Mapping Hong Kong-A History Workshop–cfp

[CALL FOR PAPERS]
Mapping Hong Kong—A History Workshop
The University of British Columbia, Vancouver
29–31 May 2020

The UBC Hong Kong Studies Initiative, in partnership with the Hong Kong History Project at the University of Bristol, is pleased to announce a history workshop to be held at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, on May 29–31, 2020.

The theme “Mapping Hong Kong” invites reflections on how Hong Kong’s past could be mapped onto a wide range of historical scales or contexts. Whether it has to do with the lived experiences of particular individuals at certain (critical) moments or the transnational movements of goods, ideas, and people over time and space, a common challenge for historians (of Hong Kong or not) is to place their subject in a proper frame of analysis. But what makes a frame “proper”? And how do we as historians attend to the politics of framing? Continue reading

Gao Chengxian’s Reminiscence of the Manchukuo Arts Exhibitions

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of “Negotiating Colonial Visuality: Gao Chengxian’s Reminiscence of the Manchukuo Arts Exhibitions,” introduced and translated by Yanlong Guo, in our online series. The full essay/translation can be read at the follwing url: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/online-series/yanlong-guo/. Find the opening paragraph below.

Kirk A. Denton, editor

Figure 1. “Portrait of Gao Chengxian,” photograph, photographer and date unknown. Source: Gao Chengxian shuhua ji, n.p.

Commemorating the Manchukuo[1] Emperor Puyi’s 溥儀 (r. 1932-1945) Admonitory Rescript to the People on the Occasion of the Emperor’s Return (回鑾訓民詔書), issued in 1935, the newly established State of Manchuria under Japanese colonial rule launched the First Art Exhibition in Commemoration of [Emperor Kangde’s] Visit to Japan and Announcement of the Rescript (第一回訪日宣詔記念美術展覧会) on May 2, 1937 in its New Capital (新京; current day Changchun).[2] The Manchukuo government organized eight such annual “national exhibitions” (國展) until 1945, when the Japan imperial army was defeated.[3] Each year, a review committee was appointed by a responsible institute to select artworks for the exhibition.[4] Accolades and cash stipends were bestowed on artists whose works were deemed the most excellent. The participating artists consisted of Japanese expatriate artists, such as Shouhou Kusakari 首藤春草 (1907-1994) and Yokoyama Shigeyuki 横山繁行 (1894-1946); prominent Chinese artists, such as Yu Lianke 于蓮客 (1899-1980), Wang Guanglie 王光烈 (1880-1953), and Luo Zhenyu 羅振玉 (1866-1940); and underrecognized Manchuria-born Chinese artists. One of the local and emerging artists was Gao Chengxian 高澄鮮 (1913-1990) (fig. 1), whose art activities during the Manchukuo period are known to us thanks to two interviews of him by Lu Ye 盧燁.[5] One of the interviews, published in 1990 and entitled “My Recollections of Participating in the Illegitimate Manchukuo Exhibitions of Calligraphy and Painting” (我參加偽滿書畫展的回憶), is translated below. [READ MORE]

The Power of Print in Modern China review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Yue Du’s review of The Power of Print in Modern China: Intellectuals and Industrial Publishing from the End of Empire to Maoist State Socialism (Columbia UP, 2019), by Robert Culp. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/yue-du/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, editor

The Power of Print in Modern China:
Intellectuals and Industrial Publishing from the End of Empire to Maoist State Socialism

By Robert Culp


Reviewed by Yue Du
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright January, 2020)


Robert Culp, The Power of Print in Modern China: Intellectuals and Industrial Publishing from the End of Empire to Maoist State Socialism Robert Culp. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019. xviii + 371 pgs. ISBN: 9780231545358.

For Robert Culp, prominent leaders in twentieth-century cultural and political revolutions, such as Hu Shi and Mao Zedong, were not the only major players to implement the cultural transformation of modern China. A group of people Culp calls “petty intellectuals” (小知識分子), who engaged in the production of textbooks, reference books, reprinted classics, and book series at China’s leading commercial publishers, also fundamentally shaped the cultural landscape of China during the late Qing and Republican periods and into the early years of the People’s Republic. Focusing on the Commercial Press (商務印書館), Zhonghua Book Company (中華書局), and other institutions in China’s industrialized publishing sector, The Power of Print in Modern China successfully reconstructs the work lives and cultural activities of editors who were tremendously influential but who have heretofore received inadequate scholarly attention. This reconstruction in turn enables the author to engage with core academic debates on print and media, negotiated power, and modernity in China.

