Chinese Independent Cinema Observer inaugural issue

The Chinese Independent Film Archive (CIFA) would like to alert you to the inaugural issue of its the new journal, the Chinese Independent Cinema Observer.

Chinese Independent Cinema Observer is a bi-lingual peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the study of Chinese independent films and film culture, particularly of mainland China. It publishes three times a year on the official website of Chinese Independent Film Archive (CIFA). The editorial team is made up of twelve film scholars and/or independent filmmakers across the world who are eager to push the boundaries as a team and to create a journal that is inclusive, retrospective, creative and interactive.

This inaugural issue, ‘Sino-Japanese Connections in Independent Film Cultures’, seeks to understand Chinese independent cinema, together with its historical trajectories, spaces, and transformations, by situating it within and alongside the cinematic-cultural interconnections between China and Japan of the recent three decades (1989-2020). This issue does not seek to provide a so-called ‘panoramic view’ or the ‘one and only’ historical narrative apropos Japanese-Chinese independent film connections. Rather, the contributors use this platform as an entry point to demonstrate how complicated the interconnections are, their politics, and how meaningful it would be to engage in these discussions in the future.

Luke Robinson

The People’s Map of Global China

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are happy to announce a new initiative stemming from the Made in China Journal: The People’s Map of Global China.

Using an interactive, open access, and online ‘map’ format, we are collaborating with nongovernmental organisations, journalists, trade unions, academics, and the public at large to provide updated and updatable information on various dimensions of Global China in their localities.

The Map consists of profiles of countries and projects, sortable by project parameters, Chinese companies and banks involved, and their social, political, and environmental impacts.

This is a ‘people’s’ map in two ways. First, our content attempts to trace the global imprint of China focusing on the experiences of the people most affected by it. For this reason, you will discover that our profiles have a strong focus on issues related to labour rights, environment, land, Indigenous communities, etc. Second, our map relies on the input of a growing network of people who often hail from the places they are discussing, who have been conducting in-depth research on the various facets of Global China in their localities, and/or are working directly with communities impacted by these projects.

Beside the map homepage, you might also want to check out our project database, country database, list of contributors, and FAQ page. We are currently launching with profiles for 17 countries and 23 projects, but the map will be updated on a rolling basis. Even though we already have much more content in the pipeline, we welcome new pitches and submissions. To keep track of our updates, you can follow us on our dedicated Facebook and Twitter profiles. Continue reading

Chinese Literature Today 9.2

Dear colleagues,

We are running a free access period for Chinese Literature Today v9n2 (2020) from now to May 12, 2021. This issue features the fictional works of Lu Min 鲁敏, Xue Yiwei 薛忆沩, and Zhang Ning 张柠, a set of Covid-19 poems and the poems by Zheng Min 郑敏, as well as the artwork of Wang Mansheng 王満晟.

Those contents can be read and downloaded from the Taylor & Francis website at:

Ping Zhu
Acting Editor-in-Chief, Chinese Literature Today

Global Storytelling–cfp

Dear colleagues,

We are writing to announce a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal, Global Storytelling: Journal of Digital and Moving Images, founded by Editor-in-Chief Ying Zhu, edited at Hong Kong Baptist University, and published at University of Michigan. The journal invites submissions that engage with the affect (emotional engagement) and effect (social impact) of audiovisual storytelling across all audiovisual platforms and encompasses multiple methodological approaches. For more info see our temporary journal homepage here.

You can find our open call for papers here. Please submit through this web portal (or email

We also invite submissions for a special issue on serial narrative, entitled “Streaming and Seriality”, described here.

If you are interested in being our peer-reviewers, please email your name, a link to a CV or webpage describing your background, and a list of topics you are interested in and qualified to review to

We look forward to hearing from all!

Dorothy Lau, Managing Editor
Jonathan Frome, Associate Managing Editor

Transtopia in the Sinophone Pacific

Publication Announcement: Howard Chiang, Transtopia in the Sinophone Pacific (Columbia University Press, 2021).

As a broad category of identity, “transgender” has given life to a vibrant field of academic research since the 1990s. Yet the Western origins of the field have tended to limit its cross-cultural scope. Howard Chiang proposes a new paradigm for doing transgender history in which geopolitics assumes central importance. Defined as the antidote to transphobia, transtopia challenges a minoritarian view of transgender experience and makes room for the variability of transness on a historical continuum.

Against the backdrop of the Sinophone Pacific, Chiang argues that the concept of transgender identity must be rethought beyond a purely Western frame. At the same time, he challenges China-centrism in the study of East Asian gender and sexual configurations. Chiang brings Sinophone studies to bear on trans theory to deconstruct the ways in which sexual normativity and Chinese imperialism have been produced through one another. Grounded in an eclectic range of sources—from the archives of sexology to press reports of intersexuality, films about castration, and records of social activism—this book reorients anti-transphobic inquiry at the crossroads of area studies, medical humanities, and queer theory. Timely and provocative, Transtopia in the Sinophone Pacific highlights the urgency of interdisciplinary knowledge in debates over the promise and future of human diversity.

