Why You Should Read Bi Shumin’s Novel Coronavirus (1)

Xiaomei Yu’s detailed synopsis of Bi Shumin’s Coronavirus brings to mind another, older work which is timely: Hu Fayun’s 如焉@sars.come, still available ;-) in English as Such Is This World@sars.come. Mr. Hu’s recent interviews for Dutch and Austrian periodicals (unfortunately paywalled)



contain some gems. He said that the fate of Dr. Li Wenliang exceeded anything he could have imagined as a novelist:

Und Li Wenliang? “Er war kein Whistleblower”, sagt Hu. “er hat Kollegen informiert. Seine Nachrichten wurden dann aber nicht einfach nur gelöscht, die Polizei zwang ihn, ein Schuldeingeständnis zu unterschreiben, dass er falsche Behauptungen verbreitet habe. Er wurde zurück zur Arbeit geschickt, an einen Ort, an dem er sich anstecken konnte. Genau das passierte, und er starb.” Was mit Li geschah, übersteigt Hus Fantasie, er habe sich das nicht vorstellen können, auch nicht, als er seinen Roman schrieb. “Das übertrifft alles, was ich während der Sars-Epidemie erlebt habe.”

And Li Wenliang? “he was no whistleblower,” says Hu. “He passed the word to his colleagues. And then not only were his posts deleted, the police made him sign a confession that he had spread false statements. He was sent back to work in a place where he could get infected. And that is exactly what ensued, and he died.” What happened to Li exceeded Hu’s wildest imagination. He could not have dreamed it, even when he was writing his novel. “It goes beyond anything I saw during the SARS epidemic.”

Both of the interviews were written by Julie Blussé.

A.E. Clark
Ragged Banner Press

Why You Should Read Bi Shumin’s Novel Coronavirus

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of “Why You Should Read Bi Shumin’s Novel Coronavirus,” by Xiaomei Yu. The essay can be found here:


I thank the author for drawing our attention to this novel, which is so obviously relevant to our present circumstances.

Enjoy the essay. Hopefully the novel’s happy ending portends a happy ending for us.

Kirk Denton, editor

Youth Economy, Crisis and Reinvention

Dear colleagues,

I am excited to announce the publication of my new book, Youth Economy, Crisis, and Reinvention in Twenty-First Century China: Morning Sun in the Tiny Times.

Book Details

Hui Faye Xiao. Youth Economy, Crisis, and Reinvention in Twenty-First Century China: Morning Sun in the Tiny Times. London and New York: Routledge, 2020. (Series: Routledge Contemporary China Series). 1st edition, 222 pages | 23 B/W Illus. Hardback: 9780367345518; eBook: 9780429326905


A century after the May Fourth Movement (1919) that has been invoked repeatedly as the first youth-led mass movement in Chinese history, what are today’s Chinese youths up to? This book seeks to answer the compelling question. Identifying three central themes: youth economy (青春经济), crisis (青年危机), and reinvention (再造青年), this book investigates the explosive youth culture in twenty-first century China, which is not merely a result of the national and global turn to a post-Fordist neoliberal creative economy but also an active and powerful force catalyzing cultural innovations, social changes, and collective efforts in reinventing a pluralistic and multivalent subject of youth (青年) as an icon of alternative futurity and hope in an age of vertiginous change, division, risk and uncertainty. Continue reading

Circuit Listening

CIRCUIT LISTENING: Chinese Popular Music in the Global 1960s
By Andrew F. Jones
University of Minnesota Press | 288 pages | March 2020
ISBN 978-1-5179-0207-0 | paper | $28.00
ISBN 978-1-5179-0206-3 | cloth | $112.00

What did Mao’s China have to do with the music of youth revolt in the 1960s, and how did the Beatles and Bob Dylan sound on the front lines of the Cold War in Asia? Andrew F. Jones listens in on the 1960s beyond the West, suggesting how transistor technology, decolonization, and the Green Revolution transformed the sound of music globally.


Andrew F. Jones, professor and Louis B. Agassiz Chair in Chinese at the University of California, Berkeley, teaches modern Chinese literature and media culture. He is author of Like a Knife: Ideology and Genre in Contemporary Chinese Popular MusicYellow Music: Media Culture and Colonial Modernity in the Chinese Jazz Age, and Developmental Fairy Tales: Evolutionary Thinking and Modern Chinese Culture. He has also translated two books of fiction by Yu Hua, and a volume of literary essays by Eileen Chang. Continue reading

Assembling the Cosmopublic

For those who are interested in contemporary art, environmental humanities, object-oriented methodology, and citizenship, you might be interested in this article published by Mediapolis:

Hai Ren, “Assembling the Cosmopublic: Art Intelligence and Object-Oriented Citizenship.”
Website: <https://www.mediapolisjournal.com/2020/03/assembling-the-cosmopublic-art-intelligence-and-object-oriented-citizenship/

Hai Ren 任海

Literature from Taiwan Series

Cambria Press is proud to announce a collaboration with the National Museum of Taiwan Literature and National Taiwan Normal University to publish the new LITERATURE FROM TAIWAN SERIES, which will showcase the best of Taiwan’s rich literary works. Three new titles will make their debut at the AAS 2020 Conference:

