Manchukuo Perspectives

Manchukuo Perspectives: Transnational Approaches to Literary Production
Edited by Annika A. Culver and Norman Smith
Hong Kong University Press, December 2019
328 pp., 6″ x 9″, 17 illustrations HB ISBN 978-988-8528-13-4 Price: HK$520 / US$70

“This first-rate collection offers the most comprehensive overview of Manchukuo literature in any language. Containing an abundance of very original research and analysis, with relevant references to diverse sources in Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean, and Russian, the essays will be welcomed by scholars dealing with literary, historical, political, and colonization issues in Manchukuo and its neighbors.”—Ronald Suleski, Suffolk University, Boston

“Manchukuo Perspectives is an excellent contribution to the field. Manchukuo was a fascinating and fraught experiment. Colonialism, imperialism, modernism, and nationalism were just some of the many different forces at play there. With an impressive set of contributors bringing both breadth and depth to the study of these issues, this collection fills a void in our understanding of the cultural and literary production of Manchukuo wonderfully.”—James Carter, Saint Joseph’s University Continue reading

The Culture of Love in China and Europe

The Culture of Love in China and Europe, by Paolo Santangelo and Gábor Boros (Brill 2019)

In The Culture of Love in China and Europe Paolo Santangelo and Gábor Boros offer a survey of the cults of love developed in the history of ideas and literary production in China and Europe between the 12th and early 19th century. They describe parallel evolutions within the two cultures, and how innovatively these independent civilisations developed their own categories and myths to explain, exalt but also control the emotions of love and their behavioural expressions. The analyses contain rich materials for comparison, point out the universal and specific elements in each culture, and hint at differences and resemblances, without ignoring the peculiar beauty and attractive force of the texts cultivating love.

Concerning China, a short survey of theoretical elaborations will cover the millennium from the Song dynasty (960–1279) to the beginning of the 19th century: this period starts from a new phase in Chinese history – according to some historians from the beginning of modern society – and includes early contacts with the west and the first phase of globalisation, before the Opium Wars. The reflection on the literary production will focus on the period of the last two dynasties, Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911), until the beginning of the 19th century. After dealing with the evolution of Neo-Confucian thought on love and emotions, the first question concerns the so-called “cult of qing”, its scope and consistency, and the main themes proposed by its supporters. Secondary questions concern the meaning of “genuine” love and emotions, and the construction of a rhetoric of love, its symbolism and mythology. Examining the rich and varied range of differing attitudes, concepts and approaches and different cases through the creation of fantasy, we see various perceptions. One of the key questions concerns the difference between love and lust, and the role of desires. Some paragraphs are dedicated to the language of seduction and the conditions of deregulation of love rules that help to understand some theories on the process of transmission of emotional codes and falling in love. Two other interesting topics concern the virtuous characters of the correct sexual union (legitimate conjugal love) and the role of the elaboration of the art of the bedchamber and all skills of erotic positions. Gender roles in love is evident in narrative and is reflected in the new male hero, in the active heroines, both shrews or benevolent lovers, fox spirits and femme fatale. We can finally tell of a love-death dyad in Chinese culture and some dark and polluting aspects perceived in love, as well as the dialectical transitions between dream and reality. Continue reading

2019 Publications in Chinese

Source: Paper Republic (12/21/19)
2019 Publications in Chinese
By David Haysom

cover image

As the year comes to a close, we’ve asked authors, translators, editors, and other friends of Paper Republic to recommend notable books published in Chinese in 2019 – translations into Chinese as well as original works. The resultant lists gives an insight into the titles that have made an impression this year – and perhaps offers a preview of some of the books we can hope to see available in English soon!


