Chinese Crip Poetry as World Literature

Lecture – “Crossing the World to Sleep with You: Chinese Crip Poetry as World Literature,” by Hangping Xu (Oct 19)

We invite you to join us at a hybrid seminar titled “Crossing the World to Sleep with You: Chinese Crip Poetry as World Literature,” featuring Professor Hangping Xu from the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies, UC Santa Barbara.

Wednesday, October 19 at 4:45pm (EST)
G08, Uris Hall, Cornell University & Online
Zoom Registration:

Yu Xiuhua rose to her celebrity status when her poem “Crossing China to Sleep with You” went viral in 2014 on Chinese social media platforms, causing what can be called a cultural event, which director Fan Jian documents in his 2016 film Still Tomorrow. As a female poet who lives with cerebral palsy in rural China, Yu was often labeled by media representations as a “brain-paralyzed peasant poet.” Such a sensationalist labeling strategy exploits her various minority identities. Focusing on the rise of Yu as a “crip” trickster figure, the talk advances a critical account of Chinese internet poetry as transmedial performance. By discussing the politics of translation, the talk also considers Chinese crip poetry as world literature. It cross-examines various English translations of Yu’s sensationally received poem in order to demonstrate a comparative reading practice that strives for an intertextual dialogue among various translations of a given poem. Such a multiplication of translated textuality puts into motion a poem’s rhetoricity and the cultural work that it performs. This comparative approach to translation ultimately invites us to articulate a critical pedagogy of teaching translated literature, namely, cataloging multiple translations of the same text and cross-analyzing the formal and performative tension that they present enables a reading experience and practice that is more cross-culturally vital and ethical.

Hangping Xu specializes in modern and contemporary Chinese literary, cultural, and visual studies, comparative literature, and Taiwan Studies. Situating China in the world and destabilizing the notion of “Chineseness,” his research also pays attention to the history of diaspora, dispersion, immigration, and globalization. His interdisciplinary research engages two significant turns in literary and cultural studies—namely, the affective and the ethical —by foregrounding disability as a mode of critique. It particularly examines “disability aesthetics,” that is, how the disabled body in our cultural imaginaries evokes affective responses, or what can be called “aesthetic nervousness.” It explores the ways in which disability opens up new ethical horizons because its excessively corporeal and often spectacularized embodiment conceptually and aesthetically challenges how a culture defines what it means to be human.

This seminar is organized by the East Asia Program and co-sponsored by the Departments of Comparative Literature and Asian Studies; the Society for Humanities; the Programs in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, LGBT Studies, and Media Studies, Cornell University.

Posted by: SONG HAN

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