Association for Chinese Animation Studies 2021 conference program

Conference Program: The Inaugural Conference of the Association for Chinese Animation Studies, Zoom Webinar, March 1-May 12, 2021

Webinar Registration (In accordance with the Copyright Ordinance of Hong Kong, please do not photograph and/or video record the film screenings. Violation of copyright laws will result in legal action.)

Panel 1: 9:00am-11:30am, March 1 (Monday, Hong Kong time), Keynote Speeches, chaired by Daisy Yan Du, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong SAR


Opening Remarks, Daisy Yan Du, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Welcome Speech, Kellee Tsai, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology


“Playful Dispositif and Remediation: Chinese Animation from the Perspective of Film History as Media Archaeology”, Yingjin Zhang, University of California, San Diego, USA Continue reading

Manhua Modernity

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the release of Manhua Modernity: Chinese Culture and the Pictorial Turn, from the University of California Press. The book is available open-access in pdf format and on the Luminos platform. It can also be purchased in paperback.

From fashion sketches of smartly dressed Shanghai dandies in the 1920s, to multipanel drawings of refugee urbanites during the war against Japan, to panoramic pictures of anti-American propaganda rallies in the early 1950s, the polymorphic cartoon-style art known as manhua helped define China’s modern experience. Manhua Modernity offers a richly illustrated, deeply contextualized analysis of these illustrations across the lively pages of popular pictorial magazines that entertained, informed, and mobilized a nation through a half century of political and cultural transformation. In this compelling media history, John Crespi argues that manhua must be understood in the context of the pictorial magazines that hosted them, and in turn these magazines must be seen as important mediators of the modern urban experience. Even as times changed—from interwar-era consumerism to war-time mobilization to Mao-style propaganda—the art form adapted to stay on the cutting edge of both politics and style.

John Crespi

Kenyon College Asian Art position

Tenure-Track Position Assistant Professor of Asian Art History
Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio
APPLY NOW Job no: 492679

Kenyon College, a highly selective, nationally ranked liberal arts college in central Ohio, invites applications for a tenure-track position in Art History at the rank of Assistant Professor beginning in July 2021.

The Department of Art History at Kenyon College is accepting applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Asian Art History. Candidates must have expertise in the art, architecture, and visual culture of any geographic region in pre-1900 Asia, and possess a demonstrated ability and desire to teach courses in many areas of Asian art. We seek a creative colleague who can immediately contribute to re-shaping the current curriculum. Applicants must be interested in offering a fresh, global perspective on permanent courses, including the Introduction to Asian Art, and developing intermediate and advanced-level courses on the art, architecture, and visual culture of East Asia, South Asia, or Southeast Asia. We are interested in teacher-scholars who can offer creative ways to engage with the Department’s Visual Resources Center, our Study Collection (, and regional art museums located in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland. Applicants should complement, not duplicate, current expertise of the department. The candidate will also have an opportunity to work with the Asian and Middle East Studies interdisciplinary major. Continue reading

Online exhibit captures pandemic in HK

Source: SCMP (10/15/20)
Online art exhibition captures pandemic scenes in Hong Kong – of loneliness, fear, but also the triumph of the human spirit
Louise Soloway Chan’s virtual exhibition ‘Contactless’ is a showcase of 22 ink paintings on rice paper hosted by the Boundless Artists Collective. She hopes that when the crisis finally passes, the sketches will be a reminder not just of the horrors but of how the human spirit navigates adversity
By Kylie Knott

“Too Cool for School II” by Louise Soloway Chan. The work is one of 22 of Chan’s sketches of Hong Kong during the pandemic that form “Contactless”, a solo online exhibition that runs until December 15.

“Too Cool for School II” by Louise Soloway Chan. The work is one of 22 of Chan’s sketches of Hong Kong during the pandemic that form “Contactless”, a solo online exhibition that runs until December 15.

Today is the opening of Louise Soloway Chan’s virtual exhibition “Contactless”, a showcase of 22 ink paintings on rice paper that capture Hong Kong scenes amid the pandemic.

“I’m an obsessive sketcher and always draw from life, from what’s in front of me,” says Soloway Chan via Zoom from Britain.

