The Leiden University Library offers online access to a growing digital collection of China’s unofficial poetry journals. Key agents of cultural renewal after the Mao era, these journals are hugely influential yet difficult to access. The Leiden digital collection addresses this paradox.
Click here for a web lecture on the the topic of the journals at large, with abundant visuals. Click here for a video on accessing the online material. The material is best viewed on a computer. Functionality on smartphones and tablets is limited. Loading can be slow but this will hopefully improve in future.
In a major expansion of the collection, it now contains our full holdings for key publications such as Today (今天), Second-Growth Forest (次生林), Them (他们), At Sea (海上), Not-Not (非非), Poetry Reference (诗参考), the nationwide Modern Chinese Poetry (现代汉诗), the groundbreaking women’s writing journal Wings (翼), and the iconoclastic The Lower Body (下半身). A full list is found below. The items were selected with an eye to diversity in terms of poetics and regional provenance.
These recent additions to the digital collection were enabled by a generous gift from Dr. Freerk Heule. The support of Chinese poets and editors has been invaluable for building the physical collection (accessible here in full) and remains so for the digitization project.
We are working together with colleagues at Fudan University to further expand the digital collection. New additions will be announced in due course, depending on funding. If you can help us find potential sponsors or would like to support the project yourself, please get in touch.
Read on for some quick tips on accessing the material and the full list of our digital holdings to date. Enjoy!
Maghiel van Crevel and Marc Gilbert Continue reading
For those of you who don’t have access to the service through libraries, JSTOR is now offering free open access to vol. 30, no. 1 (Spring 2018) of MCLC, a special issue on Chinese Literature as World Literature, guest edited by Kuei-fen Chiu and Yingjin Zhang. Here’s the link:
Jiefang Ribao is included in WiseSearch (https://wisesearch6.wisers.net/) from Wisers in Hong Kong starting from the issues August 2000 onwards. Many libraries subscribe to this database.
You can also try the 全国报刊索引 (https://www.cnbksy.com). They have indexed 解放日报(上海) 1955-2019 (but I am not sure how complete the index is). You can order individual articles for scanning. Some libraries offer to cover this for their readers.
Chinese Studies Librarian
East Asian Library
Does anyone know if Shanghai’s Jiefang ribao is available in digital format? I find only a listing for microfilm copy in Library of Congress.
Eva S. Chou <email@example.com>
I am Xiaoxiao Xin, a second-year PhD candidate at School of Foreign Languages, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, P. R. China, and now a visiting student at The Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing, University of Leeds, UK.
I am now doing my PhD dissertation on the translation and reception of Can Xue’s works in the English-speaking world, paying particular attention to her influence among US and UK universities. I am wondering if you happen to know something about it, for example, which works of Can Xue are often read in courses like modern and contemporary Chinese literature and culture. I would greatly appreciate it if you could let me know. Please contact me off-list at the email below.
Thank you very much for your time and help in advance.
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
Michael Day posted the following on the MCLC Facebook page as a response to my query:
“Well, it wasn’t until the 1990s that pets were even allowed in China (for obvious reasons, I should think)… so, only Hu and Xi would be fair game on this one…. so, nothing I can find on Hu, but lots on Xi … as in his wife and him have a dog as a pet, and pics like this: http://english.sina.com/china/p/2012/0219/441270.html“–Michael Day
I still can’t find traces of dictator Xi having his own dog — but will keep looking. Would be fascinating to look at how the dog is presented to the public, if it is.
(It’s hard to believe that he would keep a dog. Many dogs owned by the rich and powerful in China seem to be mainly for social prestige, not for petting or companionship, and it still is surely an un-Communist thing to do, insofar as the powerful still pretend to be Communists – as Xi would. There is also a certain newly antagonistic social gap between the masses, and those rich cadres who can keep dogs for prestige or other purposes, as opposed to the pets of the middle classes. Example: https://www.refworld.org/docid/51b0458d18.html.) Continue reading
A friend asked: has any Communist leader in China ever been seen in public showing kindness to an animal. Not sure of the answer. Seems one has to go back to Buddhist emperors doing the fangsheng thing
although that is mostly a kind of hypocrisy, of course.
There is one obvious “branding” reason Chinese Communist leaders do not have pets like lapdogs or cats: such animals were long associated with bourgeois habits and this political tradition is still strong. Also includes bourgeois wastefulness in wasting food on a pet when it could go to the Poor, hypocritically speaking. So, for a leader to hold a dog or a cat and suggest it was his, or even petting a different dog, would probably NOT look good politically.
