Made in China 5.2: Spectral Revolutions

Dear Colleagues,

I am glad to announce the publication of the latest issue of the Made in China Journal. You can download it for free at this link:

Below you can find the editorial:

Spectral Revolutions: Occult Economies in Asia

The most Gothic description of Capital is also the most accurate. Capital is an abstract parasite, an insatiable vampire and zombie-maker; but the living flesh it converts into dead labor is ours, and the zombies it makes are us. There is a sense in which it simply is the case that the political elite are our servants; the miserable service they provide for us is to launder our libidos, to obligingly re-present for us our disavowed desires as if they had nothing to do with us.
Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism (2009) Continue reading

Rain in Plural

Rain in Plural by Fiona Sze-Lorrain (Princeton University Press, 2020)

The highly anticipated new collection from a poet whose previous book was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. To purchase, please click here (US) or here (Europe, UK, Asia, and elsewhere), or at the press website.

Rain in Plural is the much-anticipated fourth collection of poetry by Fiona Sze-Lorrain, who has been praised by The Rumpus as “a master of musicality and enlightening allusions.” In the wholly original world of these new poems, Sze-Lorrain addresses both private narratives and the overexposed discourse of the polis, using silence and montage, lyric and antilyric, to envision what she calls “creating between liberties.”

The poems travel from Shanghai, Singapore, Kyoto, Taipei and Sumatra to New York and the American West to Milan and back to Paris. With a moral precision embracing us without eschewing I, she rethinks questions of citizenship, the selections of sensory memory, and, by extension, the tether of word and image to the actual. She writes, “I accept the truth in newspapers / by holding the murder of my friends against my chest. // To each weather forecast I give thanks: / merci for every outdated // dusk/dawn.” Agrippina the Younger, Franz Kafka, Bob Dylan, a butoh performance, an unnamed Raku tea bowl—each has a place here. Made whole by time and its alteration in timelessness, synchrony, coincidences, and accidents, Rain in Plural beautifully reveals an elegiac yet ever-evolving inner life. Continue reading

Four poems by Mai Mang

Four of my poems (in Chinese and in English) were recently featured (under my penname Mai Mang) in “Corona Conversations: EAST & WEST,” a special online international edition of CUNY Forum (Asian American/Asian Research Institute, CUNY). See links below. I thought it might also be of interest to some members of the MCLC Community. (“Four Poems” by Mai Mang/Yibing Huang) (special issue introduction)

Yibing Huang
Associate Professor of Chinese
Curator of the Chu-Griffis Asian Art Collection
Connecticut College

Locating Taiwan Cinema in the Twenty-First Century

New Publication: Locating Taiwan Cinema in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Paul G. Pickowicz and Yingjin Zhang (Cambria Press)
Cambria Sinophone World Series (General Editor: Victor H. Mair)
Hardback  9781621965459  $114.99  328pp.

Order direct from Cambria Press by 9/30/2020 and save 25% on the hardcover (Use coupon code SAVE25).
E-book editions also available. Use the Cambria Book Cloud to assign this book for class use.

Watch this short video about the book

Twenty-first-century Taiwan has been evolving in fascinating and complicated ways, in terms of culture, economy, politics, and society. This has led to renewed tensions in relations between the government of mainland China and various camps in Taiwan. In Taiwan, these tensions often focus on issues of identity. Who are the Taiwanese? How are the Taiwanese different from regional and global communities? How are the Taiwanese connected to these communities? Business leaders, factory workers, farmers, and migrants have their opinions. Cultural producers, including filmmakers and pop musicians, offer unique perspectives. Political parties, functioning in a democratic environment, fiercely debate these issues. Remarkably diverse ethnic groups contribute to this ongoing dialogue. This complex twenty-first-century debate in Taiwan is a politically healthy one that takes place both on and off screen. Continue reading

Video Lecture Series goes live

As universities switch to online and hybrid teaching this year, we thought that it would be useful to have a repository of short video lectures on various topics in modern Chinese literature. That idea has resulted in the “MCLC Modern Chinese Literature Video Lecture Series.” Today we are announcing that the series is now officially live. It already includes nearly 50 lectures, and several more are due to be added soon. This is an ongoing project, and further videos will be added over time.

Our lecturers were initially drawn from a pool of scholars who had contributed essays to the Routledge Handbook of Modern Chinese Literature and The Columbia Companion to Modern Chinese Literature, but the project quickly expanded to include colleagues across the field in all stages of their careers. The support and willingness to contribute have been incredible, and we thank the participants for their hard work on short notice. We are also grateful to Mario De Grandis (The Ohio State University) and Guo Feng (University of Edinburgh) for their assistance.

Please excuse any poor audio and other technical issues. In a sign of the times, these lectures were recorded from home using whatever equipment was at hand. Our deadlines and turnaround times were short. We hope the lectures make up for it with their content and that they provide a useful resource for students learning about Chinese literature.