The Suicide of Miss Xi

The Suicide of Miss Xi: Democracy and Disenchantment in the Chinese Republic
By Bryna Goodman
Harvard University Press. 352 pages. HARDCOVER $39.95 • £31.95 • €36.00; ISBN 9780674248823
Publication Date: 07/13/2021

About this book

A suicide scandal in Shanghai reveals the social fault lines of democratic visions in China’s troubled Republic in the early 1920s.

On September 8, 1922, the body of Xi Shangzhen was found hanging in the Shanghai newspaper office where she worked. Although her death occurred outside of Chinese jurisdiction, her U.S.-educated employer, Tang Jiezhi, was kidnapped by Chinese authorities and put on trial. In the unfolding scandal, novelists, filmmakers, suffragists, reformers, and even a founding member of the Chinese Communist Party seized upon the case as emblematic of deep social problems. Xi’s family claimed that Tang had pressured her to be his concubine; his conviction instead for financial fraud only stirred further controversy. Continue reading

Infrastructure as Planetary Sculpture (1)

Interesting. A bit credulous, is it?

Anyhow, it makes me think of Sun Yat-sen’s manifesto, The International Development of China, 1922, which pretty much laid out the same entire infrastructure plan, including railroads to Europe and all that. While Sun emphasized it would be for peace, not domination, he’s totally blatant about annexing and colonizing the nations that had already been conquered by the Chinese empires he himself had only just overthrown.

It’s a manifesto of naked colonialism: On pp 20 ff (in the 1953 Taipei reprint available online), Sun speaks of how Chinese colonization of Sinkiang etc. will be profitable just as colonialism — in tandem with transportation infrastructure — has been so nicely profitable in places like the USA, Canada and Australia.

Until I saw Sun Yat-sen’s uninhibited but unrealized plans from the 1920s, which must be the origin of the Communist Party’s current schemes, I had thought the current BRI schemes may have originated with the fringe-extremist sect founded by the American Lyndon LaRouche, a curious figure whose political cult (in Europe, and beyond) has been widely dismissed as nuts, and ignored. But in China, curiously, he’s praised, books are written about him — and Chinese embassies abroad can’t get enough of photo-ops with local Larouchians regardless of their local insignificance, which ought to have made them a bit of a non-starter. Embassies never do anything except on Beijing instructions, so this means it is probably all because Larouche (1922–2019) was a BRI believer and open proponent long before anyone else, and so orders have been issued to honor him (albeit not directly credit him too much). (A bit like Russia shall never forget Kim Philby?).

Nevertheless it’s clear that today’s grandiose schemes, of all roads leading to the Communist party, actually precedes it, as a specifically Chinese-modern Gargantuan fantasy.

Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Chinese Ibsenism

Tam, Kwok-kan. Chinese Ibsenism: Reinventions of Women, Class and Nation. Springer, 2019. xi+298. pp. ISBN: 978-981-13-6303-0 (eBook); 978-981-13-6302-3 (hardcover); 978-981-13-6305-4 (softcover).

Book Overview

This book is a study of the cultural changes brought about by the introduction of Ibsen to China from the 1910s to the 2010s. It is a companion to Kwok-kan Tam’s two other books, Ibsen, Power and the Self: Postsocialist Chinese Experimentations in Stage Performance and Film (Oslo: Novus Press, 2019) and Ibsen in China: A Critical-Annotated Bibliography of Criticism, Translation and Performance (Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 2001). A special feature of the book is that the stage performances, especially those that were performed 80 years ago, are well illustrated with stage photographs which are now difficult to find. Particularly noteworthy is that the front cover shows a color image of Nora from one of the most memorable performances with Ji Shuping playing the lead role in the Beijing A Doll’s House in 1956.

The study is based on forty years’ collection of Chinese materials extracted from library, newspapers and theatre archives from all over the world. Supported by detailed analyses of translations, literary experiments and theatrical performances involved in the cultural debates, the study provides the most comprehensive view of the critical reception of Ibsen in China in the past 100 years. It is moreover a study of the relation between theatre art and ideology in the Chinese experimentations with new selfhood as a result of Ibsen’s impact. It explores Ibsenian notions of the self, women and gender in China and provides an illuminating study of Chinese theatre as a public sphere in the dissemination of radical ideas. As the major source of modern Chinese selfhood, Ibsenism carries notions of personal and social liberation and has exerted great impacts on Chinese revolutions since the beginning of the twentieth century. Ibsen’s idea of the self as an individual has led to various experimentations in theatre, film and fiction to project new notions of selfhood, in particular women’s selfhood, throughout the history of modern China. Continue reading

Rethinking Chinese Socialist Theaters of Reform

Rethinking Chinese Socialist Theaters of Reform: Performance Practice and Debate in the Mao Era
Xiaomei Chen, Tarryn Li-Min Chun, and Siyuan Liu, Editors
University of Michigan Press, 2021

