Decadence in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Nan Hu’s review of Decadence in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture: A Comparative and Literary-Historical Reevaluation, by Hongjian Wang. The review appears below and at its online home: My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC’s literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, MCLC

Decadence in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture:
A Comparative and Literary-Historical Reevaluation

By Hongjian Wang

Reviewed by Nan Hu

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright November, 2021)

Hongjian Wang, Decadence in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture: A Comparative and Literary-Historical Reevaluation Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2020. viii+252 pp. ISBN: 9781621965435 (hardcover).

Decadence in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture: A Comparative and Literary-Historical Reevaluation is a necessary and long-awaited revision to the extant scholarship and common perceptions of “Decadent” literature in China.[1] Following an introductory discussion of the history and origins of the term, Hongjian Wang works through a series of studies of seven prominent writers, devoting a separate chapter to each and revealing not only specific ways in which each writer engages with Decadence, but also the cultural and social dynamics fueling the emergence and development of Chinese Decadent literature from the 1920s through the 2000s. Along with the introduction and a conclusion, the seven chapters are divided into three thematically- and chronologically-titled parts: Part I, “Seeing Romanticism through Decadence: Tuifei Writers in the 1920s and 1930s,” is comprised of one chapter on Yu Dafu 郁达夫 and one on Shao Xunmei 邵洵美; Part II, “Farewell to Revolution: Critical Fin-De-Siécle-ization in the Late 1980s and Early 1990s,” analyzes the works of Yu Hua 余华 and Su Tong 苏童, respectively; while Part III, “Performing Perversion: Decadence with Chinese Characteristics from the Mid-1980s to the Turn of the Century,” looks at three writers—Wang Shuo 王朔, Wang Xiaobo 王小波, and Yin Lichuan 尹丽川. Regarding the gap from the late 1930s to the late 1970s, Wang explains that Decadent writing at that time was suppressed by patriotic and nationalistic discourses during the second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) and then by leftist/communist-inspired politics and ideology in the subsequent civil war (1945-1949) and throughout the Mao era (1949-1976). Continue reading

Prism 18.2

嶺南大學人文研究中心 Research Centre for Humanities Research at Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature 18:2

Special Issue:  Chinese Literature across the Borderlands
Guested edited by David Der-wei Wang, Kyle Shermuk, and Miya Qiong Xie

Here is an excerpt of David Wang’s introduction:

This special issue seeks to explore the shifting definitions of the borderland as a geopolitical space, a territorial gateway, a contact zone, a liminal terrain, a “state of exception,” and an imaginary portal. In eleven essays, this issue explores the intersection of ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and ecological dynamics that inform the cartography of the Chinese borderland, from the Northeast to the Southwest, from Inner Mongolia to Tibet, and from Nanyang 南洋 (Southeast Asia) to Nanmei 南美 (Latin America). It reflects on the recent, interdisciplinary growth in understanding the characteristics of borders and frontiers, including migration and settlement, cultural hybridity, and transnationalism. It also examines the boundaries of literature as it manifests itself in multiple forms of media and mediation.

The cover art of Prism 18:2 is courtesy of David Wang’s own Chinese landscape ink painting.

Posted by: Heidi Huang

Indigenous artist to represent Taiwan at Venice Biennale

Source: Focus Taiwan (11/19/21)
Indigenous artist to represent Taiwan at 2022 Venice Biennale
By Ken Wang

Artist Sakuliu (right) and the exhibition

Artist Sakuliu (right) and the exhibition’s curator Patrick Flores. Photo courtesy of Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Taipei, Nov. 19 (CNA) A veteran Indigenous artist will represent Taiwan at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, which is organizing the Taiwan Pavilion at the event, said on Friday.

Sakuliu, an artist from Taiwan’s Paiwan people, will create a spiritual site at the Taiwan Pavilion and fill it with new works including sculptures, installation, and animation inspired by the Paiwan mythology and culture, the museum said.

The exhibition, titled “Kinerapan: Right of Crawling,” will tell a contemporary story through the traditional Paiwan narrative.

“Kinerapan” is a Paiwan word, which carries a wide range of meanings from the “crawling” of a plant to “scope, distance and depth,” such as the area covered by a vast forest, the distance traveled by a river, or the space inhabited by a species. The word also implies the farthest distance one’s imagination can reach, according to the museum. Continue reading

Renditions 96

翻譯研究中心 Research Centre for Translation
《譯叢》第96期 (2021 年秋刊)
Renditions no. 96 (Autumn 2021)

Renditions no. 96 contains a wide variety of stimulating pieces: it begins with a special section on Transregional Singapore Chinese Literature, which consists of short pieces by Singapore writers who have spent considerable time studying in Taiwan. Following is a selection of humorous anecdotes from the sixth century and a collection of poems from various times taking Hangzhou’s West Lake as location and theme. The final three stories are from the modern period, and all revolve around important political issues.

