Made in China 8.1

Dear Colleagues,

I am happy to announce the publication of the latest issue of the Made in China Journal. You can download it for free at this link: madeinchinajournal.com/2023/11/21/out-of-the-fog.

Below you can find the editorial.

Out of the Fog: Looking Back at Covid Governance in China

The year 2023 began with a series of jolts in China, as the government abruptly rolled back its notoriously strict pandemic measures following countrywide protests in late 2022. While external popular perceptions saw China as being uniformly locked down for the first years of the pandemic, the reality was that the country’s pandemic governance was unevenly applied and varied substantially from place to place. The result was mixed—and often even contradictory—attempts to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2, with vastly differentiated experiences on the ground. While heterogeneous and fragmented governance in China is nothing new—and indeed is the basis of how most scholars understand policy implementation in the country—the pandemic nevertheless produced patterns of governance that were at times surprising, while also reinforcing previous trends. This issue of the Made in China Journal examines patterns of pandemic governance and the subjectivities associated with living through lockdown and the ever-present possibility of quarantine. Continue reading

Urban Scenes

New Publication
Urban Scenes, by Liu Na’ou; translated and introduced by Yaohua Shi and Judith M. Armory
Cambria Press, 2023

More than eighty years after his death, Liu Na’ou (1905—1940) remains a fascinating figure. Liu was born in Taiwan, but early on he wrote that his future lay in Shanghai and did indeed spend the entirety of his glittering but all-too-brief career in his adopted city, working closely with a small coterie of like-minded friends and associates as an editor, writer, film critic, scenarist, and director. Liu introduced Japanese Shinkankakuha (New Sensationism) to China and made it an important school of modern Chinese urban fiction. Urban Scenes, his slim volume of modernist fiction, in particular, has had an outsized influence on Shanghai’s image as a phantasmagoric metropolis in the 1920s and 1930s. This collection is especially valuable since there are no more works from Liu because shortly after producing this he was murdered purportedly for political reasons.

Like Japanese New Sensationists, who zeroed in on sensory responses to the new technologies rapidly transforming Tokyo after the Great Earthquake of 1923, Liu was fixated on the sights, sounds, and smells of Shanghai, that other throbbing metropolis of the Far East, and these came through in his writings. Liu’s urban romances depict, as he himself put it, the “thrill” and “carnal intoxication” of modern urban life. His stories take place in Shanghai’s nightclubs, race tracks, cinemas, and cafes—sites of moral depredation but also of erotic allure and excitement; therein lies the contradictory nature of his urban fiction, which gives us a vivid picture of early twentieth-century Shanghai.

This complete translation of Liu’s seminal work is available for the first time to researchers, students, and general readers interested in modern Chinese literature and culture. In addition to the eight stories in the original Urban Scenes, this collection includes an introduction by the translators and three additional pieces Liu published separately. The translations are based on the first editions of the Chinese texts. Urban Scenes is a valuable addition to collections in Chinese and Sinophone studies.

Chinese animation at international film fests

Source: Association for Chinese Animation Studies (11/3/23)
Chinese Animation at International Film Festivals: A Report from the 19th Seoul Indie-Anifest, South Korea, September 14-19, 2023
By Grace Han

The hour strikes; the lights dim. The gentle call of ocean waves washes over the audience.  The 4-note singsong of the school bell rings in the distance. Then, suddenly, a girl, soaked in pastel azure blues, appears on-screen. We follow her rotoscoped form closely, climbing up the stairs to the school rooftop with her. As she opens the door, we spot another girl, clad in school uniform, looking out towards the cerulean seas on the rain-soaked terrace. The schoolgirl leaps over the rooftop’s edge, as does our protagonist from the stairs. Their hands touch, their eyes meet, and – in this extreme long shot – the camera takes a step back (fig 1). The film pauses. As the two remain suspended between the heavens and the earth, silhouetted by a majestic lens flare over the horizon, a voiceover ponders aloud in Korean: “Where are we going? What will we become?”

Fig 1: Two figures framed in the 19th Seoul Indie-Anifest trailer (2023), by Han Ji-won.

