Rudolf G. Wagner (1941-2019)

On October 25th, 2019 Rudolf G. Wagner died, surrounded by his family. He was 77 years old.

Heidelberg has lost one its great inspirations, one of the great European sinologists, who built one of the most important China libraries in Germany and Europe and became Spiritus Rector of Heidelberg’s Excellence Cluster Asia and Europe in a Global Context. From these beginnings, he built the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies and from it an entire Asia Campus has come into being, CATS, the Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies.

Rudolf G. Wagner was, if one may say so, a living specimen of “transcultural dynamics”: going back and forth between not just Harvard and Heidelberg, but Taipei and Beijing, Tokyo and Paris, and a variety of other places, too, he has been a constant presence to many of us, nevertheless (and he will continue to, in our memories). His frequent emails from anywhere and everywhere, tenor “get this, read this, buy this,” have been an unceasing stimulation. He has made us expand our visions and trajectories by fostering a spirit of openness, of discussion and often fierce, but always fair debate–full of bon mots, in the truest sense of the word–that involved the body and mind and that always included good food, good music, good art. He made us go to Théatre du Soleil, he took us to exhibitions of panopticons and much more, and he always reminded us, not to “never forget class struggle” (although that was also one of his concerns) but, “never to forget the Heidelberg opera.” He taught us multiple–and always intensive–ways of seeing, feeling, hearing. Continue reading

Ilham Tohti wins EU Human Rights Prize

Source: Sup China (10/28/19)
Jailed Uyghur Scholar Wins Top EU Human Rights Prize
Part of the SupChina Weekly Briefing newsletter

Photo credit: SupChina illustration

Like the U.S., European countries are getting louder on human rights in China after several years of relative silence. This month, jailed Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti received two human rights awards from Europe.

Poshek Fu essay wins award

MCLC is proud to announce that Poshek Fu’s essay, “More than Just Entertaining: Cinematic Containment and Asia’s Cold War in Hong Kong, 1949-1950,” published in MCLC 30.2 (Fall 2018), has been recommended as one of the Hong Kong Studies Annual Conference’s outstanding papers. Here’s the announcement.–Kirk

On behalf of The Academy of Hong Kong Studies (AHKS), we are very pleased to inform you that your paper entitled “More than Just Entertaining: Cinematic Containment and Asia’s Cold War in Hong Kong, 1949-1959” has been recommended as one of the outstanding papers for the 2019 Hong Kong Studies Annual Conference (HKSAC) to be held on 5 and 6 December 2019. Continue reading

Huang Yong Ping dead at 65

Source: Art News (10/20/19)
Huang Yong Ping, Provocateur Artist Who Pushed Chinese Art in New Directions, Has Died at 65
BY Alex Greenberger

Huang Yong Ping.


Huang Yong Ping, the Chinese artist whose propensity for provocation allowed him to address taboo subjects in China and beyond with audacity and wit, has died at 65. His death on Saturday was confirmed by Gladstone Gallery, which represented him in New York and Brussels. A representative for the gallery did not immediately state a cause of death.

In his sly installations and sculptural work, Huang often melded techniques derived from the history of Chinese art and international avant-garde movements alike. His ability to deftly combine seemingly opposed methods of art-making made him one of the foremost artists in an emergent group of Chinese artists during the late 1980s. Continue reading

Contemporary China Centre Blog

We are delighted to announce the launch of the Contemporary China Centre Blog.

Based at the University of Westminster, the Contemporary China Centre focuses on interdisciplinary research about contemporary China which is grounded in cultural studies. Our work builds on Westminster’s long-term commitment to Chinese Studies, at whose heart lies an engagement with Chinese language, cultural practice and production, and its critical analysis. We seek to complement social science-based research on contemporary China with a critical perspective from the Humanities.

