2021 Newman Symposium featuring Yan Lianke

Dear Friends,

Please register for the 2021 Newman Symposium featuring Yan Lianke 阎连科 that will take place 8:00pm-9:30pm Eastern Time on March 18 (Thursday). We are excited to have four Yan Lianke scholars (Howard Choy, Shelley Chan, Eric Abrahamsen, and Carlos Rojas) to talk about the 7th Newman laureate from different perspectives.

Registration link: https://bit.ly/3ockrsN

Ping Zhu

Ordinary Days: A Memoir in Six Chapters review

Source: Taipei Times (2/4/21)
Book review: The internationalist writers
A mixture of literary references from different cultures and personal reminiscence makes this a fascinating book
By Bradley Winterton / Contributing reporter

Ordinary Days: A memoir in six chapters, by Leo Ou-fan Lee and Esther Yuk-ying Lee.

Leo Ou-fan Lee (李歐梵) is a professor emeritus at Hong Kong’s Chinese University, and Ordinary Days: A Memoir in Six Chapters is a record of his second, and current, marriage, written in conjunction with his wife Esther Yuk-ying Lee (李玉瑩). Both had been married before, and Leo was almost 60 when he finally married Esther in 2000.

The spirit of Taiwan is everywhere in this book. It’s essentially a series of reminiscences about their marriage by the two authors, but Leo, though born in China, studied at the National Taiwan University (NTU). His father lived in Taiwan and Leo returned to Taipei (one of many return visits) for his father’s funeral.

The book consciously echoes the 18th century memoir, Shen Fu’s (沈復) Six Records of a Floating Life (浮生六記, of which only 4 chapters survive). Another influence is Eileen Chang (張愛玲). Her famous tale Love in a Fallen City (傾城之戀) is re-used in this book as the title of Chapter 4. Continue reading

Paper Republic News #2

Source: Paper Republic (1/21/21)
Read all about it! – News #2
By Jack Hargreaves

Here it is, what you’ve all been waiting for, the definitive round-up of all things Chinese / literature / translation / everything in-between. It was brilliant after the first instalment to receive requests for newsletter subscription, which is definitely our aim — to have this drop in your inbox every two weeks — but for now it remains in its nascent form. If there’s anything you’d like to see more of, less of, just the right amount of, please comment below. If you’ve stumbled upon news we’ve missed, or on any stories or extracts (I’ve found zero (EDIT: two)), pop them in the comments too.

See you again in two weeks!

1. Acclaimed Chinese-language writer Yeng Pway Ngon 英培安 dies aged 73 — Author of Unrest (tr. Jeremy Tiang), Lonely Face (tr. Natascha Bruce) and much, much more. RIP.
2. Northwest Review open for submissions — they “really, really want to see as much translation as possible for Winter 2021!!” Continue reading

New editorial team

After more than twenty years as editor of MCLC, I will be stepping down this spring. In December of last year, the editorial board met via Zoom to discuss the relative merits of four proposals submitted by parties interested in taking over the editorship. It was a difficult decision, but in the end we chose a two-person editorial team–Natascha Gentz and Christopher Rosenmeier–of the University of Edinburgh. I am delighted to welcome them as the journal’s new editors.

The new editors will begin their duties with the fall 2021 issue. However, effective immediately, they will be overseeing the submission review process. All new submissions to the journal should be directed to the new editors and sent to the following email address: MCLC@ed.ac.uk. At least for the time being, I will continue on as manager of the MCLC Resource Center, running the MCLC LIST/BLOG and supervising book reviews and editing online publications.

Details about the journal’s future publisher and the handling of subscriptions still need to be worked out, but they should be finalized by the beginning of 2022. Printing, subscriptions, and distribution will remain the same until that time.

It has been my honor and pleasure to serve the field over the years. With Professors Gentz and Rosenmeier in charge, MCLC will be in good hands.

Kirk A. Denton
Editor, MCLC

Wu Fuhui dies at 82

Professor Wu Fuhui 吳福輝, a leading scholar of modern Chinese literature, passed away on January 15, 2021. He was 82. Wu was born in Shanghai in 1939 and grew up in Liaoning Province. He graduated from Peking University with a degree in Modern Chinese Literature in 1981. Wu’s research redefined the concept of “haipai wenxue” 海派文學 with a focus on the modernist writings by authors active in the 1920s-40s, such as Ye Lingfeng, Liu Na’ou, Mu Shiying, Shi Zhecun, Xu Xu, Wumingshi, and Eileen Chang. In the 1980s, Wu joined Qian Liqun, Wen Rumin, and Wang Chaobing to write and publish the landmark monograph, Three Decades of Modern Chinese Literature 中國現代文學三十年. He was the founding deputy director of the National Museum of Modern Chinese Literature. His latest publications includes A Cultural History of Modern Chinese Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2020). David Der-wei Wang wrote an introduction to this book, in which he presents the following overview of Wu’s life and work: Continue reading

Yeng Pway Ngon dies aged 73

Source: The Straits Times (1/12/21)
Acclaimed Chinese-language writer Yeng Pway Ngon dies aged 73
By Olivia Ho

Yeng Pway Ngon's work spanned genres, ranging across poetry, essays, plays and more.

Yeng Pway Ngon’s work spanned genres, ranging across poetry, essays, plays and more. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE – Yeng Pway Ngon, one of Singapore’s most eminent Chinese-language writers, died on Sunday (Jan 10) after a long battle with cancer.

The Cultural Medallion recipient and three-time Singapore Literature Prize winner was 16 days shy of his 74th birthday.

He wrote more than 20 works, including acclaimed novels such as Unrest (2002), Trivialities About Me And Myself (2006) and Art Studio (2011).

The latter two were selected by the journal Asia Weekly for its prestigious annual list of the 10 Best Chinese Novels in the World, alongside works by Nobel laureate Mo Yan and Yan Geling. Continue reading

Ezra Vogel 1930-2020

Source: Fairbank Center (12/21/20)
EZRA F. VOGEL 傅高义, 1930 – 2020

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved former director, colleague and friend Ezra F. Vogel (1930-2020), Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences, Emeritus, at Harvard University. He passed away on Sunday, December 20, 2020 at Mt Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA, at the age of 90, due to complications from surgery.

From 1973-1975, Professor Vogel served as the second director of the East Asian Research Center, which was founded in 1955 and later renamed the Fairbank Center in honor of its founding director, Professor John King Fairbank. Professor Vogel served as director again from 1995-99.

He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University (B.A.) in 1950 and then Harvard University (Ph.D. Sociology) in 1958, after which he then spent two years conducting fieldwork in Japan. He was Assistant Professor at Yale University from 1960-61 and a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University from 1961-64, studying Chinese language and history. He became a lecturer at Harvard in 1964 and a professor in 1967. Continue reading

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