These questions seemed to weigh upon the 19th iteration of the Seoul Indie-Anifest, in addition to this festival trailer by Han Ji-won. At the packed opening ceremony, festival director Yujin Choi revealed that the slogan for the festival this year was “Nineteen,” in reflection of the festival’s own coming-of-age. After all, in South Korea, age 19 just precedes the legal age of 20; as such, 19 marks the turning point of adolescence. Moreover, Choi remarked that this year witnessed the festival’s first full-blown return from the COVID-19 pandemic. While the festival operated in-person for the last three years, it did so at reduced capacity. In contrast, the festival completely opened its doors this year at CGV Yeonnam, ushering in international guests and the public alike (fig 2). Continue reading

The Political Philosophy of Ci Jiwei

New Publication
Thinking the Unthinkable: The Political Philsophy of Ci Jiwei
By Johannes Hoerning
New Left Review 143 (Sept-Oct. 2023)
[DOWNLOAD THE FULL ARTICLE HERE]

In his 1989–92 lecture series On the State Pierre Bourdieu, following Durkheim, proposed a provisional definition of the state as the basis for ‘both the logical and the moral conformity of the social world’. By ‘logical conformity’, Bourdieu meant that the agents of the social world would share the same categories of perception, the same construction of reality; by ‘moral conformity’, their agreement on certain core values. Taking his distance from classical state theory, such as that of Hobbes or Locke—in which the state, occupying a quasi- godlike viewpoint, oversees all and serves the common good—as also from Marxian traditions, from Gramsci to Althusser and beyond, which focus on the function of the state as an apparatus for maintaining public order in the interests of the ruling bloc, Bourdieu emphasized instead the need to grasp the ‘organizational magic’ of the state as a principle of consciousness—its monopoly of legitimate symbolic as well as physical violence. The social theorist therefore needed to be particularly on guard against Durkheimian ‘pre-notions’ or received ideas, against ‘thinking the state with state thinking’. A first step was to conceive the state as what Bourdieu called ‘an almost unthinkable object’.1

If there is one thinker who has met Bourdieu’s challenge to ‘think the state’ without succumbing to ‘state thinking’, it is the Chinese political philosopher Ci Jiwei. Recently retired from the philosophy department of the University of Hong Kong, Ci has devoted most of the past three decades to analysing the nature and evolution of China’s state and soci- ety since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. Three of his four books—Dialectic of the Chinese Revolution (1994), Moral China in the Age of Reform (2014) and Democracy in China (2019)—amount to a loose trilogy aiming to clarify the ‘logic’ of the Chinese experience and to track the evolution of the CCP regime since Mao. The collapse of Maoist utopi- anism and the liberalization of the economy after 1978 have left Chinese society in a ‘fundamentally unsettled’ condition, Ci argues.2 Each book in the trilogy addresses a different symptom of this situation: existential or social-psychological malaise in Dialectic of the Chinese Revolution, the undermining of moral subjectivity in Moral China and the looming cri- sis of political legitimacy in Democracy in China. In different ways, they are all concerned with how the Chinese party-state might accommodate itself, for its own and the nation’s good, to citizens’ need to act freely and to understand themselves as free, while at the same time preserving its own stability and that of the country at large.3 [DOWNLOAD THE FULL ARTICLE HERE]

HK Lit and the Taiwanese Encounter

New Publication
Jessica Siu-yin Yeung, “Hong Kong Literature and the Taiwanese Encounter: Literary Magazines, Popular Literature and Shih Shu-Ching’s Hong Kong Stories.” Cultural History 12/2 (Open Access)

Abstract

This article examines the ways literary adaptations between Hong Kong and Taiwanese writers shape literary cultures in both places during the Cold War period. The 1950s and 1960s were the time when Hong Kong and Taiwan literary cultures were starting to thrive. An influx of literati into both places collaborated with each other and the locals to experiment with literary forms in literary magazines. The 1950s and 1960s were also the time when Hong Kong and Taiwan cinema experienced the first waves of adapting literary works into film in the postwar period. After the literary magazine culture dwindled in the 1970s, a new generation of writers in both places emerged. In Hong Kong, these new writers may not be native, but they take Hong Kong as their main subject in their writings. The Taiwanese writer Shih Shu-ching is one of them. In studying Hong Kong-Taiwan literary adaptation histories, one may easily overlook the adaptation from fiction to screenplay, as in Shih and the Taiwanese playwright Wang Chi-mei’s case. By understanding the literary relationship between Hong Kong and Taiwan in the Cold War, together with their adaptation histories, we can acquire a clearer sense of how these literary cultures developed.

Posted by: Jessica Siu-yin Yeung <jessicayeung@LN.edu.hk>

Chinese Revolution in Practice

New Publication
Chinese Revolution in Practice: From Movement to the State, by Guo Wu
Routledge, 2023

Description:

This book employs multiple case studies to explore how the Chinese communist revolution began as an ideology-oriented intellectual movement aimed at improving society before China’s transformation into a state that suppresses dissenting voices by outsourcing its power of coercion and incarceration.