While observing the importance of the introduction of mechanized print technology, Culp distinguishes his work from earlier scholarship (by Christopher Reed and others) by laying out how print industrialism affected the ways in which books were produced and the relationship editors had with their products. To generate a wide range of texts in great numbers and in short periods of time, the most influential publishers in twentieth century China maintained large standing editorial departments, something that made China’s publishing sector globally distinctive. These departments adopted an organizational structure that over time came to resemble the factory assembly line. Staff editors with hybrid classical Chinese and Western educations collaboratively generated new content that they then incorporated into different titles to quickly meet market demand. Culp notes that, on the one hand, this process led to the vast majority of these editors losing control over the dynamics of their labor in this factory-style book production; on the other hand, print industrialism gave these petty intellectuals a direct say in the materials that went into standard products such as textbooks and reference books. Because of these books’ authoritative status, staff editors were able to play a key role in introducing new terms, shaping the modern Chinese lexicon, modeling vernacular writing, and “reorganizing the national heritage” (整理國故). Continue reading

Taiwan studies and forging an identity

Source: Taiwan Today (1/1/2020)
Forging an Identity
BY PAT GAO

A map of Taiwan and the Penghu archipelago printed in the early 18th century by a Dutch publisher (Photo courtesy of National Taiwan Library)

Taiwan is a country of increasing interest for academics from home and abroad.

In September 2018, hundreds of scholars gathered at Taipei City-based Academia Sinica, the country’s foremost research institution, for an event with a decidedly local flavor: the three-day World Congress of Taiwan Studies (WCTS). Among the keynote speakers was Huang Fu-san (黃富三), the founding director of Academia Sinica’s Institute of Taiwan History (ITH). “Having a conference dedicated to Taiwan as its own cross-disciplinary subject is a major achievement,” he said.

Last year’s event was the third edition of the triennial WCTS and the second at Academia Sinica, with the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the U.K. hosting the other in 2015. Bringing together experts from around the world covering fields spanning anthropology, art, gender studies, history, law, linguistics, literature, political science and sociology, WCTS is testament to the vitality of Taiwan studies. Continue reading

The Myth of Political Brainwashing (4)

In an October 11 (The Myth of Political Brainwashing [1]) reply to my recent piece on the genealogy of “brainwashing,” Professor Magnus Fiskesjö of Cornell takes issue with my critique of the term’s Cold War misappropriation. He asks, in particular, “if you don’t like the term ‘brainwashing,’ then what will you call the violent conversion therapy currently practiced on hundreds of thousands of concentration camp detainees in Xinjiang?”

At several points in his reply, Dr. Fiskesjö seems to imply, inaccurately, that my tracing of the origins of the Chinese term xinao was intended as a commentary on current events—specifically, as some kind of defense of ongoing Chinese state practices in Xinjiang and elsewhere. “I would have thought that it should be impossible,” he writes, “for any scholar … to touch on this topic of brainwashing today without touching on these dramatic current developments.” This leads into a subsequent charge of “intellectual dishonesty.”

In this brief response, I will not dwell on the question whether it is fair to raise such weighty charges over a piece focusing on the origins of a Chinese word, written under space constraints, and beginning with events in Hunan in the 1890s, solely because it does not go on to extensively discuss 21st century events in Xinjiang that many describe by using that word. Continue reading

The Trouble with Taiwan (1)

I am an American anthropologist who is preparing an analysis of a key Taiwan public health system. Totaling almost a decade living and researching here off and on since since the 1980s, I have personally witnessed and thought much about the political processes this book promises to discuss.  Assuming the facts adduced in the review accurately reflect its content, I speculate the volume will become required reading for public officials whose duties encompass managing cross-strait relations. I include in this category persons in Europe and North American and, more particularly, in Taiwan and mainland China.

Jim Martin < jmar3701tin2@gmail.com>

The Trouble with Taiwan

Source: SCMP (10/26/19)
The Trouble with Taiwan – book maps out why the world should care about the self-ruled island
Charting the island’s history, Kerry Brown and Kalley Wu Tzu-hui underscore the global significance of its relationship with China. Makes the case for why the world should pay attention to what happens in Taiwan and to its citizens
By Kit Gillet

The Trouble with Taiwan maps out the island’s history, underscoring the global significance of its relationship with China and making the case for why the world should still care, very much, about what happens next. Photo: Shutterstock

The Trouble with Taiwan maps out the island’s history, underscoring the global significance of its relationship with China and making the case for why the world should still care, very much, about what happens next. Photo: Shutterstock

=========================================
The Trouble with Taiwan: History, the United States and a Rising China
by Kerry Brown and Kalley Wu Tzu-hui

Zed Books

The Trouble with Taiwan is a provocative title for a book, but then a lot about Taiwan is provocative, depending on who you’re talking to.