The artist was born in the UK and spent time in India before moving to her adopted home of Hong Kong in 1994. She’s back in Britain temporarily to spend time with her family.

Many people in Hong Kong will have seen her work. In 2011, the MTR Corporation commissioned her to paint 12 huge bas-reliefs of Hong Kong street scenes, many depicting traditional dai pai dongs (open-air food stalls) as well as lantern and tea shops that have since fallen victim to gentrification. The works took six years to complete and are permanently installed at the Sai Ying Pun MTR station. Continue reading

Global Art Exchange and Modernism in Socialist China

OCTOBER 30 – 31 – Zoom Webinar (Registration Required)

This workshop focuses on the impact of global artistic exchanges on Chinese artists during the most rigid period of Socialist China. Including presentations on Latin American and Romanian influences; impressionist and modernist-inspired underground artist groups during the Cultural Revolution; and discreet international art exhibitions in revolutionary China, the speakers dismantle the simplistic, Cold War-influenced narratives of East-West dichotomy and capitalist modernism v. socialist realism. They reveal Chinese artists’ continuing thirst for alternative aesthetic inspiration, and underscore the crucial impact of human exchanges on art and creativity in the socialist period.


Date: Friday, October 30, 2020
Time: 5:00pm – 9:00pm (Pacific Standard Time)
Chair: Julia F. Andrews, Distinguished University Professor, Ohio State University Continue reading

Our Time Machine

This documentary film, Our Time Machine (dirs.  Yang Sun and S. Leo Chiang), looks really interesting. It will be screening on PBS over the next couple of weeks in the POV series. Check your local listings, as they say. Not sure if it’s available online, for those of you outside the US.–Kirk

Little Smarty introduction

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce Lena Henningsen’s introduction to the translation of Little Smarty Travels to the Future we published last week. The introduction appears below, but is best read at its online home: My thanks to Prof. Henningsen for sharing her work with the MCLC community.

Kirk Denton, editor

Little Smarty Travels to the Future:
Introduction to the Text and Notes on the Translation

By Lena Henningsen[1]

Translation of Little Smarty Travels to the Future

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright September 2020)

Ye Yonglie with Little Smarty. Source: Weibo

Little Smarty Travels to the Future (小灵通漫游未来) is an early post-Mao science fiction (SF) story, adapted into a comic book (lianhuanhua 连环画). Originally composed in the early 1960s, Ye Yonglie 叶永烈 (1940–2020) was not able to publish the short novel until 1978. The comic book adaptation that is the basis for our translation followed two years later and enjoyed tremendous success with at least 3 million copies printed. Paola Iovene rightly describes the story as “as much a jump forward in imagination as it was a resumption of aspirations of the past” (Iovene 2014: 1). At the same time, the story is firmly grounded in the early post-Mao years and in Deng Xiaoping’s Four Modernizations, which legitimated political and economic change and ushered in China’s dramatic economic growth. In this introduction, I position this text in this specific historical moment in the development of Chinese SF. I sketch the development and status of Chinese SF and of comic books within the Chinese literary field and point out to what extent Little Smarty Travels to the Future may be seen as an illustration or vision of the implementation of the Four Modernizations.

Science Fiction in China

Chinese SF used to be a marginalized genre, both in terms of scholarly research and in terms of its status within the literary field. Recent years, however, have seen an increase in attention to the genre both among academics and the general readership, not least thanks to the commitment of translator Ken Liu. He has been crucial for bringing Chinese SF to the attention of English readers and for introducing Chinese authors into the global SF award circuit, which culminated with Liu Cixin 刘慈欣 winning the prestigious Hugo award in 2015 (Chau 2018). Today, the global circulation of Chinese SF even impacts perceptions of China. Continue reading

Little Smarty Travels to the Future

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Little Smarty Travels to the Future (小灵通漫游未来), by Ye Yonglie 叶永烈 and translated by Lena Henningsen et al. Little Smarty is a 1980 comic book (连环画) based on a 1978 novel, also by Ye Yonglie. The translation includes all 150 panels from the comic book and English translations of each caption. Find below the first few panels of the translation. To read the whole text, go to: We will be publishing Lena Henningsen’s introduction to the text in the next few days. Enjoy.