The author examines the movement’s methods of early self-organization, grass-roots level engagement, creation of new modes of expression and popular art forms, manipulation of collective memory, and invention of innovative ways of mass incarceration. Covering developments from 1920 to 1970, the book considers a wide range of Chinese individuals and groups, from early Marxists to political prisoners in the PRC, to illustrate a dynamic, interactive process in which the state and individuals contend with each other. It argues that revolutionary practices in modern China have created a regime that can be conceptualized as an “ideology-military-propaganda” state that prompts further reflection on the relationships between revolution and the state, the state and collective articulation and memory, and the state and reflective individuals in a global context.

Illustrating the continuity of the Chinese revolution and past decades’ socialist practices and mechanisms, this study is an ideal resource for scholars of Chinese history, politics, and twentieth-century revolutions. Continue reading

CLT2 54.1-2

Dear Friends,

We are pleased to announce that Chinese Literature and Thought Today (CLTT) v54 n1&2 (2023) has been published and we are running a free access period of this issue during the next four weeks. All contents of the issue can be viewed and downloaded on the Taylor & Francis website during this period:

https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/mcsp21/54/1-2?nav=tocList

In this double issue of CLTT, we celebrate the works of the 2023 Newman laureate Chang Kuei-hisng 張貴興. In addition, we remember the great Chinese philosopher Li Zehou 李澤厚 and the 2019 Newman laureate Xi Xi 西西.

Please take advantage of the free access period to check out our brand new contents!

Ping Zhu
Editor in Chief

Is There a Chinese New Wave in Animation?

Source: Association for Chinese Animation Studies (9/30/2023)
Is There a Chinese New Wave in Animation? An Examination of Student Animation in China
By Jingyi Zhang

Figure 1. The exaggerated proportion of figures in Fish in the Bus.

The beginning of the millennium was important for Chinese animation. It not only began the rejuvenation of the Chinese animation industry, which embodied “the promise of the modernization of Chinese visual culture,”[i] but also saw the creation of a surprising range of works that can be categorized as independent animation. Additionally, it was a significant period for Chinese animation education. In January 2000, the Beijing Film Academy separated the animation major from the Art School, forming an independent Department of Animation. This change signals the rise of professional animation education in China in the 21st century. Since then, animation departments and institutions have gradually been founded in many universities and provinces, including the School of Animation and Digital Arts at the Communication University of China (CUC). That department in particular has trained and inspired many young animators who contribute to the commercial and independent films in Chinese animation industry. Scholars have conducted many studies in Chinese animation, yet they rarely consider the important field of student films.

In this paper, I investigate student animation created after 2000 in China, focusing on those works directed by the students who graduated from CUC. I argue that student animation reflects the ongoing changes within Chinese animation, changes that will alter the industry, and make important breaks from the characteristics of the 20th century. The student films exhibit a variety of narrative, visual styles, and techniques. They not only are influenced by the development of digital technology and global animation and cinematic culture but also indicate the trend of reviving traditional visual styles and telling indigenous narratives. Moreover, the young generation of filmmakers have gone on to enter the industry, often while keeping their personal, auteur styles. With the new talents, new technology, new producers and a new reputation on the world stage, I keep wondering whether we are witnessing a new wave set off by the young animators in Chinese animation history. Continue reading

Fear of Seeing

NEW PUBLICATION
Fear of Seeing: A Poetics of Chinese Science Fiction
By Mingwei Song
Columbia University Press (2023)

A new wave of cutting-edge, risk-taking science fiction has energized twenty-first-century Chinese literature. These works capture the anticipation and anxieties of China’s new era, speaking to a future filled with uncertainties. Deeply entangled with the politics and culture of a changing China, contemporary science fiction has also attracted a growing global readership.

Fear of Seeing traces the new wave’s origin and development over the past three decades, exploring the core concerns and literary strategies that make it so distinctive and vital. Mingwei Song argues that recent Chinese science fiction is united by a capacity to illuminate what had been invisible—what society had chosen not to see; what conventional literature had failed to represent. Its poetics of the invisible opens up new literary possibilities and inspires new ways of telling stories about China and the world. Reading the works of major writers such as Liu Cixin and Han Song as well as lesser-known figures, Song explores how science fiction has spurred larger changes in contemporary literature and culture. He analyzes key topics: variations of utopia and dystopia, cyborgs and the posthuman, and nonbinary perspectives on gender and genre, among many more. A compelling and authoritative account of the politics and poetics of contemporary Chinese science fiction, Fear of Seeing is an important book for all readers interested in the genre’s significance for twenty-first-century literature.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mingwei Song is a professor of Chinese literature at Wellesley College. He is the author of Young China: National Rejuvenation and the Bildungsroman, 1900–1959 (2015) and a coeditor of The Reincarnated Giant: An Anthology of Twenty-First-Century Chinese Science Fiction (Columbia, 2018).

