Sinophone Studies: The View from Taiwan and HK

EVENT: Sinophone Studies: The View from Taiwan and Hong Kong

What does it mean to research and teach Sinophone studies in Taiwan and Hong Kong? Join us for a conversation with Min-xu Zhan, a specialist in Sinophone Malaysian literature at National Chung Hsing University, and Alvin K. Wong, an expert in queer Hong Kong culture at the University of Hong Kong.

Organizer and Host: Howard Chiang (

Time: May 28, 2021 6pm in Pacific Time
Zoom Registration Link

Shakespeare and East Asia lecture

List members might be interested in the following upcoming talk organized by the Department of Chinese Culture at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Lecture: Shakespeare and East Asia
Speaker: Alexa Alice Joubin, Professor of English, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Theatre, International Affairs, and East Asian Languages and Cultures, George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Date: (HKT) Thursday, 29 April 2021, 10:00am (EST) Wednesday, 28 April 2021, 10:00pm
Venue: Zoom Registration link


Since the nineteenth century, stage and film directors have mounted hundreds of adaptations of Shakespeare drawn on East Asian motifs, and by the late twentieth century, Shakespeare had become one of the most frequently performed playwrights in East Asia. Gender roles in the play take on new meanings in translation, and familiar and unfamiliar accents expanded the characters’ racial identities. Continue reading

Living the Socialist Modern

Dear Students, dear Colleagues, dear Friends!

2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. What did it mean to “live with the Specter”, to experience what one might call the making of the “Socialist Modern” that found a first point of culmination with the foundation of the CCP in 1921?

You are cordially invited to the digital lecture series Living the Socialist Modern: The Chinese Communist Party at 100—Global and Interdisciplinary Perspectives organized by the Center for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS) in Heidelberg, in cooperation with the ERC-funded research project READCHINA: The Politics of Reading in the People’s Republic of China in Freiburg and the European Institute for Chinese Studies (EURICS) in Paris. Continue reading

Jia Pingwa event

Next Friday, April 9, 9:00AM EST, we’ll be talking about Jia Pingwa and my translation of his 《老生》, titled The Mountain Whisperer. Jia Pingwa will be there (a recorded message and live Q&A), as well as Nicky Harman, who will also discuss her translations of Jia’s work. It is a bit early, unfortunately, but that can’t be helped insofar as we’re coordinating three time-zones.

The link to the event is here:

Jia Pingwa: Master Storyteller of rural China


Chrisopher Payne>

Rediscovering Early Chinese Cinema

Topic: Rediscovering Early Chinese Cinema: From the Archive to the Internet 
Speaker: Christopher Rea
Date and time: PST:6:00-7:30 pm on April 8, 2021
HKT:10:00-11:30 am on April 9,2021
Talk Venue: Zoom
Language: English
Inquiry: +852 34008930
Registration link


Viewers around the world are now discovering that, over eighty years ago, Chinese cinema had light sabers. And copies of Mickey Mouse. And full frontal male nudity. What other discoveries – besides novelties of a bygone age – lie in store for historians rediscovering Republican-era cinema, or people delving into Chinese film history for the first time? The Chinese Film Classics project, begun before and accelerated by the pandemic, is aimed at enabling a new generation of global audiences to explore Chinese film history in new ways. Working with a corpus of several score extant films, circa 1920s-1940s, Christopher Rea has been translating both famous and obscure cinematic works and making them available open access in full or in part (so far as copyright and fair use allow), via the YouTube channel Modern Chinese Cultural Studies and the website A key feature of this resource is the inclusion of playlists of hundreds of songs, special effects, animations, significant scenes, how-tos, and other thematically-arranged film clips, which enable viewers to navigate the archive of early Chinese cinema based on their own interests. Another is the production of a full online course on “Chinese Film Classics,” which discusses eleven masterpieces in the contexts of Chinese history and global filmmaking. This talk presents new web-based approaches to film research and pedagogy, and invites the participation of film scholars and film archives in further developing this open-access initiative. Continue reading

Newman Prize videos

Both the Newman Prize Award Ceremony and Symposium videos are now available online.

The Newman Prize Award Ceremony was held in person at Renmin University in early March and again online on March 19th in an event on zoom which included the acceptance speech of Yan Lianke as well as the nomination statement of Eric Abrahamsen and speeches by others.

The results of this year’s Newman Prize for English Jueju were also revealed and celebrated. Finally, the Newman Prize symposium can be viewed here: which featured a conversation about the winner’s work with leading experts on Yan Lianke: Shelley Chan, Howard Choy, Carlos Rojas, and Eric Abrahamsen, moderated by Zhu Ping and Hosted by Jonathan Stalling.

