Yan Lianke wins Newman Prize 2021

Source: University of Oklahoma (10/30/20)
Yan Lianke Wins 2021 Newman Prize for Chinese Literature

Chinese novelist Yan Lianke

An international jury has selected the Chinese novelist Yan Lianke as the winner of the seventh Newman Prize for Chinese Literature.

Sponsored by the University of Oklahoma Institute for US-China Issues in the David L. Boren College of International Studies, the Newman Prize is awarded biennially in recognition of outstanding achievement in prose or poetry that best captures the human condition, and is conferred solely on the basis of literary merit. Any living author writing in Chinese is eligible. A jury of five distinguished literary experts nominated the seven poets last spring and selected the winner in a transparent voting process on Oct. 9, 2020.

Yan Lianke will receive $10,000, a commemorative plaque and a bronze medallion. He will be celebrated at an online symposium and award ceremony held on the OU Norman campus March 4-5. Yan Lianke was nominated for the prize by Eric Abrahamsen of Paper Republic. Other nominees and jurors include Wu He (舞鶴), nominated by Andrea Bachner (Cornell University), Su Tong (苏童), nominated by Yunte Huang (UC–Santa Barbara), Xu Xiaobin (徐小斌), nominated by Chen Xiaoming (Beijing University) and Lung Yingtai (龍應台), nominated by Eileen Chow (Duke University). Continue reading

Open letter to Monthly Review

This is a letter the Critical China Scholars organization put together in response to a report about Xinjiang promoted on the Monthly Review website. It is posted here for the information of those on the MCLC mailing list. The letter was sent to MR on Oct 19, 2020, and is also posted to the CCS website [https://criticalchinascholars.org/] and to our FB page, as well.

Rebecca E. Karl

19 October 2020

Dear friends at Monthly Review,

As scholars and activists committed to charting a course for an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist left in the midst of rising US-China tensions, we write in response to your recent republication of a “report and resource compilation” by the Qiao Collective on Xinjiang.

We fully acknowledge the need for a critique of America’s cynical and self-interested attacks on China’s domestic policies. We are committed to that task. But the left must draw a line at apologia for the campaign of harsh Islamophobic repression now taking place in Xinjiang.

Qiao’s “report” is written in a style that is sadly all too common in leftist discussions of China today. While the report “recognize[s] that there are aspects of PRC policy in Xinjiang to critique,” it finds no room for any such critique in its 15,000 words. Eschewing serious analysis, it compiles select political and biographical facts to suggestively point at, but not articulate, the intended conclusion – that claims of serious repression in Xinjiang can be dismissed. Continue reading

Doc on Florence Chia-ying Yeh

Source: China Daily (10/16/20)
Documentary chronicling 96-year-old literature master opens
By Xu Fan | chinadaily.com.cn |

A scene in the documentary Like the Dyer’s Hand. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Like the Dyer’s Hand, a 120-minute documentary about traditional Chinese literature scholar Florence Chia-ying Yeh, opens across more than 3,000 member cinemas of China National Arthouse Film Alliance today.

As the first biographical film authorized by Yeh, who turned 96 in July, the movie looks back at her legendary life through interweaving interviews of her and scholars and literature enthusiasts.

Producers said the crew traveled to 10 areas in China, the United States and Canada, and interviewed 43 people close to Yeh, mostly her students – such as writers Pai Hsien-yung, Hsi Muren and sinologist Stephen Owen. Continue reading

Zhang Jingyuan

Jingyuan Zhang
Associate Professor Emerita
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