Our new blog project brings together our research and expertise concerning the cultural dimensions of social and political transformation in China and the cutting-edge issues and agendas that are core features of China’s role in the global circulation of knowledge and cultural influence. It also seeks to promote the University of Westminster Archive’s China Visual Arts Project, which was founded in 1977 and holds over 800 Chinese propaganda posters, as well as a wealth of Chinese books, objects and ephemera dating from the 1940s to the 1980s. We hope that this project will contribute to ongoing debates and promote interdisciplinary dialogue about the social, cultural, political and historical dynamics that inform life in China today.

You can access the Contemporary China Centre Blog at: You can also read about our very first issue, which is entitled Fashion, Beauty and Nation, here: Continue reading

MLA election

Colleagues who are members of the MLA: If you have not affiliated with FIVE Forums, you may do so before October 15 and then vote in the upcoming Forum election for those five. I encourage you to consider one outside your comfort zone, such as TC Anthropology and Literature. I could use your vote! I am running for the TC Anthropology and Literature Forum Exec Ctte and am asking for your vote! Here is a little information about me. As a Chinese specialist, I may be unfamiliar to most of you but I’ve actually been a member of the MLA for 30 years and now am a Life Member. I am Professor of Chinese Cultural Studies and Chair of East Asian Studies at the University of Alberta. My research encompasses literature and film. I am the author most recently of The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien (Cambria, 2016) and a co-editor of the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to World Literature (5 vols.) due out in January. I am currently writing a book on filiality (intergenerational relations, respect for one’s elders, ancestor worship, kinship structure) in modern and contemporary Chinese literature and film, a topic traditionally considered the province of anthropology and ethnography. This study arises from his previous discussions of Hou Hsiao-hsien and Chinese/Taiwanese authors such as Bai Xianyong and Wang Wenxing, on whom I previously have published articles. I also have published an extended review article of Steven Sangren’s book Filial Obsessions in the most recent issue of China Review International. I have another review article on three recent books on filiality in the Qing dynasty that is forthcoming from CLEAR: Chinese Literature, Essays, Articles, and Reviews. I view serving on the Literature and Anthropology Forum Executive Committee as an opportunity more broadly to pursue such topics as family relations, kinship, the relationship of gender identity to biological and social reproduction, and ritual, as well as such efforts as linking literary and cinema studies scholarship with certain sectors of social science, such as cultural anthropology. I also see it as an opportunity for the Forum to branch out a bit and into non-Western literary and cultural studies. Previously, I served on the East Asian Division Executive Committee, the LLC Modern Chinese Forum (founding chair), the Delegate Assembly (three terms), the Elections Committee (one year as chair), and the Advisory Board of PMLA. I also have been President of the Association of Chinese and Comparative Literature and President of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association. I sincerely hope I can make it on to the Anthropology and Literature Forum. This will push me in new directions, allow me to bridge the gap between East Asian Studies and what have been more mainstream studies in the MLA, and meet a lot of new people. Thank you for considering this!

Christopher Lupke, Ph. D.  陸敬思
Professor and Chair, Department of East Asian Studies
Faculty of Arts
University of Alberta
3-32A Pembina Hall
Edmonton, AB T6G 2H8, Canada

Urgent appeal for Tashpolat Tiyip

Dr Tashpolat Tiyip, a leading Uyghur academic from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of the People’s Republic of China, is facing imminent execution.

Since 2014, organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Scholars at Risk have called attention to increasingly severe government repression in the XUAR. Extraordinary levels of human rights violations have been documented by human rights organisations, international media and in peer-reviewed scholarly articles.

The detention and prosecution of Dr Tiyip occurs against the backdrop of an apparent campaign by Chinese authorities to detain large numbers of ethnic minorities in the XUAR, including at least 435 prominent Uyghur, Kyrgyz, and Kazakh intellectuals and scholars. Human rights groups estimate that as many as one million members of these minority communities have been detained at centres for so-called ‘transformation through education’, now officially represented as ‘vocational training centres’. Continue reading

Academic publishing

Source: China Daily (8/29/19)
Beijing hosts meet to discuss future of academic publishing
By Fang Aiqing |

Scholars and publishers attend the meeting themed “University Publishing in the Context of Globalization——Past and Future”. [Photo provided to China Daily]

University publishers from home and abroad gathered in Beijing on Monday to discuss the past, present and future of academic publishing in a globalized, digitalized world.

