Polyamory in the PRC

Source: Sup China (2/13/18)
Polyamory In The PRC: A Brief History Of Sex And Swinging In Modern China
Article 301 of China’s 1997 Criminal Law bans “group licentiousness,” and has been used in the past to bust would-be swingers. But why?
By Robert Foyle Hunwick

Illustration by Katie Morton

It was women who brought down Ma Yaohai 马尧海. The older, nosier kind — not the ones he liked to watch having sex.

In 2010, the then-53-year-old bespectacled academic became the face of Chinese swinging when he was arrested for “group licentiousness.” Although one of 22 charged, it was Ma’s refusal to quietly roll over and plead guilty, coupled with his professorial status, that made him a cause célèbre; it was thusly revealed, to many in China, that orgies are technically illegal.

The case symbolized the division between an older, staunchly conservative establishment and its more progressive, post-Reform juniors, who take freewheeling, pluralistic runs at formerly forbidden fare. Continue reading

China’s Leftover Women review (1)

Leftover in China: The Women Shaping the World’s Next Superpower by Roseann Lake

With regard to the above-referenced book — a review of which was posted yesterday on MCLC — I would like to draw attention to the fact that the author, Roseann Lake, appears to nowhere acknowledge in print how much her work and her text are indebted to Leta Hong-Fincher, whose 2014 book, Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China, Lake’s work closely parallels. Lake seems to poach upon the latter’s research, thematics, and acumen, while never citing Hong-Fincher as either source or inspiration. Since Hong-Fincher’s 2011 Ms. magazine article on “leftover women,” through to the publication of her book in 2014, Lake has been in contact with Hong-Fincher a number of times; Hong-Fincher even sent Lake an early summary of the book’s argument and research in the form of a paper written in 2012 for a Sociology conference. In addition, Lake has been at numerous of Hong-Fincher’s presentations in Beijing. In short, Lake was well aware of Hong-Fincher’s work and the thematics of Lake’s book are very similar to Hong-Fincher’s. And yet Lake has deliberately presented her work as unique and as uniquely her own.

This is very troubling. At the very least, Lake should acknowledge publicly the prior work upon which her narrative and analysis stand, and Norton, her publisher, should compel her to do so. As of 2/16, Norton has written to Hong-Fincher to acknowledge the problem and apologize. It is unclear what remedy will be pursued.

Rebecca Karl <karl.rebecca22@gmail.com>
New York University

RMMLA Chinese Lit and Film Since 1900–cfp

RMMLA Chinese Literature and Film Since 1900 — Call for Papers
October 4-6, 2018, Cheyenne, Wyoming

Theme: Reinventing Traditions: Media, Text, and Publics
We welcome paper proposals that address a range of critical issues related to the broad theme of “Reinventing Traditions: Media, Text, and Publics” in modern and contemporary Chinese literature, film, and culture at the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association (RMMLA) Annual Convention.
Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Cultural tradition and modernity
  • Digital technologies and cultures
  • Legacy media
  • Sinophone literature and cinema
  • Author, readership, audience, and publics
  • Audios and sound studies
  • Utopias, dystopias, sci-fi, and the uncanny in literature
  • Cross-media adaptation and genres
  • Gender, class, and ethnicity
  • Home, travel, time and space
  • Violence, trauma, memory, and forgetting
  • Cosmopolitanism, youth culture, and cultural identitiesPlease submit an abstract of no more than 250 words along with a short biography to rmmla2018@gmail.com by March 31, 2018.

Peijie Mao, University of North Georgia, maopeijie@hotmail.com
Shannon Cannella, Hamline University, scannella01@hamline.edu
Shaohua Guo, Carleton College, sguo@carleton.edu

Chinese Visions of World Order review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Salvatore Babones’s review of Chinese Visions of World Order: Tianxia, Culture, and World Politics (Duke, 2017), edited by Ban Wang. The review appears below, but is best online at: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/babones/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

Chinese Visions of World Order: 
Tianxia, Culture, and World Politics

Edited by Ban Wang

Reviewed by Salvatore Babones
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright February, 2018)

Ban Wang, ed. Chinese Visions of World Order: Tianxia, Culture, and World Politics. Durham: Duke University Press, 2017. 336 pp. ISBN: 978-0-8223-6946-2 (Paperback: $27.95)

Tianxia 天下! The word itself sounds more like the title of a movie or video game than of a political program. In fact it is a video game (now in its third edition), and the word played a key role in the 2002 film Hero, in which the hero (played by Jet Li) spares the life of the ruthless Emperor Qin for the sake of “tianxia,” controversially subtitled in the original American release as “our land.” The translation was controversial because it gave tianxia, usually rendered as “all under Heaven,” a poetically patriotic connotation. Perhaps critics should not be so critical. The title of the film is, after all, Hero.