It is with great sadness that we report the passing on September 23 of Jingyuan Zhang, Associate Professor Emerita in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Georgetown University, and member of the Steering Committee for the Comparative Literature Program. Professor Zhang joined the faculty at Georgetown in 1994, and retired this past summer. She held a B.A. and M.A. in English from Sichuan University of International Studies, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Cornell University. She held a tenured position in the Chinese Department and Institute of Comparative Literature at Peking University for three years before returning to the United States to teach at Cornell, U.C. Berkeley, and finally Georgetown. Her main research interests were in modern Chinese literature and culture, particularly in the relationship between Chinese psychoanalytic thought and literary practice, on which topic she was a leading authority. She published in both English and Chinese (including short stories and a newspaper essay column), and her work as a translator also made works by a number of important Chinese scholars accessible to English-speaking audiences. As Georgetown’s specialist on modern Chinese culture, she taught on a wide range of topics including Lu Xun and other major writers of the May 4th era, images of women in contemporary Chinese film, contemporary Chinese women writers, modern Chinese drama, and Chinese avant-garde fiction. Above her desk hung framed portraits of the leading Chinese authors of the 1930’s, alongside Virginia Woolf. At various times she also taught the introduction to Comparative Literature, bolstered the basic Chinese language program by teaching upper-level language courses, and mentored countless senior projects for both the Chinese and Comparative Literature programs. Continue reading

The Future of Chinese Studies in the US

Source: China File (8/27/20)
The Future of China Studies in the U.S.: A ChinaFile Conversation
The ChinaFile Conversation is a weekly, real-time discussion of China news, from a group of the world’s leading China experts.

Melissa Sue Gerrits—Getty Images. A student wearing a face mask studies outside the closed Wilson Library on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, August 18, 2020.

As an extraordinarily fraught school year begins, the study of China on U.S. campuses (or their new virtual equivalents), as well as China’s role in university life more broadly, has recently become a subject of scrutiny and debate. Last week, a group of China-focused political scientists outlined the “unique challenges” they feel educators now face when teaching about China in an atmosphere colored by Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, potential surveillance of online teaching platforms, stepped-up repression of dissent in China, the mass internment and persecution of members of ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang, and a growing hostility in U.S.-China relations. Their statement came on the heels of calls for Western universities to close satellite campuses in China, as well as an unusual letter from a U.S. Under Secretary of State to university governing boards urging a variety of measures to counteract what he described as the “the malign actions of the CCP [Chinese Communist Party]” threatening academic freedom, human dignity, university endowments, and intellectual property. Meanwhile, in China, Peking University last week issued rules requiring professors to seek permission 15 days in advance to attend international academic webinars (including those held in Hong Kong and Macau). And all of this is occurring against a backdrop of the various changes to study and teaching wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading

Online teaching suggestions

Dear MCLC Listmembers,

MCLC List would like to solicit input on teaching Modern Chinese Literature and Culture courses remotely via such platforms as ZOOM, myCourses, Blackboard, etc.

Many members are or soon will embark on a virgin semester of online teaching, and we are quite at sea about how to do such things as convert classroom-structured syllabuses, lectures, quizzes, tests, discussions, etc. to remote style teaching.

We would like to encourage members with experience in such matters to submit simple, short suggestions for preparing, structuring, lecturing, holding discussions, etc., anything that would be helpful to neophytes in online teaching.

The best way to submit a post is to send it directly to Kirk Denton (denton.2@osu.edu), with the subject line “Online teaching suggestions.”

Nicholas Kaldis <nkaldis@binghamton.edu>

Fulbright China/HK program

I’m forwarding this appeal for support for the Fulbright China Program, which the Trump administration seeks to end. I encourage you to join in.–Kirk

For those of who you don’t know me, my name’s Ned Downie, and I was a 2017-18 Fulbright at Yunnan University, studying Chinese investment in energy and agriculture in Southeast Asia. You all may have heard the recent announcement from the current administration that it wants to terminate Fulbright China/Hong Kong (exec order here, news coverage here). If you’re like me, the Fulbright was a hugely valuable opportunity for you: helping advance your research, getting to know new sides of China, making lifelong friendships, and much more.