To gain access to the videos, please complete the Registration Form. By filling out the form, you agree to only use these videos for educational, non-commercial purposes, and that only students in relevant courses at your teaching institution will be given access. Once you have submitted the form, you will receive an email with the password. We ask that pariticipants in the project also register. The site can be accessed from the main menu of the MCLC Resource Center homepage (click the Video Lectures icon and go to the “Login” link) or directly from this link.


Kirk A. Denton (The Ohio State University) and Christopher Rosenmeier (University of Edinburgh)

Hong Kong Culture and Literature series

Forthcoming Series from Brill: Hong Kong Culture and Literature
Series Editor: Howard Yuen Fong Choy, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

This new series publishes substantial researches on Hong Kong through cultural and literary studies. It showcases original investigations of the methods and practices across a variety of fields, focusing on the core humanities such as cultural studies, comparative literature, linguistics, historiography, religion, anthropology, art, cinema and theater, but also welcomes contributions adopting culturally informed interdisciplinary approaches in health humanities, political science, sociology, ecology, etc. Possible topics include, but not limited to, East-West cultural interactions in Hong Kong, Hong Kong literature as Chinese and world literature, Cantonese as a linguistic identity, the colonial and postcolonial histories of Hong Kong, minorities in Hong Kong, Hong Kongers as a people, the art market in Hong Kong, the rise and fall of the Hong Kong film industry, Hong Kong theater as an Asian theater, the Umbrella and Water Revolutions, hybridity of the Hong Kong society, as well as environmental issues and medical problems. This English-language book series is directed at scholars, graduate and undergraduate students who study Hong Kong, China, or East Asia and, in particular, comparatists engaged in cultural and literary studies between the East and the West. ISSN: 2666-9897 Continue reading

Going to the Countryside

Going to the Countryside: The Rural in the Modern Chinese Cultural Imagination, 1915-1965
By Yu Zhang
Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2020.


Since the beginning of the twentieth century, modern Chinese intellectuals, reformers, revolutionaries, leftist journalists, and idealistic youth often crossed the increasing gap between the city and the countryside, which made the act of “going to the countryside” a distinctively modern experience and a continuous practice in China. Such a spatial crossing eventually culminated in the socialist state program of “down to the villages” movements during the 1960s and 1970s. What then was the special significance of “going to the countryside” before that era? Yu Zhang explores the cultural representations and practices of this practice between 1915 and 1965, focusing on individual homecoming, rural reconstruction, revolutionary journeys to Yan’an, the revolutionary “going down to the people” as well as going to the frontiers and rural hometowns for socialist construction. As part of the larger discourses of enlightenment, revolution, and socialist industrialization, the act of going to the countryside entailed new ways of looking at the world and ordinary people, brought about new experiences of space and time, initiated new means of human communication and interaction, and generated new forms of cultural production. Going to the Countryside argues that this new body of cultural productions did not merely turn the rural into a constantly changing representational space; most importantly, the rural has been constructed as a distinct modern experiential and aesthetic realm characterized by revolutionary changes in human conceptions and sentiments. Through her close examinations of the practice, Yu Zhang shows a fundamental epistemic shift in modern China and ultimately, how it creates a new aesthetic, social, and political landscape. 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

Made in China Syllabi

Dear Colleagues,

I am glad to announce the latest initiative stemming from the Made in China Journal: the Made in China Syllabi.

In the five years that have passed since we first established the journal, we have published over three hundred essays on different facets of Chinese politics and society. This represents the collective expertise of hundreds of people in both academia and civil society who have graciously agreed to share their insights with us and our readers. Instead of letting this vast trove of material rest in our archive, we have now decided to draw from it to offer some basic syllabi on topics that fall within the purview of our publication.

We begin with two syllabi on labour and development consisting of five modules each, followed by a shared module that covers some topics that we believe to be of fundamental importance for how we think and talk about China today. As you will find, all essays in these syllabi are written with an informed general audience in mind—and are thus ideal for teaching—and completely free to peruse and download. All materials come from our publications, either the journal or the book Afterlives of Chinese Communism, and in those rare instances in which they do not, they are still freely available online.

You can find everything at this link:

Best regards,
Ivan Franceschini (

Changpian 23

长篇 // Changpian // Longform

Welcome to the 23nd edition of Changpian, a selection of feature and opinion writing in Chinese. Changpian includes any nonfiction writing, from stories and investigations to interviews and blog posts, that I found worth my time — and that you might like as well. It aims to be relevant to an understanding of Chinese society today, covering topics in and outside the news cycle.

The selection is put together by me, Tabitha Speelman, a Dutch researcher currently based in Shanghai. Feedback is very welcome ( or @tabithaspeelman). Back issues can be found here.

Hi all, I hope this finds you well. In this Changpian, which I’m excited to get back to, some Chinese-language stories and debates to read, watch or listen to wherever you are during this pandemic. As mentioned below, the non-fiction publishing trend that first inspired this newsletter has slowed down. But some of the platforms founded at its height are still around — one, 真实故事计划, recently celebrated its 4th anniversary and currently has a non-fiction writing contest going on. The jury is impressive and the deadline is end of August.