Yan Lianke lecture

Dear Colleagues,

On March 29, the novelist Yan Lianke will give a lecture on the writing of his novel The Explosion Chronicles. The lecture will be in Chinese, accompanied by English translation. We hope you will consider attending and help spread the word about this exceptional opportunity to meet one of the greatest writers of today’s China.

You can register for the lecture here.  The lecture is generously sponsored by the Hightower Fund, the Confucius Institute in Atlanta, and the East Asian Studies Program at Emory University.

Maria Sibau
Guangchen Chen

About the Speaker

Yan Lianke is one of today’s foremost Chinese novelists. His writings capture the stunning development of China in recent decades with remarkable insight, imagination, courage, and irony, throwing into stark relief pressing social issues such as the stigmatization of illness, pandemics and economic inequality, women’s struggle, and the consequences of over-development. His major works include Dream of Ding Village, The Day the Sun Died, The Explosion Chronicles, Serve the People!, and The Ladies. He has garnered a number of major international awards, including the Lu Xun Literary Prize (awarded twice), the Franz Kafka Prize, the Dream of the Red Chamber Award, and most recently the Newman Prize for Chinese Literature, as well as being shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize.

HK Polytechnic events

List members might be interested in these two talks co-organized by the Confucius Institute of Hong Kong and the Department of Chinese Culture at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Talk 1: Topic: Locations of China in World Literature and World Cinema
Date: 25/3/2021 (Thursday)
Time: 10:00-11:30 am (HK time)
Language: English
Platform: Online (Zoom) (Quota: 300)
Registration link:


This lecture takes a located approach to Chinese literature as world literature and tracks parallel debates on world literature and world cinema by revisiting recurring issues of invisibility, circulation, mapping, worlding, cosmopolitanism, humanism, and globalization. The first section tracks the invisible locations of China in the history of world literature. The second section discusses the emphasis on circulation in new world literature that emerged at the turn of the new millennium and its discontents. The third section examines a parallel development in world cinema and its proactive engagement with circulation and globalization as well as its self-awareness of its evolving locations over the twentieth century. The final section returns to the question of locations of China by evaluating competing positions on world literature in China and the West as well as interrogating what the periodic refashioning of literary studies in the West would mean to Chinese literature as world literature. Continue reading

Newman Prize award ceremony

Dear MCLC colleagues and friends,

I would like to invite you and your students to attend this year’s Newman Prize for Chinese Literature Award Ceremony and celebrate this year’s winner Yan Lianke with us.  The event starts at 7Pm on Friday, March 19th but pre-registration is required. See image below for information. The registration link is: https://BIT.LY/2NK0QUe.


Jonathan Stalling

Ecological Critique of Alienation in Recent Chinese SF

LECTURE: Ecological Critique of Alienation in Recent Chinese Science Fiction
Ban Wang
Register here
University of Kansas
March 4, 2021; 4:00 – 5:30 PM CST 2:00 – 3:30 PM PST

Capitalist industrialization, wrote Marx, “is a progress in the art, not only of robbing the worker, but of robbing the soil.” Robbing workers means alienated labor whereby workers have no say over their work and are exploited and exposed to health hazards. Robbing nature refers to the extraction of natural resources for capital accumulation and endless growth. In ecological ecology, humans are an integral part of nature and the alienation of nature is the flipside of the alienation of workers. This dual alienation may offer an insight into recent Chinese SF fiction. Chinese SF writers have explored environmental crises, alienation of labor, social disintegration, and technologically induced class disparity in the context of globalization, technological advances, and geopolitical competition. This talk will discuss critiques of these anti-ecological trends by Chen Qiufan, Hao Jingfang, and Liu Cixin. Continue reading

Contemporary China Centre events

New Perspectives and Community Voices on British Chinese Heritage
University of Westminster | Difference Festival 2021
Contemporary China Centre
Tuesday 23 February 15:00-16:30

New perspectives and community voices on British Chinese heritage: an afternoon in London’s Chinatown…/new-perspectives-and…

Experience multiple layers of meaning of London’s Chinatown with an introduction to the heritage practice of diasporic Chinese in Europe and around the world, a primer on London’s two Chinese communities and how they developed into Soho’s Chinatown, and hear of heritage and community projects underway to support the area while it’s under significant pandemic pressure. Join academic, practitioner and community voices, organised jointly by China Exchange and HOMELandS, to “visit” the area and hear new perspectives on the ways in which this iconic area of the Capital is fighting for survival and for its heritage to be recorded and recognised.