SPECIAL SECTION: Transregional Singapore Chinese Literature

Cheow Thia Chan, Introductory Note

Quah Sy Ren, Dreaming of a Piece of Sky, The Stage; translated by Jeremy Tiang

Yin Songwei, Musings on Mu Xin’s Haikus; translated by Loo Jiaming; Fengkuei, Notes of a Foreigner; translated by Elizabeth Wijaya

Chua Chim Kang, A Ramble Through the Heart, A Semi-Coherent Attempt at Self-Justification; translated by Tan Dan Feng Continue reading

The Afterlife of Taiwan’s Xiangtu Literature

The Afterlife of Taiwan’s Xiangtu Literature
Speaker: Chen Li-Ping
Date: 1 December 2021   Time: 5:00-7:00 PM
Venue: Virtual Event
This session will be held using Microsoft Teams. Click the LINK to join.

This talk revisits the development of nativist literature in Taiwan from the 1930s to the postcolonial era. I begin with an overview of the term xiangtu, particularly in relation to colonial resistance, local consciousness, and self-empowerment. The emphasis on locality, however, reinforces the settler colonial structure and territorial attachments that marginalize Taiwan’s indigenous communities and archipelagic network. With a close examination of the overlooked allusion to African cultural nationalism and the understudied contribution of overseas intellectuals in the xiangtu discourse, I point out the ultimate task of decolonization is to move beyond nativism in order to foster inter-community solidarity where all forms of hegemonic forces and coercive measures can be dismantled.

Posted by: Li-Ping Chen <>

Searching for Peng Shuai

Source: China Media Project (11/23/21)
Searching for Peng Shuai
Through posts on Twitter and Facebook, Chinese state media outlets and associated personalities have tried to ease concerns about the wellbeing of tennis star Peng Shuai. But the extreme nature of the restraints on speech about Peng, and the appropriation of her voice by the organs of external propaganda, should be seen as sufficient proof that she is now subject to restraints on her personal freedom.
By David Bandurski

Peng Shuai plays at the 2010 US Open. Image by Robbie Mendelson available at Wikimedia Commons under CC license.

The case of Chinese tennis champion Peng Shuai (彭帅) entered a bizarre new phase last week as the overseas accounts of Chinese state-media and associated media personalities made an apparently concerted effort to allay growing concerns internationally about the athlete’s wellbeing. But the extreme nature of the restraints on speech about Peng, and the appropriation of her voice by the organs of external propaganda, should be sufficient proof that she is now subject to serious restraints on her personal freedom.

“The Thing People Talked About”

On November 18, more than two weeks after Peng’s November 2 post accusing former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli (张高丽) of sexual assault, CGTN, the international arm of the state-run China Media Group, posted a letter to Twitter that Peng Shuai had reportedly sent to Steve Simon, the chairman of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). In the letter, Peng seemed to claim that she was “not missing, nor am I unsafe.” “I’ve just been resting at home and everything is fine,” the letter said. Continue reading

The Wa People Between China and Southeast Asia

Book Talk: “The Wa People Between China and Southeast Asia.”
Center for East Asian Studies / Southeast Asia Colloquium, University of Pennsylvania, Tuesday, November 23, 2021, 12:30 noon.

= about my new book on the Wa people of Burma/China: Stories from an Ancient Land: Perspectives on Wa History and Culture (Berghahn, 2021).

Zoom registration, and more info.

Also here


Magnus Fiskesjö,

UNC MA Program info session (corrected date and time)

UNC warmly invites all prospective  students to a virtual open house for those considering applying to our MA program in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Interdisciplinary and Chinese track):

Topic: UNC-Chapel Hill MA Grad program open house
Time: Dec 1, 2021 05:00-06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 969 6835 6729

There is no need to register. At this meeting you’ll meet a few faculty and staff in the department, learn about the program, and have a chance to ask questions.

Posted by: Robin Visser

First Covid case was a vendor at Wuhan market

Source: NYT (11/18/21)
First Known Covid Case Was Vendor at Wuhan Market, Scientist Says
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
A new review of early Covid-19 cases in the journal Science will revive, though certainly not settle, the debate over how the pandemic began.
By Carl ZimmerBenjamin Mueller and Chris Buckley

Medical staff assisted a Covid patient into an ambulance in Wuhan, China, in March 2020. Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A scientist who has pored over public accounts of early Covid-19 cases in China reported on Thursday that an influential World Health Organization inquiry had most likely gotten the early chronology of the pandemic wrong. The new analysis suggests that the first known patient sickened with the coronavirus was a vendor in a large Wuhan animal market, not an accountant who lived many miles from it.

