Paper Republic 3

Hello again! You must have been champing at the bit to receive this next issue of our newsletter. Well you need wait no longer. It’s been a busy time for the PR management team, what with the delights that were the Aberdeen Festival of Chinese Translation and Bristol Translates as well as our working toward some big announcements we can make soon. Watch this space. Then there’s the small matters of the welcome distraction, the Olympics, followed eagerly by Nicky and Emily, upcoming camping trips for Jack and Eric, and big work projects and exams for Yvette and Lirong.

Anyway, first for a little housekeeping. Remember back to May 2020? (I don’t know about you, but I can’t tell if it feels like yesterday or ten years ago with the past year and a bit the world has had.) So whether you do remember or not, a reminder: Paper Republic collaborated with Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing to run Give-it-a-go, bringing together 124 translators plus ourselves to have a go at translating Deng Anqing’s “Forty Days: Growing Closer to My Parents during Quarantine” (read the joint translation here). Since then, this piece and others from the Epidemic Series have been translated into Spanish, hereherehere and here, plus, I believe, into Slovenian, somewhere. The new good news is that, more recently, Deng’s account of lockdown at home is now available in Danish, in DanmarkKina magazine #115. It feels good for PR to have played a role in giving these stories a broader, more international readership. Continue reading


The first issue of Yeshe: A Journal of Tibetan Literature, Arts and Humanities, is now live now. Here is the link: Shely Bhoil and I founded the journal last year. It publishes English translations of short stories, poetry, and essays by Tibetan writers originally written in Tibetan and Chinese, as well as interviews, book reviews, and academic articles on literature, art, and history.
All the best,

Schiaffini-Vedani, Patricia <>

Transforming Tradition

NEW PUBLICATION: Transforming Tradition: The Reform of Chinese Theater in the 1950s and Early 1960s, by Siyuan Liu
University of Michigan Press, 2021
Explores the history and lingering effects of governmental reform of Chinese theater, post-1949


Shortly after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the PRC launched a reform campaign that targeted traditional song and dance theater encompassing more than a hundred genres, collectively known as xiqu. Reformers censored or revised xiqu plays and techniques; reorganized star-based private troupes; reassigned the power to create plays from star actors to the newly created functions of playwright, director, and composer; and eliminated market-oriented functionaries such as agents. While the repertoire censorship ended in the 1980s, major reform elements have remained: many traditional scripts (or parts of them) are no longer in performance; actors whose physical memory of repertoire and acting techniques had been the center of play creation, have been superseded by directors, playwrights, and composers. The net result is significantly diminished repertoires and performance techniques, and the absence of star actors capable of creating their own performance styles through new signature plays that had traditionally been one of the hallmarks of a performance school. Transforming Tradition offers a systematic study of the effects of the comprehensive reform of traditional theater conducted in the 1950s and ’60s, and is based on a decade’s worth of exhaustive research of official archival documents, wide-ranging interviews, and contemporaneous publications, most of which have never previously been referenced in scholarly research. Continue reading

Meritocracy and Its Discontents–new publication

Meritocracy and Its Discontents: Anxiety and the National College Entrance Exam in China
Cornell University Press, 2021

Meritocracy and Its Discontents investigates the wider social, political, religious, and economic dimensions of the Gaokao, China’s national college entrance exam, as well as the complications that arise from its existence.Each year, some nine million high school seniors in China take the Gaokao, which determines college admission and provides a direct but difficult route to an urban lifestyle for China’s hundreds of millions of rural residents. But with college graduates struggling to find good jobs, some are questioning the exam’s legitimacy—and, by extension, the fairness of Chinese society. Chronicling the experiences of underprivileged youth, Zachary M. Howlett’s research illuminates how people remain captivated by the exam because they regard it as fateful—an event both consequential and undetermined. He finds that the exam enables people both to rebel against the social hierarchy and to achieve recognition within it.

In Meritocracy and Its Discontents, Howlett contends that the Gaokao serves as a pivotal rite of passage in which people strive to personify cultural virtues such as diligence, composure, filial devotion, and divine favor.

Chinese Literature Today news

Dear MCLC Friends and Colleagues

Summer greetings from the University of Oklahoma! Over the last year I assumed the Editor-in Chief position of Contemporary Chinese Thought with the understanding that after this year we will be merging CLT with CCT to launch a new title: CLTT, or Chinese Literature and Thought Today with Routledge. The new journal will continue the trajectory of CCT as an interdisciplinary hub for Chinese thought in English translation, but CLTT will expand its breadth to include Chinese literature and poetry, literary criticism, poetics interviews as well. CLTT will maintain many aspects of the award-winning design of CLT’s parent journal, World Literature Today (America’s longest-running world literature journal), so that we can continue in CLT’s tradition of marrying aesthetic attention to detail more typical of a literary trade publication with the rigor of a peer-review journal. We believe that by combining our journals’ individual strengths, we can bring more attention to the scholars and authors we translate and publish.

