Boy’s Love, Cosplay, and Androgynous Idols review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Shana Ye’s review of Boy’s Love, Cosplay, and Androgynous Idols: Fan Cultures in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan (HK University Press, 2017), edited by Maud Lavin, Ling Yang, and Jing Jamie Zhao. The review appears below and can be read online at: My thanks to Jason McGrath, MCLC media studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

Boy’s Love, Cosplay, and Androgynous Idols: Queer
Fan Cultures in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan

Edited by Maud Lavin, Ling Yang, and Jing Jamie Zhao

Reviewed by Shana Ye
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright April, 2019)

Maud Lavin, Ling Yang, and Jing Jamie Zhao, eds. Boys’ Love, Cosplay, and Androgynous Idols: Queer Fan Cultures in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2017. 292 pp. ISBN 978-9888390809 (hardback $60).

Many students in my Gender and East Asian Culture class are amazed by the almost omnipresent representation of androgynous pop idols, sexually ambiguous celebrities, and gender-bending TV shows in both Chinese mainstream media and fan communities. These cultural proliferations seem to contradict what they have in mind of what China is like from the perspective of their everyday North American lives. Some of the students, especially those with a feminist background who are concerned with the relationships between new forms of queer desire and transnational digital capitalism ironically reinscribe queer transgression into stereotypes of “Asian gender/sexual transitions.” For those who themselves are practitioners of boy’s love, cosplay, and queer cultural production, different media industries and grassroots fandom culture provide new windows through which to reflect on questions of nationality, belonging, cosmopolitan identity, and heteropatriarchy. Yet, a large number of the students still have trouble distinguishing China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea from one another. Continue reading

A specter is haunting Xi’s China: Mr. Democracy

Source: NY Review of Books (4/19/19)
A Specter Is Haunting Xi’s China: ‘Mr. Democracy’
By Ian Johnson

Pro-democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square, Beijing, 1989. China’s Communist authorities are wary about the approaching thirtieth anniversary on June 4. Stuart Franklin/Magnum Photos

Beijing—Something strange is happening in Xi Jinping’s China. This is supposed to be the perfect dictatorship, the most sustained period of authoritarianism since the Cultural Revolution ended more than forty years ago, a period of such damning disappointment that all but the regime’s most acquiescent apologists have become cynics or critics. And yet the past few months have also seen something potentially more interesting: the most serious critique of the system in more than a decade, led by people inside China who are choosing to speak out now, during the most sensitive season of the most sensitive year in decades.

The movement started quietly enough, with several brilliant essays written by a Chinese academic that drew an attack from his university bosses, which in turn stirred a backlash among Chinese public intellectuals. None of this means that the Communist Party is getting ready to loosen its icy grip over the country, but it is a remarkable series of events that is challenging what was supposed to be possible in Xi’s China. Continue reading

Pittsburgh position

The Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures of the University of Pittsburgh seeks a Chinese literature specialist for AY2020. The candidate must hold a PhD or be an advanced ABD in Chinese literature, who can teach premodern literature courses as well as courses in other areas. Teaching experience is highly desired but not required. The teaching load will be six courses per year. The appointment begins in the fall and ends in the spring 2020. Fall classes begin on Aug 26, 2019. Email a letter of application, CV, three letters of recommendation, and any other supporting materials to Pitt’s secure email address The position is filled as soon as a qualified candidate is found. Contact Hiroshi Nara ( for more information.

Posted by: Kun Qian <>

Censorship in Chinese Studies (3)

Yes, there is censorship in FLSC. Is anything published in the PRC not somehow impinged upon by those above? However, I would like to add to this conversation that when I published an article with FLSC the editor and the editorial board members went up to bat for me against those censors when I wrote about Taiwanese literature as opposed to “Taiwan literature.” In my humble opinion, tiny, incremental change is better than hand wringing refusal to engage.

Bert Scruggs <>

Censorship in Chinese Studies (2)

Inside Higher Ed has now written on FLSC‘s censorship.–Kirk

Source: Inside Higher Ed (4/19/19)
Censorship in a China Studies Journal
Scholars say they thought a journal was run on Western standards of free expression, but they found Chinese government control instead.
By Elizabeth Redden

Yet another account of censorship involving a China studies journal has come to light. And the scholars involved say this case involves an insidious “blurring of boundaries” where they were misled into thinking Western publishing standards would apply when in fact the journal in question was subject to Chinese government censorship.