The meeting themed “University Publishing in the Context of Globalization——Past and Future”, saw university publishing directors, publishing professionals and authors share their experiences on promoting academic dialogue and social progress, analyzing the opportunities and challenges university presses are facing, and also exploring development and cooperation prospects. Continue reading

13th Special Book Awards of China (1)

Here’s more information on the book awards.

“Translators from Australia, Canada and Russia were among the winners of the Special Book Award of China, which is the highest honour given to international publishing professionals who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of Chinese literature and culture overseas.  The award was established in 2005, and has been presented 12 times so far. Over the past years, 123 winners from 49 countries and regions have received the accolade. This year’s awards were made to:

• Bonnie Suzanne McDougall from Australia, Laureate Professor of the University of Sydney and translator who has been instrumental in developing young Chinese translators overseas as well as the publication of such books as Letters Between Two: Correspondence Between Lu Xun and Xu Guangping.
• Daniel Bell from Canada, who has pursued an academic career at Shandong University as well as producing monographs about Confucius culture and Chinese politics including The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy. Continue reading

13th Special Book Awards of China

Although she is not mentioned in the article below, Bonnie McDougall was also among the honorees for her outstanding contributions to the translation and publication of Chinese books, in addition to her work in promoting cultural exchanges and training translators in Chinese literature.–Alison Bailey <>

Source: China Daily (8/22/19)
China recognizes 15 in prestigious book awards
By Mei Jia


The Special Book Award of China, the top publishing award from the Chinese government, was given to 15 foreign translators, publishers, writers and Sinologists in Beijing on Tuesday to honor their contributions in bridging cultures and fostering understanding.

They include Polish publisher Andrzej Kacperski, who set up sections of Chinese titles in 100 Polish bookstores and hosted Reading About China book exhibitions; Staburova Jelena, the Latvian researcher of Chinese language and literature; and both the Nepali and Uzbek translators of Volume 1 of the global best-seller Xi Jinping: The Governance of China. Continue reading

Help save East Asian Studies at the University of Alberta

Dear MCLC list members,

My colleagues and I are facing the closure of our department, and we would like to ask for your help.

The University of Alberta is trying to merge our interdisciplinary Department of East Asian Studies with Modern Languages and Cultures (MLCS), a department dedicated to European languages and literatures.  That department has three times the number of faculty as we do, meaning that any merger would put control of East Asian teaching and research at our university in the hands of Europeanists.

Although this move is being pursued by Dean Lesley Cormack of the Faculty of Arts during a period of severe budget pressure, she has admitted in writing that closing our department would not result in any cost savings to the University.  Instead we believe that, by forcibly merging our department into the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, Dean Cormack is hoping to make up for  the relative weakness of European-language classes by grouping them with our much healthier registrations in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.  While we would be glad to support and advocate for our colleagues in that department, killing off our own department to keep them afloat is the wrong solution.  And this merger would indeed do great harm to interdisciplinary research and teaching about Asia at our university: our area-studies model would largely be stripped down to language teaching, and our resources handed over to a department dedicated to European culture.
Continue reading

Liu Wei Invisible Cities exhibition

Liu Wei: Invisible Cities
Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland
Mueller Family Gallery, Cohen Family Gallery, and Cahoon Lounge
September 13, 2019-January 5, 2020

Liu Wei’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States, Invisible Cities, takes its title from Italian writer Italo Calvino’s novella of the same name. Presented across two institutions (moCa and the Cleveland Museum of Art) and developed in direct response to both spaces’ architecture, Invisible Cities presents a constellation of works that employs abstraction and fragmentation to create new narratives. Like Calvino’s book—an imagined set of conversations between traveler Marco Polo and the emperor of the thirteenth-century Mongol Empire, Kublai Khan—Liu’s work examines how objects can function as physical traces and intangible links between the visible and invisible. From sculptures carved out of books, a series of cut-up and repurposed household appliances (a refrigerator, a washing machine, and a waffle maker), to architectural monuments made from rawhide dog chews, Liu asks us to examine the relationship between material and power. The installation of works in Invisible Cities echoes the cities Polo describes—fantastical, beguiling places where things are never as they seem—and emphasizes that the world we live in is infinitely larger than what we can see. Liu’s work is an evocative reminder that how we perceive and negotiate our relationship to place allows us to see the conditions of its very construction. Continue reading

