MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Miaowei Weng’s review of Secondhand China: Spain, the East, and the Politics of Translation, by Carles Prado-Fonts. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/miaowei-weng/. My thanks to Michael Gibbs Hill, our translations/translation studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.
Kirk Denton, MCLC
Spain, the East, and the Politics of Translation
By Carles Prado-Fonts
Reviewed by Miaowei Weng
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright May, 2023)
Secondhand China offers an in-depth examination of the complex relationships between East and West, Spain and Europe, and Catalonia and other parts of Spain between the late nineteenth century and the 1930s. Carles Prado-Fonts analyzes Spanish and Catalan cultural texts about China produced during this period, providing a unique perspective on the cultural and political dynamics at play in these relationships as well as on the politics of translation.
Secondhand China should be read in the context of the distinction between the study of China (Sinology, or, more politically correct, China Studies) and the study of written China(s) (Sinography). While China studies scholars focus on China as a geopolitical location, exploring its culture, society, history, politics, and various other aspects, Sinographers like Eric Hayot, Haun Saussy, and Steven G. Yao take a different approach. In Sinographies: Writing China (2008), they propose in a provocative way that “China” is not simply something to be studied, but rather, something to be thought through, or a lens through which to examine or even redefine the crucial problems of contemporary thought. “China” is viewed as central to many of these problems, such as the problems of translation, subalternity, the value of texts, and so on. Obviously, Secondhand China participates in this ongoing project of Sinography that “thinks through ‘China.’” Continue reading