Below, I am including the latest CLT Editor’s Note, which goes into more detail about the up-coming issue of CLT and more details about CCT’s amazing history and our hopes for the future.  Thank you all so much for your support of both CLT and CCT over the years. It has been a tremendous honor getting to know so many of you and doing our small part to get your scholarship, translations, reviews, poetry, fiction, and more out to readers. So, on behalf of my colleagues Zhu Ping and Julie Shilling, thank you again and we are genuinely looking forward to working with you all to shape the future of Chinese Literature and Thought Today.  A new CFP will soon follow.


Jonathan Stalling
Editor in Chief, Chinese Literature Today & Contemporary Chinese Thought Continue reading

Writing Chinese–cfp

We are delighted to share the first Call for Papers from Writing Chinese: A Journal of Contemporary Sinophone Literature (WCJ). This new journal, published by White Rose University Press, showcases the latest peer-reviewed academic research on contemporary Chinese-language literature and its translation and global reception, alongside features on practitioners. WCJ’s combination of academic articles and practice-based notes provides a platform for, and facilitates dialogue between, both primary and secondary actors in the field. A key objective of the journal is to engage directly with scholarship in East Asia and throughout the Sinosphere, and so one section in each issue will feature newly commissioned English translations of the latest Chinese-language research.

WCJ has an Editorial Team based in The Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing, with Dr Sarah Dodd and Dr Frances Weightman as Editors-in-Chief. They lead an international Editorial Board in supporting this new journal and shaping its growth. Dr Weightman said “there has never been a more important time to engage seriously with contemporary Chinese literature.” Dr Dodd added “We’re also looking forward to publishing newly translated works of Chinese scholarship, in order to really engage with current debates. We hope that the Journal will become a key platform for some of the exciting scholarship being carried out in this field. ” Alongside submissions received in response to this Call for Papers, the inaugural issue of WCJ will also include keynotes from Professor Bonnie S. McDougall (Honorary Associate in Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney and Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh) and renowned poet, academic, and translator Xi Chuan 西川 (Beijing University).

The journal is proud to be entirely Open Access, with no financial charges for authors who publish with WCJ. Kate Petherbridge, WRUP Press Manager, said “It’s great to see this journal put out its first Call for Papers. The articles published by WCJ will join the growing pool of high-quality scholarship available globally without financial barrier. It’s also fantastic to see that the journal charges no publication fees to authors, making it both free to publish with and free to read”.

The WCJ website gives more details on this Call for Papers, as well as information on Submissions and Author Guidelines. Expressions of interest should be addressed, in the first instance, to the Editors at, as should any general enquiries about the journal.

Frances Weightman

Issue 33.1 of MCLC

I am pleased, and somewhat relieved, to announce publication of the Spring 2021 (33.1) issue of MCLC, my last as editor of the journal. Find below the table of contents, with links to abstracts. My editor’s note, in which I introduce the new editors—Natascha Gentz and Christopher Rosenmeier—and offer a few observations on my tenure at the helm of the journal, is available as a pdf download. If you are so inclined, take a look.

Subscriber copies will be mailed out shortly. If you have any questions or concerns about your subscription, please contact Jennifer Nunes at She will be overseeing subscriptions until the full transition to the new editorial team and new publisher is completed, hopefully by this fall.

With bittersweet emotions,

Kirk Denton

Volume 33, Number 1 (Spring 2021) 

Translating the Occupation book launch

Translating the Occupation: Online Book Launch
Vancouver: 5pm (5 Aug)
Toronto: 8pm (5 Aug)
Taipei/Beijing: 8am (6 Aug)
Melbourne 10am (6 Aug)

We are proud to launch Translating the Occupation: The Japanese Invasion of China, 1931-1945. Coedited by Jonathan Henshaw, Craig A Smith, and Norman Smith and published with UBC Press, this volume brings together two dozen academics from Canada, China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the United States, and Australia in a novel approach that combines translation with the study of East Asian history. Join us for a discussion with the three coeditors and Professor Emerita Diana Lary.

