In 2019, at a dinner conversation with several established China scholars, I mentioned that it is dangerous for me to return to China and do further research because of the dire situation in Xinjiang. A professor from China was puzzled, ‘Why is that? I go back to my field site every year!’ I sighed but quickly explained to her, ‘Because right now the government has campaigns targeting Turkic Muslim people, and I am from one of these communities.’ She still expressed disbelief and continued, ‘But you are not Uyghur—they are outrageous.’ I was utterly shocked this time and my mind went blank. A friend and colleague overheard us and intervened, which prompted the professor to defend her remarks: ‘normal Chinese people’ think that Uyghurs ‘are outrageous,’ she added. She offered the excuse that because she conducted fieldwork in eastern China and predominantly Han areas, her knowledge of Xinjiang was based on the ideas of people there. This, she thought, justified her bigoted pronouncements that Uyghurs ‘are outrageous’ and not ‘normal Chinese people.’ In the end, she deferred by saying that she was actually not very informed about Xinjiang and was simply quoting her interlocutors’ opinions. Continue reading →
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 →
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 河殇. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks very much!
Associate Professor of Chinese Literature
The MCLC Video Lecture Series continues to grow. Since Christopher Rosenmeier and I launched it nearly a year ago, we have added several new lectures, including, most recently, Eileen Cheng’s “Lu Xun: The ‘In-Between.'” To register to use the lectures in the series, please click here to fill out a short form. Once you complete the form, you will be sent an email with the password.
Hello, email inbox managers around the world! This is your fortnightly round-up of recent news regarding Chinese literature, the people who write it, the people who translate it, and the people who read it.
What’s going on these days? Yan Ge has switched to writing in English, that’s what. And how: her debut English-language story collection and novel have already sold, to Faber and Scribner. While this is obviously objectively awesome news, there is something a tiny bit bittersweet about it for those of us who translate. Nothing has been lost, we tell ourselves. Nothing lost! We have not asked Jeremy Tiang for a quote, but imagine him gazing fondly yet a little forlornly at a copy of Strange Beasts of China (which is hot in Philly).
If you’re tired of books (as if), why not watch some book-related movies next month? The Chinese Visual Festival has a great line-up of Chinese-language film, including a screening of Jia Zhangke’s Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue, a documentary about three Chinese authors (Yu Hua, Jia Pingwa, and Liang Hong) and their connection to the land. Note that the related event with Jia Pingwa and Liang Hong has been cancelled, as well as a few of the film screenings, as well as… Well, more about that in the next newsletter. Continue reading →
Robin Munro, human rights scholar and activist, and the author of pathbreaking studies of human rights abuses in China, passed away peacefully of complications from illness on May 19, 2021.
Robin was born in London on June 1, 1952, a brother to 4-year-old Sandra. He had a peripatetic childhood. His father Sandy was at the time a lecturer at King’s College London in physiology. When Sandy decided to study medicine, he and Robin’s mother, Ailie, sent Robin and Sandra in 1955 to live in Aberdeen for a year with their paternal grandparents and other extended family members, so that Sandy could better focus on his studies. It was a difficult time for both Robin and Sandra, despite the warm care they received, and was the beginning of a special closeness and love between them that lasted all of Robin’s life.
After his return from Aberdeen, Robin lived in London until 1958, when his father, who had always wanted to return to Scotland, took up a lectureship at the Veterinarian School at Glasgow University. In Glasgow, Robin went to Hillhead High School, where he flourished academically and personally. In 1962, however, his parents split up and his father moved to Edinburgh. After about a year, Robin asked if he could live with his father because he felt sorry for him and wished to support him, and with the consent of his mother went off to Edinburgh. This move, however, had an unhappy outcome; his father was in an emotionally unstable state and Robin was under unbearable pressure. Nevertheless, he managed to do well academically at George Watson’s College and got the necessary qualifications to enter Edinburgh University in 1969. Continue reading →
The stories were translated by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping and published by Yale University Press in 2020. This translating duo has worked on a number of stories by Can Xue, including the recent small format collection Purple Perilla (isolarii.com). They describe their work in an online interview at Three Percent, although only part of the interview is accessible.
The results of this year’s Newman Prize for English Jueju were also revealed and celebrated. Finally, the Newman Prize symposium can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/oRDRCR-prDg which featured a conversation about the winner’s work with leading experts on Yan Lianke: Shelley Chan, Howard Choy, Carlos Rojas, and Eric Abrahamsen, moderated by Zhu Ping and Hosted by Jonathan Stalling.
(CNN)Jeff Wasserstrom is a self-proclaimed China specialist who is seriously considering never returning to China — at least, he says, not while President Xi Jinping is in power.
The American professor, who for decades made multiple trips a year to China and was last there in 2018, hasn’t focused his career on Tibet or Taiwan — lightning-rod issues which attract Beijing’s ire at lightning-quick speed — but he has written about cultural diversity and student protests in mainland China, and appeared on panels with people he says the Communist Party is “clearly upset with.”
Three years ago, that made the California-based academic wonder if his visa application to China might be rejected.
Today, it makes him consider whether crossing the border risks his indefinite arbitrary detention. The chance of that outcome, Wasserstrom says, might be “pretty minimal,” but the consequences are so grave — those detained can be locked up for years without contact with their families or a trial date — he is not willing to gamble.
Okuma Yuichiro (hereafter referred to as OY):The Three-Body Problem tells a story about a female scientist who, having lost hope for humanity after her father’s death during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), initiates communications with aliens. Why did you choose the Cultural Revolution as the background of the story?
Liu Cixin (hereafter referred to as LCX): When conceiving this novel, I dove into modern Chinese history and looked for what can cause complete disillusionment with humanity. I found the Cultural Revolution. Even though the later Reform and Opening up have brought many challenges for Chinese people as well, none of those problems were enough to make someone lose hope in humanity and human civilization. Things like the COVID-19 pandemic unsettle us, but they are insignificant when compared to the upheaval of the Cultural Revolution. I came of age during the Cultural Revolution, which has made me more sensitive than younger generations to possible future crises or disasters. The future catastrophes depicted in my novel are not entirely fantasies, but exist in my subconscious. Of course, I only searched in Chinese history, if I looked for the context of the novel in world history, I might have found other historical periods of similar gravity. Continue reading →
I would like to invite you and your students to attend this year’s Newman Prize for Chinese Literature Award Ceremony and celebrate this year’s winner Yan Lianke with us. The event starts at 7Pm on Friday, March 19th but pre-registration is required. See image below for information. The registration link is: https://BIT.LY/2NK0QUe.
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.
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 →
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.