干货// Ganhuo // Dry Goods

In this section I highlight any themes that stood out in my recent reading.

Podcast society

2019 was described as the “爆发之年” for podcast making in mainland China at a podcast festival I attended in Shanghai last November. The number of new shows had exploded, although participants agreed that the podcast still occupies a niche in the Chinese content market and that it is difficult to earn money making them. A low-budget talk show format is the norm. (For more on the market, see this report and an interview with two former journalists who started influential podcasting company JustPod.) Continue reading

Chinese Literature Today 9.1

Chinese Literature Today 9 (1) is now available online and can be accessed for free:

Below is the table of contents of this new issue (with hyperlinks):

Editor’s Note, by Ping Zhu

REIMAGINING HUMANITY: Focus on Science Fiction

Letter to My Daughter,” by Liu Cixin, translated by Jesse Field
The Affair: The First of the Hamlet Trilogy,” by Isaac (Shuntang) Hsu, translated by Tze-lan Deborah Sang and Isaac (Shuntang) Hsu
Floating Life: Beloved Wife, Part 2,” by Dung Kai-cheung, translated by Andrea Lingenfelter


The City as the Protagonist,” by Xu Zechen, translated by Xu Shiyan
Our Ferocious Self-Doubt: An Interview with Xu Zechen,” by Zhang Yanmei, translated by Yingying Huang
I Persist, I Believe, and I Shall Save: On Xu Zechen’s Fiction,” by Fan Yingchun, translated by Yingying Huang
Brothers,” by Xu Zechen, translated by Natascha Bruce Continue reading

Chinese Texts in the World series

Forthcoming Series: Chinese Texts in the World
Series editors: Zong-qi Cai, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Lingnan University, Hong Kong, and Yuan Xingpei, Peking University

Chinese Texts in the World explores the divergent paths taken by Chinese texts as they were transmitted, re-interpreted, reinvented, and further disseminated beyond China in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. The series will also examine how some of these reconfigured texts made their way back to China, to be reconstituted as culturally polyvalent, hybrid “imports”.

Lay readers, students, and scholars familiar with non-Chinese literary traditions may find hitherto unknown Chinese factors, or new implications of Chinese influence, in such traditions, while students of traditional Chinese learning (so-called guoxue) can explore trends in the re-interpretation of Chinese texts under the influence of Western critical paradigms. The series will also track how translations have shaped perceptions of Chinese culture abroad. Whether they were transmitted along the ancient Silk Road, or through modern digital technologies, such well-traveled texts hold great promise for illuminating multiple aspects of China’s cultural relations with the world.

ISSN: 2666-2361 Continue reading

Prism 17.2

Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature
Volume 17, no. 2 (October 2020)
Special Issue: Critical Theory and Chinese Literary Studies
Edited by ZONG-QI CAI

Introduction: Theoretical Orientations and Professional Positionings

Reading Eco-Critically: Critical and Literary Traditions Revisited

Old Dreams Retold: Lu Xun as Mytho-Ecological Writer

Reinventing “Nature”: A Study of Ecotopian and Cultural Imaginaries in Hong Kong Literature

Mapping the Taxonomies of Same-Sex Sexuality: Historical and Critical Studies

Constructing a New Sexual Paradigm: Emergence of a Modern Subject

“A New Species”: Gender, Sexuality, and Taxonomic Logics in Sinophone East Asia
CARLOS ROJAS Continue reading

Pandemic Asia

Special Issue: Pandemic Asia, Part I (Table of Contents)
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 18 | Issue 14 | Number 1 (July 11, 2020)

Jeff Kingston, Editor of this special issue, assembled a team of contributors from all over the region and is grateful for their working on a tight deadline to assess the pandemic in Asia as of July 2020. In editing this volume he received valuable editorial assistance from Laney Bahan, guidance from Mark Selden and production processing assistance from Joelle Tapas, Hannah LaTourette and Yayoi Koizumi who shepherded the manuscripts from submission to publication with patience and acuity.


  1. Jeff Kingston – Introduction
  2. Michael Bartos – Modern Pandemics

East Asia and the Pacific

  1. Michael Bartos – Australia and the Rhythm of the Covid-19 Epidemic
  2. David Moser – A Fearful Asymmetry: Covid-19 and America’s Information Deficit with China
  3. Anonymous – Social Media and China’s Coronavirus Outbreak
  4. Simon Cartledge – So What? Hong Kong’s Covid-19 Success Won’t be Why It Remembers 2020
  5. Brian Hioe – “Asia’s Orphan” During the COVID-19 Pandemic
  6. Ian Rowen – Crafting the Taiwan Model for COVID-19: An Exceptional State in Pandemic Territory
  7. S. Nathan Park – Fostering Trust in Government During a Pandemic: The Case of South Korea
  8. Azby Brown – Information as the Key: Evaluating Japan’s Response to COVID-19
  9. Togo Kazuhiko – The First Phase of Japan’s Response to COVID-19 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