1) A History of Taiwan Literature by Ye Shitao (translated by Christopher Lupke)

A History of Taiwan Literature by Ye Shitao, an important public intellectual in Taiwan, was published in the crucial watershed year of 1987 when the end of martial law on the island was signaled. This is arguably one of the most important intellectual works of literary history, made even more impressive by Ye’s inclusion of copious notes, including Japanese-language ones. In this translation, Christopher Lupke has painstakingly translated both Ye’s main text and notes, making this valuable resource available to English readers for the first time. Lupke also provides an introduction that contextualizes Ye’s work as well as an epilogue that outlines some of the major historical and literary developments after 1987, along with a brief mention of some of the most important literary figures of Taiwan. In addition to a glossary and index, Lupke offers a select bibliography that lists works that Ye referenced in his own notes as well as some books that Lupke consulted in completing this translation. Continue reading

A Sensational Encounter with High Socialist China

A Sensational Encounter with High Socialist China
Paul G. Pickowicz with a Preface by Xi Chen
220 pages, papaerback
HK$198/US$29 ISBN: 978-962-937-433-4
City University of Hong Kong Press
Publication Date: October 2019

Purchase/Website Link: https://bit.ly/2mtLXHY

A Sensational Encounter with High Socialist China is a recollection of the historic visit of fourteen American students (and one Canadian) to China in 1971. The visit was one of the first approved for American scholars after the Chinese Communist Party came to power in 1949 and occurred prior to President Nixon’s famous trip (as well as that of a second group of scholars) in 1972. One of these students, Paul Pickowicz, kept a journal and photographically documented the trip. This book is a personal account of the events leading up to their visa approvals as well as those that occurred during the journey itself. The five senses are used to connect the reader to his experience and are placed in the context of a theatrical production. The images included have been selected from an archive at the University of California, San Diego, which digitized the author’s images as well as those of others in the Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars (CCAS) taken during both the 1971 and 1972 delegations. Continue reading

The Chinese Lyric Sequence

The Chinese Lyric Sequence: Poems, Paintings, Anthologies
by Joseph R. Allen
Cambria Press, Cambria Sinophone World Series (General Editor: Victor H. Mair)
Hardback  ISBN: 9781621964780 $124.99 412pp. (includes 15 images and 7 tables)

Order direct from Cambria Press by March 15, 2020, and save 25% (Use coupon code SAVE25).

Classical Chinese poetry is the dominating lyric form of world literature. Mainstream shi (lyric poetry) is a genre spanning more than two millennia, with poems numbering in the hundreds of thousands—extant shi from the medieval Tang dynasty alone consists of 48,000 poems by 2,200 authors. In these thousands of poems are some of the world’s more enduring examples of the short occasional poem, inspiring readers and writers across the globe with its vivid language of perspicuity. And embedded within that great lyric tradition, from its very beginnings to contemporary times, is the subtle but unsung form of the sequence of poems. Along its related meta-forms of the literary anthology and album of paintings, this forms the Chinese lyric sequence.

The Chinese lyric sequence was never named or even noticed, by the poets, painters, or anthologists who worked in the genre over the millennia. It was an invisible but powerful form; in fact, Professor Joseph Allen argues that its power was in its invisible hold on the artists. Although the works discussed are some of the most canonical in the tradition, this is the first time that close attention and detailed analysis has been brought to the Chinese lyric sequence, both in its specific manifestations and as a shared aesthetic form. In doing so, Allen provides a focused introduction to Chinese literature and art for the general reader, while offering new insights for the specialist. Continue reading

Transnational Chinese Theatres

Rossella Ferrari, Transnational Chinese Theatres: Intercultural Performance Networks in East Asia. Palgrave Macmillan, 2020


Transnational Chinese Theatres is the first systematic study of networks of performance collaboration in the contemporary Chinese-speaking world and of their interactions with the artistic communities of the wider East Asian region. It investigates the aesthetics and politics of collaboration to propose a new transnational model for the analysis of Sinophone theatre cultures and to foreground the mobility and relationality of intercultural performance in East Asia. The research draws on extensive fieldwork, interviews with practitioners, and direct observation of performances, rehearsals, and festivals in Asia and Europe. It offers provocative close readings and discourse analysis of an extensive corpus of hitherto untapped sources, including unreleased video materials and unpublished scripts, production notes, and archival documentation. Continue reading

The Umbrella Movement

Ngok Ma and Edmund W. Cheng (eds), The Umbrella Movement: Civil Resistance and Contentious Space in Hong Kong, Revised Edition (Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press, 2020

This volume examines the most spectacular struggle for democracy in post-handover Hong Kong. Bringing together scholars with different disciplinary focuses and comparative perspectives from mainland China, Taiwan and Macau, one common thread that stitches the chapters is the use of first-hand data collected through onsite fieldwork. This study unearths how trajectories can create favourable conditions for the spontaneous civil resistance despite the absence of political opportunities and surveys the dynamics through which the protestors, the regime and the wider public responses differently to the prolonged contentious space. The Umbrella Movement: Civil Resistance and Contentious Space in Hong Kong offers an informed analysis of the political future of Hong Kong and its relations with the authoritarian sovereignty as well as sheds light on the methodological challenges and promises in studying modern-day protests.