Global China Pulse 2.1

Dear Colleagues,

I am happy to announce the publication of the latest issue of the Global China Pulse journal. You can download it for free at this link: https://thepeoplesmap.net/globalchinapulse/global-china-pulse-1-2023. Below you can find the editorial:

Editorial

The Global China Pulse journal aims to be an open access platform where it is possible to discuss Global China from a more grounded perspective, conscious of, but not consumed by, the geopolitical speculations and abstract and aggregate macroeconomic discussions that often dominate current debates. In line with our sister project, The People’s Map of Global China, here we strive to offer perspectives on how Global China is playing out at the grassroots, focusing on how Chinese engagements overseas impact, for better or for worse, the lived experiences of people in different localities and their environments. We do this through contributions written not only by scholars, but also by nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), activists, and journalists.

At the core of this issue is the Focus section, edited by Miriam Driessen, that explores the myriad global connections Chinese health authorities, medical doctors, and pharmaceutical companies have forged over a century marked by increased mobility. Their engagement, passion, care, and labour rendered China genuinely global in the past as much as during the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Continue reading

Questioning Borders book launch

On Wed 9/27 (3-4:30 EDT), Professor Mark Bender of Ohio State University will have a short discussion with Robin Visser about her new book, Questioning Borders: Ecoliteratures of China and Taiwan (Columbia UP, 2023), followed by audience questions. Register here: https://carolinaasiacenter.unc.edu/event/visser-book-launch/

Posted by: Robin Visser <rvisser@email.unc.edu>

I Love Bill and Other Stories

I Love Bill and Other StoriesNEW PUBLICATION
I Love Bill and Other Stories, by Wang Anyi
Translated by Todd Foley
Foreword by Xudong Zhang
Cornell East Asia Series
ISBN13: 9781501771071
ISBN10: 1501771078
Publication date: 09/15/2023
Pages: 260

I Love Bill and Other Stories showcases the work of Wang Anyi, one of China’s most prolific and highly regarded writers, in two novellas and three short stories.

A young artist’s life spirals out of control when she drops out of school to pursue a series of unfulfilling relationships with foreign men. A performance troupe struggles to adapt to a changing China at the end of the Cultural Revolution. The head of an isolated village arranges a youth’s posthumous marriage to an unknown soldier, only to have the soldier’s former lover unexpectedly turn up. A fun trip takes an unexpected turn when two young women are kidnapped and sold off as brides. A boy’s bout with typhoid provides an intimate look at family life in Shanghai’s longtang alleys.

Wang Anyi is president of the Shanghai Writers’ Association and professor at Fudan University. She has received the Mao Dun Literature Prize, and her works in English translation include BaotownThe Song of Everlasting Sorrow, and Fuping.

Posted by: Todd Foley <twf218@nyu.edu>

On the Edge: Feeling Precarious in China

NEW PUBLICATION
On the Edge: Feeling Precarious in China
By Margaret Hillenbrand
Columbia University Press, 2023
$35.00/£30.00 paper    $140/£117.00 hardcover   $34.99/£30.00 ebook
Enter Code: CUP20 for 20% discount

DESCRIPTION:

Charismatic artists recruit desperate migrants for site-specific performance art pieces, often without compensation. Construction workers threaten on camera to jump from the top of a high-rise building if their back wages are not paid. Users of a video and livestreaming app hustle for views by eating excrement or setting off firecrackers on their genitals. In these and many other recent cultural moments, China’s suppressed social strife simmers—or threatens to boil over.