I’m asking you to speak up on Fulbright China/HK’s behalf! There’s ongoing organizing by Fulbright China/HK grantees and alums: Here’s how you can help:

Spread the Word:

Sign this petition put together by current grantees / alums / Fulbright Lotus (a diversity initiative by and for Asian Fulbrighters). We’ve got 500+ signatures and counting — anyone can sign, not just Fulbrighters, so share it with your networks! Continue reading

Migrant Workers and Subalternity bibliography

Dear MCLC list members,

A new theme called “Migrant Workers and Subalternity” has been added to the MCLC Resource Center bibliographies. See https://u.osu.edu/mclc/bibliographies/lit/theme-1/#MWS. (One can also access the bibliography from the main MCLC Resource Center site, by clicking Bibliographies > Literature and then scrolling down to Theme.) The bibliography was compiled by yours truly, with the help of a dozen fellow scholars who were kind enough to offer feedback on a first draft. It includes material on literature and other arts and media (music, film, digital video, television, photography, art, museums/exhibtions, etc). I am grateful to Kirk Denton for retaining this approach in the theme’s presentation. List members are invited to point out any omissions and to suggest additions as new publications appear.

Migrant worker culture is an important component of Chinese cultural production today. It offers diverse entry points for scholars, translators, and other commentators such as labor activists. Keywords include migration, precarity, subalternity, rurality and urbanity, exile; labor, gender; social justice, activism; and the nexus of aesthetics and ideology (not to mention global capitalism). In addition to these generic categories, there is the question of cultural specificity or Chineseness. This is manifest in issues that range from migrant worker poetry’s claims of kinship with the Shijing tradition to the complexity of state-society relations in cultural production in the PRC today. An example of the latter is the interaction of the grassroots “cultural education” undertaken in the Picun Migrant Workers Home (music, a museum, digital video, literature, theater, “shadow” editions of the Spring Festival Gala, etc) with the cultural apparatus of the state. Continue reading

Taiwan Lit online journal/forum

Dear Friends,

We are happy to announce the publication of Taiwan Lit, a new online journal/critical forum on studies of literature and culture from Taiwan. The journal has evolved from a website project that faculty, alumni, and graduate students at The University of Texas at Austin have worked on for quite some time.  Ironically, it is the COVID-19 lockdown that has enabled us to reach the finish line.  The link is http://taiwanlit.org/.  Below is an outline of the website:


Taiwan Lit, launched in the summer of 2020, is an online journal centering on studies of Taiwan literature and culture. It aims to reinvigorate the intellectual climate of the field by building a transnational critical forum, disseminating substantive research ideas, and facilitating innovative modes of scholarly exchange.

We invite submissions in either English or Chinese with no fixed length requirements. Continue reading

Newman Prize 2021 nominees

The 2021 Newman Prize for Chinese Literature Nominations are in! Its an amazing group of authors (and jurors)!: Xu Xiaobin 徐小斌 nominated by Chen Xiaoming (Beijing University); Lung Yingtai 龍應台 nominated by Eileen Chow (Duke University); Su Tong 苏童 nominated by Huang Yunte (UC Santa Barbara); Wu He 舞鶴 nominated by Andrea Bachner (Cornell University); and Yan Lianke 阎连科 nominated by Eric Abrahamsen (Paper Republic).

The Newman Prize is sponsored by the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for US-China Issues, and is awarded every other year in recognition of outstanding achievement in prose or poetry that best captures the human condition. It is given solely on the basis of literary merit: any living author writing in Chinese is eligible. A jury of five literary experts nominated the five candidates and will select the winner in October through a transparent voting process. The winner will receive $10,000USD, a commemorative plaque, and a bronze medallion at an academic symposium and award banquet at OU in Norman in early March 2021. The event will be hosted by Jonathan Stalling, the Harold J. and Ruth Newman Chair for US-China Issues and Co-Director of the OU Institute for US-China Issues, which seeks to advance mutual trust in US-China relations. The inaugural Newman laureate Mo Yan (2009) went on to win the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature, and other Newman Prize winners have included Han Shaogong, Yang Mu, Chu T’ien-wen, Wang Anyi, and Xi Xi. The Newman Prize honors Harold J. and Ruth Newman, whose generous endowment of a chair at the University of Oklahoma enabled the creation of the OU Institute for US-China Issues. The University of Oklahoma is also home to Chinese Literature Today, the Chinese Literature Translation Archive, World Literature Today, and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