This new edition includes a preface on Hong Kong’s ‘summer of dissent’ in 2019, arguing that the movement’s dynamics and resilience cannot be detached from the learning curve of the protesters and the hidden networks developed after the Umbrella Movement.

Faces of Tradition

Levi S. Gibbs, ed. 2020. Faces of Tradition in Chinese Performing Arts. Series: Encounters: Explorations in Folklore and Ethnomusicology. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN: 978-0-253-04583-6
Available in Paperback and E-Book

Faces of Tradition in Chinese Performing Arts examines the key role of the individual in the development of traditional Chinese performing arts such as music and dance. These artists and their artistic works—the “faces of tradition”—come to represent and reconfigure broader fields of cultural production in China today. The contributors to this volume explore the ways in which performances and recordings, including singing competitions, textual anthologies, ethnographic videos, and CD albums, serve as discursive spaces where individuals engage with and redefine larger traditions and themselves. By focusing on the performance, scholarship, collection, and teaching of instrumental music, folksong, and classical dance from a variety of disciplines–these case studies highlight the importance of the individual in determining how traditions have been and are represented, maintained, and cultivated. Continue reading

Dionysus on the Other Shore

Fusini, Letizia. Dionysus on the Other Shore: Gao Xingjian’s Theatre of the Tragic. Leiden: Brill, 2020.

In Dionysus on the Other Shore, Letizia Fusini argues that throughout his early exile years (late 1980s-1990s), Gao Xingjian gradually moved away from Absurdist Drama to develop a dramaturgical system with tragic characteristics. Drawing on a range of contemporary theories of tragedy, this book reconfigures some of the key tropes of Gao’s post-1987 theater as varied articulations of the Dionysian sparagmos mechanism. They are the dismemberment of the dramatic self, the usage of constricted spaces, the divisive nature of gender relations, and the agony of verbal language. Through a text-based analysis of seven plays, the author ultimately aims to show that in Gao’s theater, tragedy is an ongoing and mostly subtextual dynamism generated by an interplay of psychic forces concurrently cohesive and divisive. Continue reading

Sensible Politics

William A. Callahan, Sensible Politics: Visualizing International Relations (Oxford University Press, 2020).
Discount code ASFLYQ6: so paperback is $19.57

Book abstract:

Visual images are everywhere in international politics. But how are we to understand them? In Sensible Politics, William A. Callahan uses his expertise in theory and filmmaking to explore not only what visuals mean, but also how visuals can viscerally move and connect us in “affective communities of sense.”

The book’s rich analysis of visual images (photographs, film, art) and visual artifacts (maps, veils, walls, gardens, cyberspace) shows how critical scholarship needs to push beyond issues of identity and security to appreciate the creative politics of social-ordering and world-ordering. Continue reading

Moulding the Socialist Subject

Xiaoning Lu, Moulding the Socialist Subject: Cinema and Chinese Modernity (1949-1966) (Leiden: Brill 2020)
Series: Ideas, History, and Modern China, Volume: 22
Hardback ISBN: 978-90-04-42351-0 Publication Date: 03 Feb 2020
E-Book  ISBN:  978-90-04-42352-7  Publication Date: 30 Jan 2020

What role did cinema play in the Chinese Communist Party’s political project of shaping ideal socialist citizens in the early People’s Republic? In Moulding the Socialist Subject, Xiaoning Lu deploys case studies from popular film genres, movie star culture and rural film exhibition practices to argue that Chinese cinema in 1949–1966, at once an important political instrument, an enjoyable yet instructive form of entertainment, and a specific manifestation of the socialist society of the spectacle, was an everyday site where the moulding of the new socialist person unfolded. While painting a broad picture of Chinese socialist cinema, Lu credits the human agency of film professionals, whose self-reflexivity and individual adaptability played an intrinsic role in the Party’s political project. Continue reading

Drawing from Life

Drawing from Life: Sketching and Socialist Realism in the People’s Republic of China
By Christine I. Ho
University of California Press, 2020.

Drawing from Life explores revolutionary drawing and sketching in the early People’s Republic of China (1949–1965) in order to discover how artists created a national form of socialist realism. Tracing the development of seminal works by the major painters Xu Beihong, Wang Shikuo, Li Keran, Li Xiongcai, Dong Xiwen, and Fu Baoshi, author Christine I. Ho reconstructs how artists grappled with the representational politics of a nascent socialist art. The divergent approaches, styles, and genres presented in this study reveal an art world that is both heterogeneous and cosmopolitan. Through a history of artistic practices in pursuit of Maoist cultural ambitions—to forge new registers of experience, new structures of feeling, and new aesthetic communities—this original book argues that socialist Chinese art presents a critical, alternative vision for global modernism.

Christine I. Ho is Assistant Professor of East Asian Art at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Continue reading