s indigenous peoples. Continue reading

China’s mistress-dispellers

Source: The New Yorker (6/26/17)
Letter from Shanghai
China’s Mistress-Dispellers
How the economic boom and deep gender inequality have created a new industry.
By Jiayang Fan

An escalating divorce rate shows the depth of gender inequality in Chinese society. Illustration by Malika Favre

Yu Ruojian was pleased to learn that his target ran a sex shop. Someone who worked in retail would be used to talking to strangers, and it would be easy, posing as a customer in such an intimate store, to bring the conversation around to personal matters. In March last year, he visited the store, in Wuxi, a city about seventy miles from Shanghai, where he lives. He told the proprietor, a gregarious woman in her forties whom I’ll call Wang, that he was looking for herbal remedies to help a friend whose marital relations were hampered by shyness. They chatted for half an hour before exchanging contact details. “I’ll be back to pester you soon enough,” Yu said as he left. “You’d better!” Wang responded, unaware that she’d walked into the first in a series of carefully laid traps.

A month earlier, Yu had heard from a woman in her fifties, the wife of a factory manager in Wuxi, who explained that her husband was having an affair with Wang. She had tolerated it for years, but now she’d found that he had spent more than two hundred thousand yuan—thirty thousand dollars—on her, savings that should have been going toward their old age and a house for their son. Continue reading

Gaokao essay topic exposes urban-rural inequality

Source: Sup China (6/2017)
Gaokao essay topic exposes urban-rural inequality in China
By Jiayun Feng

It has been almost two weeks since this year’s gaokao (高考 gāokǎo — the nationwide college entrance examination) ended on June 8, but millions of participants are awaiting their test results and the grueling examinations are still a popular conversation topic. Earlier this week, a commentary (in Chinese) by a middle-school teacher in Hubei Province went viral on the Chinese internet. The author argues that an essay question in seven provinces, including Hebei, Hunan, and Guangdong, treats students in rural areas unfairly by including concepts that they are unfamiliar with. Continue reading

Online advice columnists

Source: NYT (6/19/17)
China, Where the Pressure to Marry Is Strong, and the Advice Flows Online

Ayawawa, whose real name is Yang Bingyang, center, at a fan event in Guangzhou, China, last year. “Our world has been hijacked by political correctness,” she said. “I’m criticized for telling the truth about the differences between men and women.” CreditAyawawa

BEIJING — Every evening, Liang Xuemeng goes online to read the latest postings from Ayawawa, one of China’s most popular advice columnists.

“I’ve learned a lot from Ayawawa,” said Ms. Liang, 29, an office clerk in Beijing. “I wish I’d started following her before my first marriage failed.” Continue reading

Feng Xiaogang on ‘trash audience’

Source: Sup China (6/19/17)
Feng Xiaogang blames China’s low-quality films on a ‘trash audience’
By Jiayun Feng

On June 18, in a high-level forum held by the Shanghai International Film Festival, veteran Chinese film director Feng Xiaogang 冯小刚 pointed his finger at Chinese audiences for their bad taste in film.

“Speaking of crap films, why are there so many of them in the Chinese film industry? Is it because the audience is also crap?,” Feng asked (in Chinese), using the term for “trash” (垃圾 lājī). “There must be some kind of connection. If Chinese audiences don’t buy into these crap films, they won’t be produced. But somehow these crap films usually generate more in box office sales than others.” Feng also offered his opinion on young male actors in China, accusing them of being too feminine. “I personally don’t get why they have such a huge appeal to the market. All we see is those over-photoshopped images of them,” Feng added. Continue reading

Book of Xi’s anecdotes

Source: China Daily (6/16/17)
Book of Xi’s anecdotes a best-seller
Volume presents stories president has used in speeches and articles
By LI XIAOKUN | China Daily

Book of Xi's anecdotes a best-seller

The cover of Anecdotes and Sayings of Xi Jinping

A new look at President Xi Jinping’s style and thoughts about China will open a fresh window on his leadership as a book of anecdotes and sayings he has mentioned in his speeches and articles is already gaining widespread interest from bookstores and the public just days after publication.

The book, Anecdotes and Sayings of Xi Jinping, is also winning over literary critics with its informal look on the challenges facing 21st century leadership.

“President Xi Jinping’s public speaking style has two characteristics — it is highly persuasive and has a strong cultural appeal. Reading this book, I’m reminded of his unique charisma,” said Kang Zhen, a professor at the School of Chinese Language and Literature of Beijing Normal University. Continue reading

Reportage and Its Contemporary Variations–special MCLC issue cfp

Reportage and Its Contemporary Variations: A Special Issue of Modern Chinese Literature and Culture
Guest edited by Charles Laughlin and Li Guo

This special issue welcomes essays on reportage narratives in contemporary China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, as well as explorations of nonfiction, documentary, and the art of the real in film, media, theater or visual arts. From late imperial Chinese exploration narratives about Southwest borderlands to modern author Ai Wu’s travel accounts of Yunnan and Burma, from the Leftwing League’s promotion of reportage as a pathway to proletarian realism in the 1930s to the use of cinéma vérité and direct cinema in contemporary documentary filmmaking, Chinese reportage has found expressions in a nexus of genres, reflecting evolving and polyphonic aesthetic modes and cultural discourses. Xiaomei Chen (1985) observes that the assimilation of Chinese reportage as a genre into the canonical literary system attests to the demands of political and literary history and also highlights the reportage reader’s ethical obligations or what Chen called “lectorial competence.” Yingjin Zhang (1993) argues that reportage illustrates “the ideological workings of narrative” and “consciously interpellates individuals (writers, characters and readers) as subjects in their own rights.” Charles Laughlin (2002) proposes that the “association of the crowd and its collective subjectivity with a theatrical narrative space is the basis of the ‘chronotope’ underlying the modern Chinese reportage narratives.” Yin-Hwa Chou (1985), Zuyan Chen (1993), Thomas Moran (1994), Rudolf Wagner (1992), Shenshen Cai (2016) and others contributed rich studies on the hybrid modes and canons of modern and contemporary Chinese reportage, ranging from early twentieth century travel memoirs to chronicles in the new millennium. Continue reading

Marriage rate falls, divorce soars

Source: Sup China (6/16/17)
Marriage rate falls while divorce soars – China’s latest society and culture news
By Jiayun Feng

 New data released by China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs shows that fewer Chinese are getting married while more couples have split up. Since 2014, the number of newly registered marriages has dropped (in Chinese) for three years in a row, with only 11.3 million people choosing to marry in 2016, a 7.5 percent reduction from the previous year. Meanwhile, China’s divorce rate has been on the rise for 14 years, skyrocketing from 1.3 million in 2003 to 4.8 million last year, among which couples born in the 1980s were in the majority.

Continue reading