Asked about the tianxia translation, the film’s director Zhang Yimou was quite frank. “We struggled for a long time with the translation because it’s difficult. There’s a Chinese proverb that goes, ‘to suffer yourself when all under Heaven suffer, to enjoy only when all under Heaven enjoy.’ In the Chinese tradition, the idea of ‘tianxia’ has a very profound significance, and a true hero can hold ‘all under Heaven’ in his heart. If you ask me if ‘our land’ is a good translation, I can’t tell you. All translations are handicapped. Every word has different meanings in different cultures.” Continue reading

China’s Leftover Women review

Source: What’s on Weibo (2/9/18)
Leftover in China: The Women Shaping the World’s Next Superpower by Roseann Lake
In a new book on China’s Leftover Women, author Roseann Lakes highlights the strength and merit of China’s unmarried women.
By Manya Koetse

With Leftover in China – The Women Shaping the World’s Next Superpower, author Roseann Lake brings a deeply insightful and captivating account of China’s so-called ‘leftover women’ – the unmarried females who are shaping the future of the PRC. A must-read book for this Spring Festival holiday.

As the count-down for China’s most important event of the year, the Spring Festival, has started, countless unmarried daughters and sons anticipate the reunion with their parents and relatives with some horror. “Why are you still single?” is amongst the top-dreaded questions they are facing during the New Year’s dinners at the family dining table. Continue reading

Chinese govt gave money to Georgetown Chinese student group

Posted by Magnus Fiskesjö, nf42@cornell.edu
Source: Foreign Policy (2/14/18)
Chinese Government Gave Money to Georgetown Chinese Student Group
Growing party influence on campuses nationwide has cast a pall over academic freedom.

A statue of John Carroll, founder of Georgetown University, sits before Healy Hall on the school’s campus August 15, 2006 in Washington, DC. Georgetown University was founded in 1789 and it is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the U.S. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Founded in the early 2000s, the Georgetown University Chinese Students and Scholars Association hosts an annual Chinese New Year gala, organizes occasional academic forums, and helps Chinese students on campus meet and support each other. The group has also accepted funding from the Chinese government amounting to roughly half its total annual budget, according to documents and emails obtained by Foreign Policy.

The total sum may not be large, but the documents confirm a link between the Chinese government and Chinese student organizations on American campuses that is often suspected but difficult to verify. Continue reading

Reviving realism

Source: China Daily (2/13/18)
Reviving realism: Experts discuss 2017 Chinese literature
By Cheng Yuezhu | chinadaily.com.cn

Realism was a keyword of the 2017 Chinese literary scene. Carrying on the emphasis of “realistic themes” raised in the 19th CPC National Congress, literary experts discussed literary realism in the Dangdai Bimothly Magazine Novel Forum recently in Beijing.

Experts agreed 2017 is a year of prosperity for Chinese literature. According to Bai Ye, researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 2017 was a landmark, as the number of novels published last year exceeded ten thousand.

Yan Jingming, vice-president of the China Writers Association, said: “The trend of mutual development between online literature and print literature as well as online circulation and print circulation is obvious. Recalling the literary creations from 2017, the achievements in novels and realist themes have impressed us deeply.” Continue reading

Politics of Reading postdocs and PhD positions

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to alert you to one Post-Doc and three PhD positions open in Freiburg (start date: June / September this year). Would you be so kind to circulate these among your students / colleagues?

As it will take a couple of days until the offer will be online on the system in Freiburg, I am pre-circulating now. Inquiries about the jobs may be addressed to me directly.

Thanks for your support and best regards,

Lena (Henningsen) <Lena.Henningsen@sinologie.uni-freiburg.de>

(1) Post-Doctoral Researcher in the ERC funded research project The Politics of Reading in the People’s Republic of China (READCHINA)

Full position, 5 years (2 + 3 years, TV-L 13); starting date: 1 June, 2018

The ERC Project “The Politics of Reading in the People’s Republic of China (READCHINA)” investigates the politics and practices of reading in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), their interpretation and their impact on social and intellectual change. The main objective of the study is a reinvestigation of literary history and cultural policy of the PRC from the perspective of the ordinary reader. This grassroots approach means turning away from the established focus on authors and the political context. Instead, READCHINA will investigate the social conditions under which texts were read, what influences this had on the lives of individuals, on social, intellectual and literary change in China, and on the modes of production, distribution and consumption of literature. Continue reading

Arif Dirlik session at AAS

Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce that we will be holding a special session at the AAS in Washington to commemorate and celebrate Arif Dirlik’s life and work in the field of Chinese History and beyond. Thanks to support from the Historical Society for Twentieth Century China (Kristin Stapleton and Helen Schneider, with assistance from Tim Brook), who are sponsoring the event, we have space and time for the special panel.