Stephen Soong Translation Awards 2019-20

Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards (2019–2020)
03 July 2020

It is with great pleasure that I hereby announce the results for the 22nd Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards (2019–2020) set up by Research Centre for Translation, Institute of Chinese Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards (2019–2020) Standard Awards:

JIANG Fan (Graduate Institute of Interpretation and Translation, Shanghai International Studies University)

“透過翻譯現象深化文學關係研究—— 再論亞瑟·韋利和王際真在《紅樓夢》英譯中的“夢境”之爭” [An Intertextual Approach to Literary Relations: Rethinking Arthur Waley and Wang Chi-chen’s “Dream Controversy” in the English Translation and Adaptation of Hongloumeng] (in Chinese), Translation Quarterly 翻譯季刊 91 (March 2019), pp. 27–58. Continue reading

Ye Yonglie dies at 79

Source: Sixth Tone (5/15/20)
Prolific Science Fiction Writer Ye Yonglie Dies at 79

(Image: People Visual)

Chinese author Ye Yonglie, often described as the country’s answer to the acclaimed American science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, died Friday at the age of 79.

Ye is known for his science fiction prowess, including introducing the genre to young readers. After graduating from the prestigious Peking University with a degree in chemistry, Ye published his famous children’s book “100,000 Whys” at the age of 20, establishing himself as an exciting new arrival to the country’s literary scene.

Born in August 1940 in the eastern city of Wenzhou, Ye started writing at the age of 11. At the time of his death, he had published over 180 works.

Harry Simon (1923-2019)

Posted by: Wah Guan Lim <wglim@unsw.edu.au>
Source: Sydney Herald News (3/10/20)
Torchbearer for Chinese studies at the University of Melbourne
By Andrew Endrey, Christopher Nailer and Carol Simon

Harry Simon.

Harry Simon.

Harry Felix Simon: September 13, 1923-July 7, 2019

Professor Harry Felix Simon, who led Chinese studies at the University of Melbourne for a remarkable 27 years, was born in Berlin on September 13, 1923.

His father, Professor Walter Simon, was lecturing in Chinese at the University of Berlin. Unable to retain his position following the Nazis’ rise to power, Walter departed with his family for England in March 1936, where he became professor of Chinese in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London.

Harry, aged 12, adjusted swiftly to England at the Thames Valley Grammar School. Following in his father’s footsteps, he studied Chinese at SOAS during the early years of World War II and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Regiment. By 1944, he was a service instructor in Chinese at London University; in 1947, he took up an appointment there as lecturer in Chinese. Continue reading

Taiwanese poet Yang Mu dies at 79

Source: Focus Taiwan (3/13/20)
Noted Taiwanese poet Yang Mu dies at 79
By Chen Cheng-wen, Chao Ching-yu and Elizabeth Hsu

Taiwanese poet Yang Mu (楊牧)

Taiwanese poet Yang Mu (楊牧)

Taipei, March 13 (CNA) Renowned Taiwanese poet, essayist and critic Yang Mu (楊牧) passed away at a hospital in Taipei Friday at the age of 79, according to his friend.

Yang had been suffering from respiratory and heart ailments in recent years, and was admitted to the intensive care unit of Cathay General Hospital last week after his health deteriorated further, Shiu Wen-wei (須文蔚), a professor at the Department of Sinophone Literature of National Dong Hwa University in Hualien County, told CNA. Continue reading

Eleanor Goodman wins Hanan Prize

Source: Notes on the Mosquito (3/13/20)

The Hanan Prize for Translation (China and Inner Asia) was established in 2015 and is given biennially to an outstanding English translation of a significant work in any genre originally written in Chinese or an Inner Asian Language, from any time period.

This year’s winner is Eleanor Goodman, for The Roots of Wisdom by Zang Di 臧棣 (Zephyr Press).

The Awards Ceremony was going to be at the upcoming AAS annual conference in Boston, MA on Friday, March 20, but the conference has been canceled.

Click here for all this year’s AAS awardees.