Kirk Denton, editor

Little Smarty Travels to the Future

By Ye Yonglie 叶永烈, Pan Caiying 潘彩英 (adaptation),
Du Jianguo 杜建国 and Mao Yongkun 毛用坤 (illustrations)[1]

Tr. by Adrian Ewald, Lena Henningsen, Lars Konheiser, Elena Mannich,
Federica Monchiero, Franziska Roth, Joschua Seiler, and Sen Wei (Freiburg University)

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright September 2020)

Introduction: This is a science fiction comic book (科学幻想连环画). Through a reporter’s–Little Smarty’s–travel to Future City, [this comic book] vividly unfolds before [our] eyes future high developments in science and technology and the splendid prospect of limitless magnificence in people’s lives. It also tells its young readers: Only if [we] painstakingly study and only if [we] are bold in climbing scientific heights during the advance of the Four Modernizations, can [we] build our motherland to become as thriving and prosperous as Future City. Continue reading

Museums grapple with ethics of China projects

No matter the genocide, the museum deals go on…–posted by Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Source: The Art Newspaper (9/1/20)
Museums grapple with ethics of China projects
Institutions including the Tate, V&A and Pompidou are forging partnerships with the country despite terrible human rights abuses

French President Emmanuel Macron, President of Centre Pompidou Serge Lasvignes and Fong Shizhong unveil a plaque during the inauguration of Centre Pompidou West Bund Museum in Shanghai, China November 5, 2019. Hector Retamal/Pool via REUTERS – RC18C5909B40

Tate, the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) and the Centre Pompidou have defended their partnerships with state-owned companies in China in the face of mounting criticism of the country’s extensive human rights abuses.

All three are collaborating or consulting on major projects in China with development firms owned by the state. They say that sharing their collections and expertise in this way “can help to foster tolerance and curiosity” (Pompidou); “generates greater understanding between global cultures and communities” (V&A), and helps “increase Chinese people’s access to the possibilities of international art” (Tate).

Such partnerships also make a significant contribution to these museums’ balance sheets, at a time when commercial revenues are under enormous pressure. The Pompidou, for example, is being paid €20.75m for its collaboration with the West Bund Group in Shanghai. As part of the deal, the Parisian institution opened a branch in Shanghai last November and will organise exhibitions there drawn from its collections in Paris. And while the British Museum has not entered into any partnerships with state-owned firms, its collaboration with the e-commerce giant Alibaba shows just how desirable the market is. In 2018 alone, the British Museum generated nearly $30m via Alibaba’s online licensing platform Alfilo Brands, which sells British Museum branded products in China. Continue reading

New China books, history, art, literature

Source: China Channel, LARB (8/5/20)
2020 China Books (Part 4): History, Art, Literature
A fourth list of new China books – compiled by Brian Spivey

We have arrived at the fourth and final part of our 2020 China Books series (also read parts onetwo, and three), showcasing books about China’s past that came out, or are coming out, in 2020 – and giving their authors, who wrote the blurbs below, an opportunity to suggest why readers might be interested in their book in this current historic moment. Art and culture in various forms features prominently in this list: from the literature of Yan Lianke to the global spread of Chinese antiquities; Chinese cinema to Maoism’s influence on modern and contemporary art; before ending with historical fiction on Ming courtesans, and literary nonfiction on China’s youth.  – Brian Spivey

Three Brothers
Yan Lianke, trans. Carlos Rojas
Grove Atlantic, March 2020

As with most large-scale natural disasters, in the current pandemic there exists a large gap between the official and actual death rates. Although many pandemic-related deaths are carefully tabulated and mourned in real time, the actual number of deaths is almost certainly significantly higher. Due to testing limitations, imperfect record-keeping, and general chaos at a time when health care systems are stretched to capacity, many deaths may not be linked to the disaster until long after the fact. Yan Lianke’s memoir Three Brothers emerges out of a similar interregnum between death and mourning. Near the beginning of the work, Yan describes how, after his father passed away in 1984, Yan resolved to express his filiality “by writing something about him, narrating his life and love of life – even if it was a short piece only about three hundred or five hundred characters long.” Yan concedes that for years afterwards he never even remembered to observe the anniversary of his father’s death, much less fulfill his promise to write an account of his father’s life. In fact, it was over a quarter of a century later, with the Chinese release of Three Brothers in 2009, that Yan was finally able to complete and publish the memorial he had promised to write. The result is not only a moving celebration of Yan Lianke’s memory of his father and three uncles, it is also an anguished meditation on the inherent difficulty of mourning.  – Carlos Rojas Continue reading