Hosted by: Professor Emerita Diana Lary (UBC)


Norman Smith (University of Guelph)
Jonathan Henshaw (Academia Sinica)
Craig A Smith (University of Melbourne)

Register for this book launch: Eventbrite registration for Zoom event

From 1931 to 1945, as Japanese imperialism developed and spread throughout China, three regions experienced life under occupation: the puppet state of Manchukuo, East China, and North China. Each did so in a distinct manner, but making sense of experiences and decisions made during this crucial period has been an elusive goal for historians. Continue reading

Global Storytelling

HKBU launches Global Storytelling: Journal of Digital and Moving Images

The Center for Film and Moving Image Research at Hong Kong Baptist University has launched the inaugural issue of Global Storytelling: Journal of Digital and Moving Images.

Housed at the Academy of Film of HKBU and published by the University of Michigan Press, Global Storytelling is a peer-reviewed, open-access semiannual journal that serves as an international and interdisciplinary forum for intellectual debates concerning the politics, economics, culture, and technology of the moving image.

“No cinema or media journal has before focused on storytelling across multiple platforms and genres, theatrically and digitally both in its affect (emotional engagement) and effect (social impact). Examining how audio-visual narrative works and functions in its multifaceted formations and formats, this journal fills that void,” says Professor Ying Zhu, the Founding Chief Editor of the new journal, who is also Director of the Academy’s Centre for Film and Moving Image Research.

The inaugural issue of Global Storytelling includes 11 articles written by prominent academics and researchers on themes of Hong Kong and social movements, building and documenting national and transnational cinema, Sino-US relations, and the narrative of virus. Continue reading

Network of Concerned Historians 2021 report

The Annual Report 2021 of the Network of Concerned Historians (NCH) is now available (pdf; 167 pp.):

This is the 27th NCH Annual Report. It contains news about the domain where history and human rights intersect in 106 countries, especially about the censorship of history and the persecution of historians, archivists, and archaeologists around the globe, as reported by various human rights organizations and other sources. It mainly covers events and developments of 2020 and 2021. The fact that NCH presents this news does not imply that it shares the views and beliefs of the historians and others mentioned in it.

Made in China issue on civil society

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:

Then and Now: Looking Back and Imagining the Future of Chinese Civil Society

‘Prairie fires can’t consume them completely,
a spring breeze blows and again they rise’
— Grass, Bai Juyi, c. 787, cited by Ministry of Civil Affairs Comrade in Charge, 2021

In the spring of 2021, China’s central authorities issued a policy that seeks to change norms of civil society that have been established over the past 30 years. At a moment that portends a closing of the space for unregistered nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and a possible shift in the ways NGOs can emerge, evolve, and cooperate with other social and state entities, we thought it important to revisit the development of China’s civil society over the past decades. This exercise not only is important in enabling us to understand the shifts now taking place, but also reminds us of the possibilities that once were, and the possible futures that may be. With this issue, we wanted to bring together practitioners whose experience of running or participating in organisations and initiatives is invaluable both in and of itself and in helping us to reflect. We sought to bring their insights together with those of scholars who also have a deep interest, and often practical experience, in China’s organised civil society, studying its different aspects and dynamics. We hoped, too, to capture something of the vibrant diversity of organised civil society during its early (re-)emergence in the 1990s and to remember, as best we could, some of the early pioneers and possibilities. Continue reading

Cornell East Asia Series announcement

Dear colleagues,

I’m happy to announce that the Cornell East Asia Series, a press founded in 1973 in the East Asia Program at Cornell University, is now an imprint of the Cornell University Press. With new staff, new resources, and a new design for the series, we are open to new proposals and new manuscripts for the fall. We cover East Asian humanities generally but are also specifically interested in acquiring scholarship on contemporary Chinese poetry and fiction, Chinese media studies, works of scholarly and literary translation, translation theory, and translation/theory hybrid works. Our past publications include Petrus Liu’s Stateless Subjects, Andrew Jones’ first monograph Like a Knife, and Deathsong of the River, a translation and reader’s guide for the television series 河. Our full catalog is here and our guidelines are here. For questions, or to submit a proposal or manuscript, please contact our editor, Alexis Siemon, at

Thanks very much!

Nick Admussen
Associate Professor of Chinese Literature
Cornell University

Practices and Politics of Reading in China book series

Dear colleagues,

I would like to announce the launching of a new book series with Amsterdam University, entitled “Practices and Politics of Reading in China”. The geographical scope features China in its transcultural dimensions, i.e., including Taiwan, Hongkong, Macao, and Sinophone regions in East and Southeast Asia. Timewise, potential publications range from late Imperial China to the present.