Lorraine Wong and Jacob Edmond, both professors at the University of Otago, in New Zealand, have written an account of the censorship they encountered when they edited a planned special issue of the journal Frontiers of Literary Studies in China. The journal is published by the Netherlands-based publishing company Brill in association with the China-based Higher Education Press, an entity that describes itself on its website (in Chinese) as affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education. The journal’s editorial board lists scholars from major American and international universities — including Cornell University, Duke University, Harvard University, the University of California, Davis, and the University of Washington — and its editor in chief is based at New York University. The journal’s editorial office is located in Beijing. Continue reading

Censorship in Chinese Studies (1)

Since 2012 Brill has had an agreement with Higher Education Press (HEP) in China to distribute the journal Frontiers of Literary Studies in China. HEP is responsible for the editorial process and production of the journal. Brill distributes the journal in print and online to customers outside China. We are very concerned about the developments that were described in the recent blog post by Lorraine Wong and Jacob Edmond. Brill, founded in 1683, has a long-standing tradition of being an international and independent publisher of scholarly works of high quality. We are committed to the furthering of knowledge and the concepts of independent scholarship and freedom of press. The cooperation with HEP is currently under review and Brill will not hesitate to take any necessary action to uphold our publishing ethics.

Jasmin Lange
Chief Publishing Officer

Postdoc in Chinese Performance Cultures

Post-doctoral Fellowship in Chinese Performance Cultures

The East Asian Languages and Cultures and Performing Arts Departments at Washington University in St. Louis seek to fill a post-doctoral appointment to begin in the 2019-20 academic year in the field of Chinese performance cultures, including the Republic of China in Taiwan, People’s Republic of China, and the Chinese diaspora.  We are particularly interested in scholars who have training in the history and practice of dance, drama, and/or film.The responsibilities of this appointment include teaching a two-semester freshman seminar in our Ampersand program (which includes a trip to Taiwan), as well as a third course related to the candidate’s research.

Applicants should send a letter of interest describing their scholarly qualifications and research goals for the postdoctoral period; current curriculum vitae; a published article or dissertation chapter; a documented record of teaching evaluations; and three (3) letters of recommendation.

Washington University especially encourages applications from women, members of ethnic minority groups, and disabled individuals. Applicants must be eligible to work in the United States and have received the doctorate after July 1, 2014 and before July 1, 2019.  Applications should be emailed to Professor Lingchei Letty Chen, Chair, EALC-PAD Search Committee, The committee will review applications until the position is filled, but priority will be given to those received by May 10, 2019. Continue reading

Life and death of Chinese poetry’s mystical martyr

Source: Sup China (4/17/19)
The Life And Death Of Chinese Poetry’s Mystical Martyr

April is National Poetry Month, and we’re celebrating with a series of articles that looks at Chinese poetry, both past and present. We began earlier this week with China’s greatest poet, Li Bai. Today, we look at a modern poet, Hai Zi, who produced mystic, unforgettable works in his short life.

On the evening of March 24, 1989, Zha Haisheng 查海生 — a poet and teacher at Beijing’s China University of Political Science and Law — wrote a bizarre note complaining that two of his friends were attacking him by inducing auditory hallucinations in his ears. Zha claimed that the men were trying to turn him schizophrenic, or pushing him to kill himself. Over the next day and a half, Zha wrote other similar notes, saying that the two men should be held accountable if he were to die or commit suicide. Continue reading

The work of Li Xiaoguai

Dear all,

My student assistants and I made a 15-minute-long short video entitled “Subversive Writing and Political Comics: The Work of Li Xiaoguai.” You may find it useful as a teaching material on the topics of Internet censorship, Chinese characters and Chinese writing, coded language in contemporary China, etc.

The Youtube link at:

For the artist’s statement, check out:

My article on Li has been recently published and here is the citation:

“Subversive Writing: Li Xiaoguai’s Newly Coined Chinese Characters and His Comic Blogging,” Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR), Vol. 40, 2018, 199-220.


Jin Liu <>

Censorship in Chinese Studies

This is an addendum to yesterday’s posting of the table of contents of volume 40 of CLEAR.–Kirk Denton

Three new essays on the Chinese script and a new twist to the old problem of censorship in Chinese studies
By Jacob Edmond

I’m delighted to announce that volume 40 of Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR) has just been released and that it includes a cluster of essays that Lorraine Wong and I have co-edited. In our brief preface to the cluster, we not only introduce three ground-breaking  essays by exciting young scholars; we also explain how they came to be published in CLEAR. We hope both the essays and our cautionary tale about censorship will generate new conversations in Chinese studies and, more broadly, about the increasing pervasiveness of government censorship around the world. To this end, I reproduce our preface and the abstracts of the three essays below.

Flipping the script: An introduction to three essays and to the problem of censorship in Chinese studies

The essays by Guangchen ChenNicholas Wong, and Jin Liu gathered together in this issue of CLEAR are linked by a shared set of scholarly concerns and, less happily, by a history of thwarted publication and censorship. These three essays illustrate the powerful and contested role played by the Chinese script in imagining and questioning notions of Chineseness and of the Chinese state from the early twentieth century to the present day: from Lu Xun’s transcriptions of ancient steles through Ng Kim Chew’s repurposing of oracle bone script to Li Xiaoguai’s online publication of his playful and satirical invented characters. As the three essays demonstrate, these writers deploy the qualities of the Chinese script to question the norms of language, simplistic notions of Chineseness, and monolithic conceptions of China. Their publication in this issue of CLEAR brings up important areas of concern for those writing about Chinese literature and culture today. Continue reading