Envisioning East Asian Art History: 20 Books in 2020

In an unprecedented year, 2020 will also see the publication of an exceptionally diverse and wide-ranging list of books on East Asian art history. Please join us for “Envisioning East Asian Art History: 20 Books in 2020,” and meet the first-time authors of these monographs to consider the present and future of East Asian art history.  We hope to come together as a community to celebrate the breadth and richness of these new publications, ranging from the tomb arts of the 3rd century BC to contemporary Japanese calligraphy, from early modern painting to textile arts, from canonical classics of calligraphy to modern design.

We ask: What can art history do to facilitate mutual understanding of complex histories of exchange, encounter, and creation?  What kinds of historical sympathy can we achieve through writing and teaching art history?  What challenges do we face, and how do we envision the role of this field in the crucial conversations of the future?

Friday, July 31, 11 AM-1 PM EST (8-11 PST, 4-6 PM UK, 11-1 AM SGT)
Read the books and meet the authors at


Organized by the Steering Committee for the Society for the Promotion of International English-Language Scholarship on East Asian Art History (Aurelia Campbell, Yi Gu, Christine I Ho, Nozomi Naoi, Stephen H Whiteman, Xue Lei)
With support from University of Washington Press, University of California Press, Columbia University Press, and Harvard University Asia Center Press

Christine I. Ho
Assistant Professor, History of Art and Architecture
University of Massachusetts Amherst

The Art of Zhou Xiaoping in Aboriginal Australia

Source: Chinese Museum (nd)
Convergence: The Art of Zhou Xiaoping in Aboriginal Australia
Online from 25th June 2020, with the physical exhibition later in 2020.

Zhou Xiaoping’s art sheds light on traditions of art making that have been overlooked within the cannon of Western art history … he helps us look at cross-cultural art production in ways that are reinvigorating, respectful and enlightening. In so many ways the work of Zhou Xiaoping remains new and confronting.

Professor Robyn Sloggett (2020)
Director, the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation of the University of Melbourne

Artist Zhou Xiaoping in his Melbourne studio

Artist’s statement

The world suddenly seems to be a roaring lion that does not welcome a human invasion.

In 2020, under the worldwide attack of the coronavirus, humans seem to be awakening. The humans who have occupied the world are not powerful as we thought. We may fall in an instant. It is very frustrating that if the world is without humans, it will still continue in its life and beauty. So people in this world are more like guests. Continue reading

Graphic novel on Tiananmen Massacre

Source: CNN (6/20/20)
Graphic novel on the Tiananmen Massacre shows medium’s power to capture history
Written by James Griffiths, CNNHong Kong

Credit: IDW Publishing

As a young man in Beijing in the 1980s, Lun Zhang felt like he was taking part in a new Chinese enlightenment.

The country was undergoing paramount leader Deng Xiaoping’s “Reform and Opening Up,” and previously sealed-off areas of knowledge, arts, and culture were becoming newly available.

People who had only years before been living in the stifling, hyper-Maoist orthodoxy of the Cultural Revolution, in which anything foreign or historical was deemed counter-revolutionary, could now listen to Wham!, hold intellectual salons in which people read Jean-Paul Sartre or Sigmund Freud, or even publish their own works, taking aim at previously sacred political targets.