Su Shaozhi dies at 96

Source: The Guardian (9/3/19)
Su Shaozhi obituary
Chinese political scientist who was forced into exile after the Tiananmen Square massacre
By John Gittings

Su Shaozhi was a prominent campaigner for reform of the Chinese Communist party

Su Shaozhi was a prominent campaigner for reform of the Chinese Communist party

The political scientist Su Shaozhi, who has died aged 96, was a campaigner for reform of the Chinese Communist party in the post-Mao years, until he was forced into exile after the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. Su was eventually allowed to return to China, but the news of his death has been ignored except on unofficial websites.

In his earlier career, Su would admit, he had “put obedience to the [Communist] party in first place”, churning out what was required to “elaborate the thoughts of Chairman Mao”. He made up for this in the 1980s by denouncing the party’s “feudalism and Stalinism” and proposing democratic reforms that are still unachieved. Privately he was even more outspoken, telling me in 1985 that “we need to make a clean sweep of the leadership”, which still insisted on rigid control. Continue reading

Animator Dai Tielang dies

Source: ACAS (Association for Chinese Animation Studies) (9/4/19)
Dai Tielang (1930-2019) Passed Away on September 4, 2019

Dai Tielang, widely known as the “father” of Police Chief Black Cat (Heimao jingzhang, 1984-1987), passed away at 8:40pm on September 4, 2019. Dai was born in Singapore in 1930. He graduated from the Animation Department of the Beijing Film Academy in 1953 and joined the Shanghai Animation Film Studio in the same year. He was an animation designer for a long time before starting to work as a director in 1979. His animated directorial debut was The Hens’ Relocation to a New Home (Muji banjia, cel animation, 1979). His films, often featuring scientific subject matter and catering to the interest of children, were very popular among young audiences. He also worked as art designer and screenwriter for his own films. From 1984-1987, he directed a well-known TV animation series Police Chief Black Cat, which won the first “Calf Award” (Tongniu jiang) in China in 1985. His film My Friend the Little Dolphin (Wode pengyou xiao haitun, cel animation, 1980) won the President’s Silver Award at the Italy International Children and Youth Film Festival.

Kay Ann Johnson obit

Source: The Boston Globe (9/18/19)
Kay Ann Johnson

JOHNSON, Kay Ann Age 73, of Amherst, MA, passed away on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 from complications of metastatic breast cancer. Born in Chicago, IL, she was the daughter of Helen Johnson and D. Gale Johnson, renowned agricultural economist, professor, and former provost of the University of Chicago. Kay earned her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was a professor of Asian studies and political science at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA for over 40 years. She authored three scholarly books, and her research on China’s one-child policy and adoption practices both within China and abroad has been foundational to the examination of the policy and its impact on countless people. She was also a dedicated and extraordinary teacher who supervised hundreds of undergraduate theses at Hampshire. In addition to the widescale impact of her scholarship, Kay was also one of the first parents to adopt a child from China, and contributed greatly to both the New England and New York chapters of Families with Children from China. Her humanitarian efforts also included an instrumental role with Fu Ai, an organization providing medical support to orphans affected by HIV and AIDS in Fuyang, China. Kay is survived by her husband, Bill Grohmann of Amherst, MA; her son, Jesse Johnson, 33, of Hefei, China, and his partner, Mutong; and daughter, LiLi Johnson, 28, of Madison, WI, and her partner, Andrew; her brother, David of Sinking Springs, PA and wife, Jennifer. A Memorial Service will be planned for the fall. For those wishing to make a donation in Kay’s memory, contributions can be made to the Hampshire Fund in her name at

Posted by: Rebecca Karl <>