Zhu Guangqian and Benedetto Croce on Aesthetic Thought

Zhu Guangqian and Benedetto Croce on Aesthetic Thought, with a translation of Wenyi xinlixue 文藝心理學 (The Psychology of Art and Literature). Leiden. Brill, 2019.
Author: Mario Sabattini
Editor: Elisa Levi Sabattini

In Zhu Guangqian and Benedetto Croce on Aesthetic Thought, Mario Sabattini analyses Croce’s influence on the aesthetic thought of Zhu Guangqian. Zhu Guangqian is one of the most representative figures of contemporary Chinese aesthetics. Since the ’30s, he had an active role in China both on the literary and philosophical scenes, and, through his writings, he exerted an important influence in the moulding of numerous generations of intellectuals. Some of his works have been widely read, and they still provoke considerable interest in China, on the mainland as well as in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The volume also presents a revised translation of Zhu Guangqian’s Wenyi xinlixue (Psychology of Art and Literature).

Publication Date: 29 May 2019
ISBN: 978-90-04-39226-7

CLEAR vol. 40

Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews, vol. 40


Eugene EOYANG, “CLEAR: A 40-Year Perspective” 1


Thomas MAZANEC, “Righting, Riting, and Rewriting the Book of Odes (Shijing): On ‘Filling out the Missing Odes’ by Shu Xi” 5

YUAN Ye, “Faithful Women in Jin Ping Mei: Literary Borrowing, Adaptation, and Reinterpretation” 33

Maria Franca SIBAU, “Filiality, Cannibalism, Sanctity: Fleshing Out Gegu in a Late Ming Tale of a Filial Girl” 51

CHEN Lei, “Authorship and Transmission in Kong Shangren’s Self-Commentary of the Peach Blossom Fan” 73

Lorenzo ANDOLFATTO, “Futures Enmired in History: Chun Fan’s Weilai shijie (1907), Biheguan Zhuren’s Xin jiyuan (1908) and the Limits of Looking Backward” 107

Nicholas Morrow WILLIAMS, “Chinese Poetry and Its Contexts” 125 Continue reading

Naked Body comic collection

Source: SCMP (4/16/19)
Naked Body: the Chinese comic collection dedicated to nudity and defying censorship

  • When Chinese artist Yan Cong was told he could not print any nudity in his books, he produced an anthology filled with nude characters
  • Body hair, fetishes, Madonna, and a man’s head being eaten by shaving cream are all themes in the collection

By The Guardian

Naked Body is a Chinese comic collection of short stories all featuring nudity.

Naked Body is a Chinese comic collection of short stories all featuring nudity.

Back in the early 2010s, Beijing comic artist Yan Cong (a pseudonym that translates to “chimney”) was told by printers that they wouldn’t publish any of his books with nudity in them. Both irritated and inspired, he decided to respond to the censorship with an anthology in which all the main characters were nude.

Naked Body, published in Chinese in 2014, highlighted the humour, loopiness, horniness and astonishing breadth of the Chinese alternative comics scene. It is finally due to be published in English this year. Continue reading

Golden age of Chinese science fiction

Source: SCMP (3/31/19)
Inside China: Is this the golden age of Chinese science fiction?

  • A new generation of Chinese science fiction authors talk about their inspirations and insights.
  • Hear from Xia Jia, Chen Quifan, Baoshu, and Regina Kanyu Wang.

By Jarrod Watt and Rachel Cheung

A visual provided by Melon HK a Hong Kong-based science fiction conference. Photo: Handout.

A visual provided by Melon HK a Hong Kong-based science fiction conference. Photo: Handout.

[To listen to the podcast:]

Cinema audiences in the 1980s watched a futuristic vision of the year 2019 that included killer robots, flying cars — and an almost entirely American cast. Fast forward to today, and one of the biggest global blockbusters is The Wandering Earth, which has an almost entirely Chinese cast and is based on a novella by China’s most famous science fiction writer, Liu Cixin. Continue reading

Romance of a Literatus and His Concubine

The Romance of a Literatus and his Concubine in Seventeenth-century China
Translator(s) Jun Fang and Lifang He
ISBN 978-988-8491-62-9
Price US$40 (Paperback)
Publication Date: April 2019
Publisher: Proverse Hong Kong

The Romance of a Literatus and his Concubine in Seventeenth-century China is an annotated translation of Reminiscences of the Plum-shaded Convent (Yingmeian Yiyu 影梅庵憶語), written by China’s prominent essayist and poet Mao Xiang冒襄 (1611-1693) in memory of his concubine Dong Xiaowan 董小宛 (1624-1651). Critically acclaimed by generations of Chinese commentators, this memoir presents a vivid image of a young woman who determinedly pursued the goal of escaping from her former life as a courtesan and calmly dealt with all the difficulties she encountered in the last decade of her short life. It also reveals the political and social vicissitudes of Chinese society and the life of its élite during the tumultuous Ming-Qing dynastic transition. (The “Plum-shaded Convent” refers to the place where Dong was buried.) Continue reading