阿乙 A Yi

ge feilin peiqing zhou yunpeng



I would like to recommend Moon Over the Abandoned Temple, the new novel by Ge Fei, professor at Tsinghua University, and the short story collection The Prodigy and the Tape Deck, by his acolyte Lin Peiyuan. In the past I have read many international works of fiction by the intelligentsia, and now the work coming out of academia in China is growing in force, as well as influence. The strength of academic authors lies in the quantity of literature to which they are exposed, in their constant introspection, and in active experimentation. This has been particularly evident in Ge Fei’s two most recent novels, Invisibility Cloak and Moon Over the Abandoned Temple. Continue reading

Soft Power with Chinese Characteristics

Soft Power With Chinese Characteristics: China’s Campaign for Hearts and Minds
Edited by Kingsley Edney, Stanley Rosen, and Ying Zhu
Routledge (January 2020)
296 pages | 11 illustrations


This book examines the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to improve China’s image around the world, thereby increasing its “soft power.” This soft, attractive form of power is crucial if China is to avoid provoking an international backlash against its growing military and economic might. The volume focuses on the period since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, and is global in scope, examining the impact of Chinese policies from Hong Kong and Taiwan to Africa and South America. The book explains debates over soft power within China and delves into case studies of important policy areas for China’s global image campaign, such as film, news media and the Confucius Institutes. The most comprehensive work of its kind, the volume presents a picture of a Chinese leadership that has access to vast material resources and growing global influence but often struggles to convert these resources into genuine international affection.

Soft Power With Chinese Characteristics will be invaluable to students and scholars of Chinese politics and Chinese media, as well as international relations and world politics more generally.

20% discount available: enter the code “FLR40” at checkout.

Chinese Grammatology

I am happy to announce the recent publication of my book and to provide a discount code (see below) for anyone interested in purchasing it:

Yurou Zhong. Chinese Grammatology: Script Revolution and Literary Modernity, 1916–1958. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019.

Today, Chinese characters are described as a national treasure, the core of the nation’s civilizational identity. Yet for nearly half of the twentieth century, reformers waged war on the Chinese script. They declared it an archaic hindrance to modernization, portraying the ancient system of writing as a roadblock to literacy and therefore science and democracy. Movements spanning the political spectrum proposed abandonment of characters and alphabetization of Chinese writing, although in the end the Communist Party opted for character simplification. Continue reading

Unofficial Poetry Journals from China

Dear MCLC List members,

Leiden University Libraries holds an internationally unique Special Collection of unofficial (minjian) poetry journals from China.

These journals travel widely among Chinese poets, critics, and researchers. As such, they are hugely influential. But paradoxically, they are difficult to access, sometimes to the point of becoming almost legendary — because they generally operate outside the official infrastructure of bookstores and libraries.

Now, a digital collection of twelve early items in the Leiden collection (about 1000 pages in all) is full-text available online, for students, educators, researchers and other readers.

This pilot project was undertaken in close collaboration with the editors of the journals in question. Fundraising efforts to digitize more material are underway.

The entry page offers a list of related content, including a web lecture by Maghiel van Crevel, with abundant visuals and intended as an educational resource. (Rotate the prezi / slides / speaker screens using the pop-up button in the top right corner of the biggest screen.) Continue reading

Vol. 31, no. 2 of MCLC

MCLC is pleased to announce the imminent publication of vol. 31, no. 2 (Fall 2019), a special issue on “Reportage and Its Contemporary Variations,” guest edited by Charles Laughlin and Li Guo. Below, find the table of contents, with links to a pdf of the introduction and to abstracts of the esssays. Subscribers will be receiving their copies over the next couple of weeks. If you would like to purchase a copy of this issue, subscribe to the journal, or inquire about the status of an existing subscription, please contact Mario De Grandis (

Kirk Denton, editor

Volume 31, Number 2 (Fall 2019) 

Special Issue on Reportage and its Contemporary Variations
Guest Editors Charles Laughlin and Li Guo


TAP Fall 2019

The fall 2019 issue of the Trans Asia Photography Review is now available online at (You may need to refresh your browser to view the new contents.) This issue, titled “Writing Photo Histories,” features the following articles and book reviews:

Writing Photo Histories

Picturing Meishu: Photomechanical Reproductions of Works of Art in Chinese Periodicals before WWII
Yanfei Zhu


The Shanghai Amateur Photographic Society: An Early Photographic Organization Established by Westerners in China
Che Liang Continue reading

Chinese Poetry and Translation

We are pleased to announce publication of Chinese Poetry and Translation: Rights and Wrongs (Amsterdam University Press, 2019). Open access download here. Order print copies here.

edited by Maghiel van Crevel and Lucas Klein

Table of contents:

Introduction: The Weird Third Thing
Maghiel van Crevel and Lucas Klein

Part One: The Translator’s Take

(1) Sitting with Discomfort: A Queer-Feminist Approach to Translating Yu Xiuhua
Jenn Marie Nunes

(2) Working with Words: Poetry, Translation, and Labor
Eleanor Goodman Continue reading

Beijing Garbage

Beijing Garbage: A City Besieged by Waste, by Stefan Landsberger
Table of Contents + Intro
Amsterdam University Press, April 2019
232 pages, 20 b/w illustrations
Hardback: ISBN 978 94 6372 030 4
e-ISBN 978 90 4854 287 1
€99.00 / £89.00 / $120.00
Open access

Why do central and local government initiatives aiming to curb the proliferation of garbage in Beijing and its disposal continue to be unsuccessful? Is the Uberization of waste picking through online-to-offline (O2O) garbage retrieval companies able to decrease waste and improve the lives of waste pickers? Most citizens of Beijing are well aware of the fact that their city is besieged by waste. Yet instead of taking individual action, they sit and wait for the governments at various levels to tell them what to do. And even if/when they adopt a proactive position, this does not last. Official education drives targeting the consumers are organized regularly and with modest success, but real solutions are not forthcoming. Various environmental non-governmental organizations are at work to raise the level of consciousness of the population, to change individual attitudes towards wasteful behavior, but seemingly with little overall effects. Continue reading

Journal of Digital Humanities–announcement and cfp

Journal of Digital Humanities: Journal Announcement and Call for Proposals

The Journal of Digital Humanities (数字人文, quarterly) is jointly sponsored by Tsinghua University (Beijing) and Zhonghua Book Company (中华书局). Its aim is to provide a publication platform for cultivating digital humanities-related research practices and theory, both in China and internationally.

The journal accepts manuscripts in Chinese or English. Types of manuscript accepted for review include humanities or social science research articles, as well as relevant pieces on digital humanities inside and outside of China such as book announcements and reviews, conference and new project notifications, introductions to important resources such as databases and methods, discussions of digital humanities pedagogy, etc. All scholars are warmly invited to submit manuscripts in accordance with the following guidelines: Continue reading

Jia Zhangke’s Filmic World

Dear Colleagues,

I’m happy to announce the publication of my new book China in the Age of Global Capitalism: Jia Zhangke’s Filmic World, published by Routledge. This book maps ten of Jia Zhangke’s films onto three major themes: Jia’s filmmaking and China in the market society; truth claims and political unconscious; “post-socialist modernity” in the age of globalization.  By analyzing Jia’s narrative strategies, the author strives to discuss the impact of the larger political economic changes on ordinary people in Jia’s films and the director’s cultural political notion. This book will be of interest to students and scholars of Chinese film studies, as well as other disciplines, such as political science, sociology, anthropology, etc.

For more details, click the following link, Continue reading

Made in China 4.3

Dear Colleagues,

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

Below you can find the editorial:

Bless You, Prison: Experiences of Detention in China

‘Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life. For there, lying upon the rotting prison straw, I came to realise that the object of life is not prosperity as we are made to believe, but the maturity of the human soul.’–Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956

With these words, Soviet star dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn exalted the transformative role of the gulag—where he had been imprisoned for eight years—in reconfiguring his soul. Just like his account of life in the labour camps played a fundamental role in shaping public perceptions of the Soviet labour camps, our views of the Chinese detention system are also widely shaped by the writings and testimonies of former political prisoners, whether victims of the mass campaigns of the Mao era or more recent crackdowns against dissident voices. Reading these accounts, detention easily assumes the tragic connotations of martyrdom, and detainees come to be surrounded by a halo of heroism. But what about those uncountable prisoners who are detained for common crimes or less-noble causes? What about the reality of murderers, thieves, drug addicts, and prostitutes? Is prison a blessing for them too? Continue reading

Notes on the Pekingese

List members may be interested in my translation of a novella by Takbum Gyel, a writer from Qinghai who is well established in the Tibetan literary world. “Notes on the Pekingese” is a surrealist story about ethnic politics and social climbing set in a local government office in Tibet. You can find it here, published as an ebook by Ploughshares Solos:

Christopher Peacock <>