Does anyone have a better theory, or better observations?
Dear Chinese scholars,
We’ve been working with vendors supplying Chinese language e-resources to seek free full access to their databases through June to support online teaching and research in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. We are glad to share that we have prepared a list of over 100 databases with generous support from a variety of vendors and publishers.
We have also been communicating with vendors and asking for flexible pricing models to address our unique needs, such as tier-based or user size-based models. We’d like to encourage you to ask your library to advocate for flexible pricing models when contacting the vendors so that more libraries could afford the needed resources.
We are grateful to the vendors and publishers for understanding the impact of the current global COVID-19 pandemic on our community and making content available and accessible during this challenging time. We hope these resources will facilitate your teaching and research. Wish you, your family, and students stay healthy and safe.
East Asian Studies Librarian at UC Santa Barbara
Secretary (2018-2021), Council on East Asian Libraries
Chair (2020-2022), Committee for Information Exchange, Society for Chinese Studies Librarians
Chinese Studies Librarian at Columbia University
Chair (2020-2023), Committee on Chinese Materials, Council on East Asian Libraries
My name is Lesya, 爱丽丝 in Chinese. I live in Bologna, Italy where I’m finishing my studies. I’m attending graduate school, specializing in Far East Studies, so I’m also studying Chinese language and culture. The subject of my final thesis is 春联, Spring Festival Couplets. My purpose is to give a deep analysis of the couplets from a social and anthropological point of view. I want to focus on the evolution of the couplets in an urban area, such as Beijing or Shanghai, then offer a comparison with a more rural area, such as Hakka regions of Fujian province. Unfortunately, I have had problems finding a lot of information about this subject in English. So I wonder if list members could suggest scholarly articles, books, or websites about Chinese Spring Festival, Chinese New Year Couplets, and other important celebrations that would be helpful for my work. Please contact me off-list at the email below.
Lesya Uhrak <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dear MCLC List members,
Leiden University Libraries holds an internationally unique Special Collection of unofficial (minjian) poetry journals from China.
These journals travel widely among Chinese poets, critics, and researchers. As such, they are hugely influential. But paradoxically, they are difficult to access, sometimes to the point of becoming almost legendary — because they generally operate outside the official infrastructure of bookstores and libraries.
Now, a digital collection of twelve early items in the Leiden collection (about 1000 pages in all) is full-text available online, for students, educators, researchers and other readers.
This pilot project was undertaken in close collaboration with the editors of the journals in question. Fundraising efforts to digitize more material are underway.
The entry page offers a list of related content, including a web lecture by Maghiel van Crevel, with abundant visuals and intended as an educational resource. (Rotate the prezi / slides / speaker screens using the pop-up button in the top right corner of the biggest screen.) Continue reading
Until what date was Hokkien (Taiwanese) banned in schools in Taiwan? I ask because I am writing on the subject for a dissertation. Thank you.
Dan Auckland <email@example.com>
My running bibliography on the Xinjiang concentration camps has been updated, at:
Also, three important things to report from yesterday:
1. In Geneva, in her FIRST speech, the new UN chair of the human rights commission, Michelle Bachelet (former Chilean president who was once herself a political prisoner), expressed grave concerns about the Xinjiang camps, and demanded full access to all of China, including Xinjiang, for her high office:
F.y.i.: the Xinjiang bibliography posted here earlier, is now online, and updated: https://uhrp.org/featured-articles/chinas-re-education-concentration-camps-xinjiang. It will be updated again later.
BTW, this new video, “Are Muslim Uyghurs being brainwashed by the Chinese state? Eye-witnesses and human rights experts claim up to 1 million people are being held in ‘re-education camps’ in China.” – BBC Newsnight, Published on Aug 30, 2018,
According to eyewitness accounts in this video, victims imprisoned in the Xinjiang camps face the erasure of not just their ethnicity and religion, but their dignity and personalities:
“Like robots … they were like someone who lost their memory after a car crash…” one of them says, of people he used to know, seeing them after they’ve been broken in the camps. Continue reading
List members might be interested in my review of ANGELS WEAR WHITE (嘉年华, Vivian Qu, 2017) for CINEASTE magazine. I analyzed the film as a cruel coming-of-age story in which girls are coerced into a femininity of objectification and victimization, and discussed the film’s use of the tropes of neo-noir and its avoidance of melodrama. Many thanks for your advice or comment!