Diverse perspectives on the effort to reform modern Chinese theater according to socialist cultural policies


The profound political, economic, and social changes in China in the second half of the twentieth century have produced a wealth of scholarship; less studied however is how cultural events, and theater reforms in particular, contributed to the dynamic landscape of contemporary Chinese society. Rethinking Chinese Socialist Theaters of Reform fills this gap by investigating the theories and practice of socialist theater and their effects on a diverse range of genres, including Western-style spoken drama, Chinese folk opera, dance drama, Shanghai opera, Beijing opera, and rural theater. Focusing on the 1950s and ’60s, when theater art occupied a prominent political and cultural role in Maoist China, this book examines the efforts to remake theater in a socialist image. It explores the unique dynamics between official discourse, local politics, performance practice, and audience reception that emerged under the pressures of highly politicized cultural reform as well as the off-stage, lived impact of rapid policy change on individuals and troupes obscured by the public record. This multidisciplinary collection by leading scholars covers a wide range of perspectives, geographical locations, specific research methods, genres of performance, and individual knowledge and experience. The richly diverse approach leads readers through a nuanced and complex cultural landscape as it contributes significantly to our understanding of a crucial period in the development of modern Chinese theater and performance.

Xiaomei Chen is Distinguished Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Davis.
Tarryn Li-Min Chun is Assistant Professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre at the University of Notre Dame.
Siyuan Liu is Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of British Columbia.

The Landscape of Historical Memory

If I might indulge in a little shameless self-promotion…

The Landscape of Historical Memory: The Politics of Museums and Memorial Culture in Post–Martial Law Taiwan (歷史記憶的景觀:戒嚴後的台灣博物館和紀念文化的政治意義)
Kirk A. Denton
Hong Kong University Press (March 2021)
Hardback 978-988-8528-57-8

The Landscape of Historical Memory explores the place of museums and memorial culture in the contestation over historical memory in post–martial law Taiwan. The book is particularly oriented toward the role of politics—especially political parties—in the establishment, administration, architectural design, and historical narratives of museums. It is framed around the wrangling between the “blue camp” (the Nationalist Party, or KMT, and its supporters) and the “green camp” (Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP, and its supporters) over what facets of the past should be remembered and how they should be displayed in museums. Organized into chapters focused on particular types of museums and memorial spaces (such as archaeology museums, history museums, martyrs’ shrines, war museums, memorial halls, literature museums, ethnology museums, and ecomuseums), the book presents a broad overview of the state of museums in Taiwan in the past three decades. The case of Taiwan museums tells us much about Cold War politics and its legacy in East Asia; the role of culture, history, and memory in shaping identities in the “postcolonial” landscape of Taiwan; the politics of historical memory in an emergent democracy, especially in counterpoint to the politics of museums in the People’s Republic of China, which continues to be an authoritarian single party state; and the place of museums in a neoliberal economic climate.

Kirk A. Denton is a professor of Chinese language and literature at The Ohio State University. He is the author of Exhibiting the Past: Historical Memory and the Politics of Museums in Postsocialist China (2014) and The Problematic of Self in Modern Chinese Literature: Hu Feng and Lu Ling (1998). He is also editor of the journal Modern Chinese Literature and Culture.

New books by Martin Winter


Happy Lantern Festival, may this lunar year be better than the last one! I wrote a Rat poem on the last day of 2020, it was presented by Yi Sha.

Actually I wanted to tell you about the new book finally coming out, NPC A-J, Chinese-German. I have posted about Yi Sha’s NPC a while before, several years now. I have been participating in it since 2013. Now the first book with NPC poets in Chinese and German is finally going to print. The book info is in here:

Anyone interested in doing a review somewhere? It’s not in English, just Chinese/German, so maybe it’s not suitable for a MCLC review. But we would be happy to send the book to you asap.

And the second book is my own first book coming out in China. Came out last fall, fall 2020. Have I posted about this before? Maybe not. Here is the link:

Poetry, of course. Great book!

Small censorship issue, see here


Martin 维马丁

Diverse Voices in Chinese Translation and Interpreting

Moratto, Riccardo and Woesler, Martin (eds.) (2021). Diverse Voices in Chinese Translation and Interpreting. Theory and Practice. Singapore: Springer.

This book presents a thoughtful and thorough account of 18 diverse studies on Chinese translation and interpreting (TI). It introduces readers to a plurality of scholarly voices focusing on different aspects of Chinese TI from an interdisciplinary and international perspective. Readers will approach Chinese TI studies from different standpoints, namely socio-historical, literary, policy-related, interpreting, and contemporary translation practice.

The research spans from the Qing dynasty to the present day, and even gives an outlook on neural machine translation with the help of artificial intelligence. Several chapters focus on the translation of literature, there are chapters on the role of the interpreter, on sociology, on collaborative translation of government texts as well as on translation theory. The preface proposes the integration of most of the existing translation theories into a “final theory of all translation theories”, the so-called “Appropriateness Theory”. Continue reading