“In those days, our thirst to read, learn and explore the outside world was insatiable,” Zhang writes in his new graphic novel, “Tiananmen 1989: Our Shattered Hopes.” Continue reading

Animation in the Sinosphere

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of “Animation in the Sinosphere: A Review Essay,” by Evelyn Shih. The essay reviews two recent publications on animation in China and Taiwan. The review appears below, and at its online home: My thanks to Jason McGrath, MCLC media studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

Animation in the Sinosphere: A Review Essay

Puppets, Gods, and Brands: Theorizing the Age of Animation from Taiwan, by Teri Silvio
Animated Encounters: Transnational Movements of Chinese Animation, 1940s-1970s, by Daisy Yan Du

Reviewed by Evelyn Shih
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright May, 2020)

Teri Silvio, Puppets, Gods, and Brands: Theorizing the Age of Animation from Taiwan Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2019. 290 pages. ISBN: 9780824881160 (Paper); 9780824876623 (Hardcover).

Daisy Yan Du, Animated Encounters: Transnational Movements of Chinese Animation Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2019. 276 pages. ISBN: 9780824877644 (Paper); 9780824872106 (Hardcover).

Has the age of animation begun? And if it has, to whom does it belong? Two new books on Chinese and Taiwanese animation bring these questions into focus using materials that have thus far received scant attention in English-language scholarship. In global animation studies, by far the dominant loci for animation have been America and Japan—the former beginning with the worldwide stardom of Mickey Mouse, and the latter beginning with the post-WWII boom of anime, which subsequently drew interest to earlier animation and related media. The modes of animation that emerged from these locations have come to define the paradigms through which most scholars approach animation, and included among these framing paradigms is the specter of national cinema. While both Teri Silvio’s Puppets, Gods, and Brands: Theorizing the Age of Animation from Taiwan and Daisy Yan Du’s Animated Encounters: Transnational Movements of Chinese Animation engage with that framework, they also work to push the model forward with new perspectives.

Silvio challenges “Japanamerica” through the lens of post-colonialism, taking as her case study a past colony of Japan and a neo-colonial client state of the US: Taiwan.[1] More importantly, however, she broadens the field of animation studies by finding an interdisciplinary interface with anthropology and religious studies—that is, she engages seriously with media studies, especially areas such as fan and reception studies, film analysis, and production studies, but her strength is in cultural theory. The “age of animation” that she proposes in her title is not just an acknowledgement of increasingly sophisticated digital technologies and virtual realities reaching a new level of omnipresence in contemporary life; it also redefines animation as a mode of post-humanism. As she puts it, “animation in the narrow sense (a kind of cinema or video) is popular because animation in the broad sense (giving objects lives of their own) is good to think with—specifically, to think through what is happening right now in the intersections of technology and capitalism, of the global and the local, of the human and the nonhuman” (3). In one deft move, Silvio provincializes Japanese and American animation, which is after all just “a kind of cinema or video,” and finds a larger question that puts a relatively marginal mode of Taiwanese puppet animation at the center. Puppets, after all, are objects that exist precisely to have a “life of their own.” Continue reading

Portraits of schoolchildren

Source: SCMP (5/29/20)
Portraits of schoolchildren in rural China on show in Hong Kong to raise funds for charity
Hong Kong artist Hazel Tsui has visited more than 100 schools in remote parts of China as a volunteer. At each one, she takes photos that she later uses as the basis for oil paintings
By Kylie Knott

Hong Kong artist Hazel Tsui has helped charities since she was a teenager. Paintings she has made of children she photographed at schools in rural China are on show in Hong Kong to raise money for a charity she and her husband founded. Photo: SCMP / Jonathan Wong

Hong Kong artist Hazel Tsui has helped charities since she was a teenager. Paintings she has made of children she photographed at schools in rural China are on show in Hong Kong to raise money for a charity she and her husband founded. Photo: SCMP / Jonathan Wong

Hong Kong artist Hazel Tsui is modest about her portraits of schoolchildren that capture her time volunteering in remote areas of China.

“I started volunteering in poor rural areas of China around 2004 and have visited more than 100 primary and secondary schools,” she says.

Her work, which has taken her to Gansu, Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou provinces, was driven by concerns over the high rates of illiteracy in these remote villages.

“Sometimes it would take up to 18 hours by train, car and foot to reach these places,” she says. “I took loads of pictures and each one tells a story about village life. Putting these moments into a painting has been an interesting process but I must point out that I’m not a professional painter, I’ve had no formal training.” Continue reading