As to content and method, this book series focuses on practices and politics of reading in China. It researches the social conditions under which texts were and are read, what influence these texts and the respective contexts had and have on the lives of individuals, on social, political, intellectual and literary change in China, and on the modes of production, distribution and consumption of political messages, of literature and culture. Reading, here, is not “just” the content of the proposed interdisciplinary studies. Rather, reading functions as a methodological approach to Chinese society, politics, economics, intellectual life, literature and culture, including its global dimensions. Reading is understood broadly as the interaction with and reception of texts, including scriptural, visual and acoustic texts. Therefore, the book series offers studies – and invites submissions – which investigate the conditions, practices and impacts of reading in China with an emphasis on ordinary readers. Methodologically, thus, the series offers new perspectives: away from the established focus on authors or the political context and to the impact of texts or institutional matters on readers and audiences.

We are welcoming both independent monographs and edited volumes.

The members or the editorial board are

Timothy Cheek, University of British Columbia, Canada
Robert Culp, Bard College, USA
Lena Henningsen, Freiburg, Germany
Paola Iovene, University of Chicago, USA
María Angélica Thumala Olave, University of Edinburgh, UK
Nicolai Volland, Penn State University, USA

For more info, please see the series’ webpage

Also, feel free to contact me.

Kind regards,

Lena Henningsen, Freiburg

Chinese Science Fiction during the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw

NEW PUBLICATION: Chinese Science Fiction during the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw
By Hua Li
University of Toronto Press, June 2021 | 9781487508234 | 248 pp | Hardcover $65.00

The late 1970s to the mid-1980s, a period commonly referred to as the post-Mao cultural thaw, was a key transitional phase in the evolution of Chinese science fiction. This period served as a bridge between science-popularization science fiction of the 1950s and 1960s and New Wave Chinese science fiction from the 1990s into the twenty-first century. Chinese Science Fiction during the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw surveys the field of Chinese science fiction and its multimedia practice, analysing and assessing science fiction works by well-known writers such as Ye Yonglie, Zheng Wenguang, Tong Enzheng, and Xiao Jianheng, as well as the often-overlooked tech–science fiction writers of the post-Mao thaw.

Exploring the socio-political and cultural dynamics of science-related Chinese literature during this period, Hua Li combines close readings of original Chinese literary texts with literary analysis informed by scholarship on science fiction as a genre, Chinese literary history, and media studies. Li argues that this science fiction of the post-Mao thaw began its rise as a type of government-backed literature, yet it often stirred up controversy and received pushback as a contentious and boundary-breaking genre. Topically structured and interdisciplinary in scope, Chinese Science Fiction during the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw will appeal to both scholars and fans of science fiction.

For further information:

The Protean World of Sanqu Songs, JCLC 8.1

Patricia Sieber (Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, The Ohio State University) guest-edited a special issue of the Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture (8:1, April 2021) on the topic of “The Protean World of Sanqu Songs.” The volume brings together work by established and emerging scholars from Asia, Europe, and the U.S. Collectively, the essays contribute toward a reappraisal of the cultural practices and social meanings surrounding the poetic and musical form of Yuan and Ming-dynasty sanqu songs. The issue is dedicated to Stephen H. West, one of the leading scholars of mid-imperial literature and Sieber’s PhD advisor.


Patricia Sieber, “The Protean World of Sanqu Songs”
For free access to the introduction, see


Wilt L. Idema, “The Ultimate Sanqu Song: Yao Shouzhong’s ‘The Complaint of the Ox’ and Its Place in Tanaka Kenji’s Scholarship”

Karin Myhre, “Performing the Emperor: Sui Jingchen’s ‘Han Gaozu Returns to His Home Village'”

Wenbo Chang, “Performing the Role of the Playwright: Jia Zhongming’s Sanqu Songs in the Supplement to The Register of Ghost


Jaehyuk Lee, “A Dialectic Between Genres and Extensions of Poetic Functions: Zhang Kejiu’s ‘Regulated Songs'”

Ye Ye. Trans. Erxin Wang, “Yuan Ming Sanqu Songs as Communal Texts: Discovering Their Literary Vitality from a New Research Perspective”

Tian Yuan Tan, “In Praise of This Prosperous and Harmonious Empire: Sanqu, Ming Anthologies, and the Imperial Court”


Patricia Sieber, Mario De Grandis, Ke Wang, Hui Yao, Jingying Gao, Ian McNally, Xu Yichun, and Jenn Marie Nunes, “In Search of Pure Sound: Sanqu Songs, Genre Aesthetics, and Translation Tactics”


Patricia Sieber, “A Flavor All Its Own: Some Theoretical Considerations on Sanqu Songs as Mixed-Register Literature”