On the Edge probes precarity in contemporary China through the lens of the dark and angry cultural forms that chronic uncertainty has generated. Margaret Hillenbrand argues that a vast underclass of Chinese workers exist in “zombie citizenship,” a state of dehumanizing exile from the law and its safeguards. Many others also feel precarious—sensing that they live on a precipice, with the constant fear of falling into this abyss of dispossession, disenfranchisement, and dislocation. Examining the volatile aesthetic forms that embody stifled social tensions and surging anxiety over zombie citizenship, Hillenbrand traces how people use culture to vent taboo feelings of rage, resentment, distrust, and disdain in scenarios rife with cross-class antagonism. Continue reading

Paris in the Springtime

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Paul Bevan’s introduction to and translation of “Paris in the Springtime,” by Shao Xunmei. This translation appears in conjunction with the recent publication of One Man Talking: Selected Essays of Shao Xunmei, 1929-1939, translated by Paul Bevan and Susan Daruvala. A teaser appears below. For the full introduction and translation, see: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/online-series/paris-in-the-springtime/.

Kirk Denton, MCLC

Paris in the Springtime

By Shao Xunmei 邵洵美

Translated by Paul Bevan


MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright September 2023)


Introduction: Shao Xunmei, a Chinese Poet in 1920s Paris
By Paul Bevan

Portrait of Shao by the artist Xu Beihong 徐悲鴻.

Shao Xunmei (1906-68) was a poet, essayist, and publisher. Today, he is best known for his poetry, which mostly belongs to the period when he was a young man in his twenties inspired by the Decadent poets of nineteenth-century Europe. His lesser-known essays, written during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, cover all sorts of different topics, from the poetry of Sappho to the art of the woodblock print, from Shanghai in wartime to Chinese philately. Arguably his greatest contribution to the culture of the Chinese Republican Era (1912-49) was in publishing. During the 1920s and 1930s, Shao Xunmei published an array of pictorial magazines, so important that they did nothing less than define the era, in their celebration of the unique culture that developed in China’s most cosmopolitan city, Shanghai, at a time of great change. In addition to his own magazines, Shao was also responsible for the publication of many other periodicals, in his capacity as printer and editor. The essays translated in the book One Man Talking were all published in Shao’s own magazines between the years 1929 and 1939, and give a good idea of the breadth of his interests.

This short prose piece, “Paris in the Springtime” 巴黎的春天 (which does not appear in the book and was translated specially for MCLC), was published in 1929, three years after Shao Xunmei returned from Europe to China. It describes his movements whilst in Paris on a brief visit from Cambridge, where he was studying towards the university entrance exams. The cover of the book One Man Talking shows a portrait of Shao taken in a Parisian photographic studio in 1926, which was almost certainly posed for at the time of this visit. It has a handwritten greeting in Chinese to his friends and landlords in Cambridge, Rev. A.C. Moule and his wife, and was sent to them from Paris.[1]

Cover of One Man Talking.

In Shao’s poetic introduction the sun drips like honey; the warm breeze has audible footsteps; the tree is female, and she expresses herself in a variety of different ways, depending on who passes beneath her vast green canopy of leaves and branches.

Shao was a young man of his time, and in his writing we sometimes find references to women that do not read well today. This short essay is no exception. The tree giggles when young women pass beneath it, but is dismissive of middle-aged women because they are no longer young. Shao’s description of the artists’ model, though brief, typically objectifies the sitter, and the naïve, even childish ending to the essay brings in the rather self-conscious and unimaginative reference to the “amorous feelings of spring.” Despite these shortcomings, the essay as a whole displays much charm, and is written in a style that is typical of his writings of the time, with a nod towards the use of a descriptive language that shows his poetic aspirations. Above all, the essay provides an excellent indication as to what Shao Xunmei’s pastimes were during the time he spent in Paris as a man of leisure. It also gives an impression of his interests more broadly, interests with which he was able to fully indulge himself while he lived in Cambridge. [READ THE FULL PIECE HERE]

Scents of China

NEW PUBLICATION:
Scents of China: A Modern History of Smell
By Xuelei Huang
Cambridge University Press, 2023
https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009207065

DESCRIPTION:

In this vivid and highly original reading of recent Chinese history, Xuelei Huang documents the eclectic array of smells that permeated Chinese life from the High Qing through to the Mao period. Utilising interdisciplinary methodology and critically engaging with scholarship in the expanding fields of sensory and smell studies, she shows how this period of tumultuous change in China was experienced through the body and the senses. Drawing on unexplored archival materials, readers are introduced to the ‘smellscapes’ of China from the eighteenth to mid-twentieth century via perfumes, food, body odours, public health projects, consumerism and cosmetics, travel literature, fiction and political language. This pioneering and evocative study takes the reader on a sensory journey through modern Chinese history, examining the ways in which the experience of scent and modernity have intertwined.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Introduction. The cesspool and the rose garden

Part I. A Sniff of China

  1. Aromas of the red chamber
  2. China stinks

Continue reading