Panel name: “Thinking Chinese History with Arif Dirlik: In Remembrance”
Day: March 22
Time: 11am-1pm
Location: Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Park Tower 8201, Lobby Level

This is intended as a flexible and open forum for a collective remembrance. We have the following panelists to date:

Roxann Prazniak, Ravi Palat, Rebecca Karl, Ana Candela, Soonyi Lee, Dongyoun Hwang

We hope folks will drop in and participate with us in remembering Arif’s legacy for our scholarly, activist, and institutional work.  If you are interested in speaking for sure, please contact me (rebecca.karl@nyu.edu).

Thank you.

Rebecca Karl

Cohort of ‘people’s theaters’

Source: Sup China (2/12/18)
Five Thousand Movie Theaters Across China To Form A Cohort Of ‘People’s Theaters’

China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT), the country’s top regulator overseeing its media industry, has  released a notice announcing that 5,000 movie theaters nationwide will become “People’s Theaters,” Sina Entertainment reports. The goal is to “further utilize screening resources, increase overall attendance rate, and improve filmings and screenings of films that sing the main melody films (i.e. those that promote officially approved messages 主旋律电影 zhǔxuánlǜdiànyǐng). Continue reading

China’s surveillance state

Scary stuff, Orwell’s 1984 already arrived and in place now.–Magnus Fiskesjö <nf42@cornell.edu>

Source: The Atlantic Monthly (2/2/18)
China’s Surveillance State Should Scare Everyone
By Anna Mitchell and Larry Diamond

A security camera is attached to a pole in front of the portrait of former Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, on May 19, 2017. Thomas Peter / Reuters

Imagine a society in which you are rated by the government on your trustworthiness. Your “citizen score” follows you wherever you go. A high score allows you access to faster internet service or a fast-tracked visa to Europe. If you make political posts online without a permit, or question or contradict the government’s official narrative on current events, however, your score decreases. To calculate the score, private companies working with your government constantly trawl through vast amounts of your social media and online shopping data.

When you step outside your door, your actions in the physical world are also swept into the dragnet: The government gathers an enormous collection of information through the video cameras placed on your street and all over your city. If you commit a crime—or simply jaywalk—facial recognition algorithms will match video footage of your face to your photo in a national ID database. It won’t be long before the police show up at your door. Continue reading

update on Gui Minhai

Update on the Swedish publisher Gui Minhai, imprisoned in China since October 2015:

The good news is that his daughter Angela accepted the International Publishing Assn. Voltaire prize, for freedom of publishing, for her father currently imprisoned in China. The prize was issued in Delhi. See:

https://publishingperspectives.com/2018/02/gui-minhai-daughter-ipa-congress-freedom-to-publish/   (English)
https://www.svt.se/kultur/gui-minhais-dotter-om-tv-framtradandet-uppenbart-manusfort  (Swedish/English w. video) Continue reading

Seeking sources for Sound Ethnographies class

Hello Colleagues,

A artist/filmmaker friend and I are creating a new class, “Sound Ethnographies of China” here at NYU Shanghai, and we’d love your suggestions for reading and listening assignments for our students as they collect sounds and interviews and edit them into audio ethnographies. Possible themes include salvage ethnography, form/content, structures of feeling experienced through sound, and STS. Are you familiar with (accessible) sound archives, good folklore studies, or writings on sound culture on China? Please get in touch. We are particularly interested in sound art: early recordings of music or theater, or writings on any period focusing on sound art (music, theater, film/TV, sound-based installation and performance art).

Thanks for thinking with us!

Leksa Lee
Assistant Professor Faculty Fellow, NYU Shanghai

Zhang Hongtu: Van Gogh/Bodhidarma

张宏图: 梵高/达摩
February 16 – April 15, 2018
Opening & Artist Talk: 2 – 3:15 PM, Friday, February 16
Reception & Gallery Walk: 3:15 – 4:30 PM, Friday, February 16
Charles Chu Room, Shain Library
Chu-Griffis Asian Art Collection
Connecticut College

“Zhang Hongtu: Van Gogh/Bodhidharma” will open at Connecticut College on Friday, February 16, 2-4:30pm, featuring the Van Gogh-Bodhidharma 梵高达摩 series (2007-2014) of internationally renowned, New York based Chinese artist Zhang Hongtu 张宏图. It consists of 39 ink paintings in total, “remaking” all of Vincent van Gogh’s extant self-portraits in the style of classical Zen portraits of Bodhidharma, the founding patriarch of Zen Buddhism. This will be the first time that this series has been exhibited together. The artist has also created a new video installation specifically for this show. Continue reading