The event will be facilitated by Cangbai Wang (humanities, University of Westminster) with Giulio Verdini (Architecture and City, University of Westminster), Freya Aitken-Turff (China Exchange) and Xiao Ma (doctoral researcher, Humanities)

Once you book your ticket, the link to the event will be sent closer to the date. Continue reading

Adventures in Translating between Cultures and Eras

Adventures in Translating Between Cultures and Eras:
A Double Launch for The Best China & The Monkey King
Featuring John Minford and Julia Lovell
With commentary by Hu Ying
Jeffrey Wasserstrom moderating

Hosted, remotely, by UC Irvine’s International Center for Writing and Translation, in partnership with the Los Angeles Review of Books and Birkbeck College, University of London, Department of History, Classics, and Archaeology, February 17, 11am PST;

February 17, 7pm in the UK; and February 18, 8am in New Zealand)— To register click here:

This event, in which members of UCI’s History Department (Wasserstrom) and East Asian Studies Department (Hu Ying) will play the roles of moderator and discussant, respectively, will highlight the work of two extraordinary translators and scholars of Chinese culture. One is John Minford. He is an emeritus professor at ANU and holds a distinguished position at Hang Seng University in Hong Kong, and he has translated (or co-translated) both classic works of philosophy, including the I Ching (Yi Jing) and Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing), and classic works of literature, such as The Dream of the Red Chamber (aka The Story of the Stone). The other is Julia Lovell. She is a Professor at Birkbeck College, London, and she has translated works by Lu Xun, Yan Lianke, and other major modern writers. Minford’s most recent book is The Best China: Essays from Hong Kong (January 2021), the final volume in a six-part series devoted to Hong Kong literature, while Lovell’s is an abridged translation of Monkey King/Journey to the West (February 2021). Continue reading

Wai-yee Li lecture

2020/21 Yip So Man Wat Memorial Lecture
Elegance and Vulgarity: The Promise and Peril of Things in Ming-Qing Literature 雅俗分際: 明清文學的物情與物累, with Professor Wai-yee Li (Harvard University)
Wednesday January 20, 2021; 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM (Pacific Time)
Online via Zoom

Graphic by Anh Luu. Image credits: “The Landscape of Suzhou” by Shen Zhou (Ming Dynasty) 明沈周蘇州山水全圖 卷 “Landscape in Snow” by Shen Zhou 明沈周雪景山水

How is value assigned to things? What is the line between the refinement of good taste and the force of obsession? Is elegance compromised by self-consciousness? How can an object of appreciation be both commodity and anti-commodity (inasmuch as true appreciation and the greatest worth are not measurable in economic terms)? Are elegance or vulgarity determined by affirming social consensus or challenging it? How do the fellowship and competition among connoisseurs drive the definition of elegance? Why are “elegant things” associated with nature and reclusion but also embedded in social relations among the rich and the powerful? Can good taste become bad taste, and vice versa? Professor Wai-yee Li will discuss the figure of the vulgar connoisseur in Jin Ping Mei, the contradictions of elegance in a story by Li Yu (1611-1680), and the implications of redefining elegance and vulgarity in The Story of the Stone.

Free & open to the public. Registration required.

Research Seminar: Objectifying People and Humanizing Things in Chinese Literature 物我之間:明清文學的「人化」與「物化」母題 Continue reading

‘Multi-ethnic’ literature collection

Source: (12/22/20)
“Multi-ethnic” Literature: Yilin’s 2020 Cache of Fiction by non-Han Writers
By Bruce Humes

As your year-end holiday lockdown fast approaches, it’s worth noting a new series of books by non-Han writers launched this year by one of China’s best-known publishers, Yilin Press — lit., “translation forest” — that is normally associated with marketing popular foreign-language fiction in Mandarin for Chinese readers.

The name of the series itself, Library of Contemporary Classics by China’s Multi-ethnic Writers (中国当代多民族经典作家文库), is notable because it employs the term “multi-ethnic” rather than the former very politically correct, ubiquitous reference to “minority ethnic” literature (少数民族文学) that must surely have rankled some.

I will write more about the worrisome outlook for mother-tongue, multi-ethnic literature out of China — given moves to severely restrict education in Uyghur, Tibetan and Mongolian, and the ongoing incarceration of hundreds of thousands of Turkophone people in Xinjiang — but for now, here are the titles in Yilin’s new series (so far available only in Chinese) with a bit of background info and links: Continue reading