Tensions between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (as Taiwan is officially called) have not ceased since the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek fled to the island in 1949, after losing the civil war to Mao Zedong’s communist forces. As such, alongside the unresolved conflict between North and South Korea, the stand-off is seen as one of the last vestiges of the cold war.

Now, in an age when China is a global superpower, Taiwan’s position is of particular importance, both symbolically as well as practically. How other nations treat Taiwan and its citizens is directly related to their willing­ness to either alienate or placate China. At the same time, how China deals with Taiwan is seen as the great litmus test for its fitness to remain a global power. So far the jury is out, but, as Kerry Brown and Kalley Wu Tzu-hui write, “the stakes could not be higher”. Continue reading

The Myth of Political Brainwashing (3)

The Ryan Mitchell paper is very nostalgic, very bilateral, and rather ivory tower. Xinao, yes. Heard about it, read about it before. Interesting. But this article sounds like a kind of old-school liberal scholarship that has long existed in the West in the Cold War. And in Hong Kong. Removed from the reality of places where there is no academic freedom. Could he have written this in Taiwan nowadays, without someone telling him how it was under Chiang Kaishek? Scientific doesn’t mean nice and neutral, never did. Science wasn’t something better before the Cold War. Not at all. Remember race. Most science on race. Or Scientific Communism. A somewhat discredited term in Central and Eastern Europe. Some still use it, of course. Nothing wrong with Marx. Something tedious about ivory towers. Re-centering, oh god. In love with his idea of China or the East through the ages. Is he still writing in Hong Kong now? Sorry, I know this is very rambling, not very polite and so on. Has anyone looked when the word brain-washing came up in other languages? In Russian, for example. Did Orwell know it? It’s a classical modern scholarship thing to bring up a word, a term, a phenomenon, to declare it Western, Euro-centric, then de-construct it with non-Western facts. In China it works the other way around, ever since the times of the reformers around Liang Qichao Mitchell mentions, and earlier. Marx was very close to the political reality of his time. He wanted that very much. I suspect Mitchell doesn’t. I understand the impulse. But reality has overtaken Hong Kong, hasn’t it?

Peace,

Martin Winter <dujuan99@gmail.com>

The Political Myth of ‘Brainwashing’ (1)

It’s eerie to have this article, which argues brainwashing is a pointless Cold War term only bounded about for political purposes and with no analytical purchase either on the past or on today, with no reference at all to the recent waves of forced-confession spectacles which are the results of months of “brainwashing” (exchange with another word if you don’t like it), surely the polar opposite of “individuals’ active attempts to re-examine their own ideas,” — whether or not that was an original sense of this word xinao, as the article says it was.

Worse, if you don’t like the term “brainwashing,” then what will you call the violent conversion therapy currently practiced on hundreds of thousands of concentration camp detainees in Xinjiang?

Even if Mitchell is right that “the term is used frequently by ideologues of all stripes to define the opinions of those whom they disagree with as the result of external mind control rather than an independent thought process,” how is it remotely possible to even write on this topic without touching on the massive campaign forcing people at gunpoint, in the Xinjiang camps, to regurgitate CCP dogma and then denounce themselves and deny their identity day out and day in — as copiously documented by numerous witnesses — surely a full-throated contemporary revival of Maoist CCP torture-brainwashing? Continue reading

The Political Myth of ‘Brainwashing’

Source: Made in China (10/8/19)
China and the Political Myth of ‘Brainwashing’
By Ryan Mitchell

‘Investigative Study of Brain Essence’, article and diagrams in the Zhixin Bao, 1897. Source: 全国报刊索引 database.

‘Brainwashing’ is a ubiquitous word, a basic part of the vocabulary in various languages around the world. In fact, the allegation is used so frequently in modern discourse that we might be puzzled as to how political arguments ever got by without its striking, pejorative imagery. It is de rigueur to describe those with different viewpoints as incapable of independent thought—instead, for example, Mainland Chinese citizens must have been ‘brainwashed’ into fervent nationalism, or, alternatively, Hong Kong protesters must have been ‘brainwashed’ by Western media or governments. Though it was the English word that became globalised from the middle of the twentieth century, writers on the topic have long claimed, with varying degrees of certainty, that it was in turn a calque of a preexisting Chinese term: xinao (洗脑), literally ‘to wash the brain’. Continue reading

China and Taiwan clash over Wikipedia edits

Source: BBC News (10/5/19)
China and Taiwan clash over Wikipedia edits
By Carl Miller

Jamie Lin

Jamie Lin – seen on the left – is one of many Taiwanese Wikipedians concerned about changes being made to the online encylopedia

Ask Google or Siri: “What is Taiwan?”

“A state”, they will answer, “in East Asia”.

But earlier in September, it would have been a “province in the People’s Republic of China”.

For questions of fact, many search engines, digital assistants and phones all point to one place: Wikipedia. And Wikipedia had suddenly changed.

The edit was reversed, but soon made again. And again. It became an editorial tug of war that – as far as the encyclopedia was concerned – caused the state of Taiwan to constantly blink in and out of existence over the course of a single day.

“This year is a very crazy year,” sighed Jamie Lin, a board member of Wikimedia Taiwan.

“A lot of Taiwanese Wikipedians have been attacked.” Continue reading

A Birthday Letter to the PRC

Source: China File (9/28/19)
A Birthday Letter to the People’s Republic of China
By Yangyang Cheng

(China Photos/Getty Images) A student draws the Chinese national flag on a chalkboard during an activity to mark National Day, in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, September 30, 2007.

Dear People’s Republic,

Or should I call you, China?

I am writing to you on the eve of your 70th birthday. 70, what an age. “For a man to live to 70 has been rare since ancient times,” the poet Du Fu wrote in the eighth century. You have outlived many kings and countless men, and you have lasted longer than every other state that has espoused the hammer and sickle. Congratulations must be in order.

I was born a few weeks after you turned 40. We are both October babies, a fact I was so proud of as a child, your child. During a class in elementary school, the teacher showed us a recording of the day of your birth The audio, raspy with time, still echoes in me as I write, its black-and-white imagery etched in my memory.

“The People’s Central Government of the People’s Republic of China is founded today!” Chairman Mao declared atop the Gate of Heavenly Peace, overlooking a sea of red flags and exuberant faces. His portrait hung at the center of the gate, where it remains, next to these words: “Long Live the People’s Republic of China.” Continue reading

China’s New Red Guards review

Source: SCMP (9/25/19)
China’s New Red Guards: rise of the neo-Maoists examined in briskly written book
Author Jude D. Blanchette explores the stresses within China’s Communist Party. ‘It may present itself as a united and monolithic organisation but is in fact a sackful of sects struggling for control of the narrative’
By Peter Neville-Hadley

In China’s New Red Guards, author Jude D. Blanchette explores how the country continues to be shaped by Mao Zedong’s legacy.

In China’s New Red Guards, author Jude D. Blanchette explores how the country continues to be shaped by Mao Zedong’s legacy.

“The mortuary of global politics is piled high with the corpses of socialist countries,” said PLA Air Force Senior Colonel Dai Xu in a 2014 pep talk to a military audience in northeast China.

A hero to the neo-Maoists, whose rise is described in Jude D. Blanchette’s China’s New Red Guards – The Return of Radicalism and the Rebirth of Mao Zedong, Dai saw shadowy forces everywhere conspiring to add Chinese socialism to the list of casualties, whether by encouraging “peaceful evolution” or taking to the streets in the then ongoing Occupy Central protests.

A China specialist at United States risk-advisory firm Crumpton Group, Blanchette has had face-to-face meetings with many of his subjects – neo-Maoists and opposing economic reformers, grass-roots activists and high-profile figures alike. Continue reading

Who wrote Jin Ping Mei

Source: LARB, China Channel (9/13/19)
Who Wrote China’s Most Notorious Erotic Novel?
By Tristan Shaw
Tristan Shaw unpicks the controversial authorship of Jin Ping Mei

A pornographic Ming Dynasty painting (public domain image from Wikicommons).

For over 400 years, the Ming-era novel Jin Ping Mei  known in English as The Golden Lotus – has been celebrated by some readers as a literary masterpiece, while others condemn it as a salacious influence. Chronicling the life of a decadent merchant named Ximen Qing in the Song dynasty, the book’s notoriety comes from its graphic descriptions of sex, covering everything from adultery to sado-masochism. As Ximen rises up the social hierarchy, his lust for power and sex becomes increasingly depraved. Over the course of the story, he takes six wives and numerous concubines and servants, before eventually dying during the passionate raptures of sex from an overdose of aphrodisiacs. Continue reading