The report, published on Thursday in the prestigious journal Science, will revive, though certainly not settle, the debate over whether the pandemic started with a spillover from wildlife sold at the market, a leak from a Wuhan virology lab or some other way. The search for the origins of the greatest public health catastrophe in a century has fueled geopolitical battles, with few new facts emerging in recent months to resolve the question.

The scientist, Michael Worobey, a leading expert in tracing the evolution of viruses at the University of Arizona, came upon timeline discrepancies by combing through what had already been made public in medical journals, as well as video interviews in a Chinese news outlet with people believed to have the first two documented infections. Continue reading

Leiden University position

POSITION: University Lecturer Digital China, Leiden University
Deadline: 14 December 2021

The faculty of Humanities, Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) is looking for a University Lecturer Digital China (1,00 FTE)
Vacancy number: 21-585 10083

The Faculty of Humanities at Leiden University invites applications for a fulltime University Lectureship in digital China. As University Lecturer, you will hold a position within the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), which has the ambition to be a leading centre for the study of digital China. Your expertise will complement the existing portfolio at Leiden in pursuit of that goal. In addition to conducting research, you will teach courses in the institute’s relevant BA programmes, the newly established undergraduate minor in disinformation studies, and the (Res)MA Asian Studies and MA International Relations. You will supervise BA and MA theses in all these programmes.

We invite applications from scholars with a strong background in humanities and social science research and teaching, with a focus on area studies and the digital processes that shape the Chinese-speaking world. In your research, you should demonstrate an ability to combine methodological approaches ranging from qualitative to computational research techniques and integrate such approaches with an emphasis on area studies, driven by linguistic knowledge, cultural and historical expertise, and a general curiosity for diverse human interactions in digital spaces. You should be able to communicate this focus to a wide audience and should demonstrate an ability to engage with students and colleagues of Asian studies more broadly, including pre-20th century humanities. Continue reading

Chinese Science Fiction during the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publicatiaon of Yingying Huang’s review of Chinese Science Fiction during the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw, by Hua Li. The review appears below and at its online home: My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, MCLC

Chinese Science Fiction
during the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw

By Hua Li

Reviewed by Yingying Huang

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright November, 2021)

Hua Li, Chinese Science Fiction during the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2021. x + 234 pp. ISBN: 9781487508234 (cloth)

The recent history of Chinese science fiction has unfolded in staccato rhythm, punctuated by abrupt suspensions. The incorporation and popularization of science in PRC creative literature, begun in the 1950s and 1960s, was first interrupted by the Cultural Revolution. It then resumed with a brief boom from the late 1970s through the early 1980s, during the cultural thaw of the early reform era, then again came to a halt in 1983 with the launch of the short-lived Campaign to Eliminate Spiritual Pollution (清除精神污染运动). It did not experience robust revival until the 1990s, the beginning of what Mingwei Song calls “New Wave Chinese SF” that continues to the present.[1] During this most recent wave, both the subjects and style of the genre have been utterly transformed, displaying a new degree of complexity that is often attributed more to the influence of translated works than seen as an outgrowth of domestic developments. Continue reading

Growing anger over Peng Shuai’s #MeToo accusation

Source: NYT (11/18/21)
China Can’t Censor Away Growing Anger Over Athlete’s #MeToo Accusation
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
The tennis world is outraged over the latest twist in a star player’s complaint of assault and abrupt disappearance from public life.
By Alexandra Stevenson and 

Peng Shuai at the Australian Open in Melbourne in January 2020. Credit…Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

First came the shocking #MeToo accusation by a famous athlete against one of China’s top leaders. Then came the accuser’s disappearance from public view, one so thorough that questions swirled about her health and personal safety.

The authorities in China had hoped the apparatus of a repressive state could simply make the whole thing go away. Instead, an accusation by the tennis player Peng Shuai that she was sexually assaulted by a former vice premier, Zhang Gaoli, continues to confront the political establishment as few things have.

The latest pushback on China’s effort to squelch the accusation came early on Thursday after Chinese state media tried to refute it, while saying Ms. Peng was safe and sound. It published an email purportedly written by Ms. Peng herself, saying the sexual assault accusations were not true and asking for officials who run women’s tennis to stop meddling.

The response by the Women’s Tennis Association just hours later was unequivocal, suggesting that the email was very likely a crude fraud. “I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her,” said Steve Simon, the association’s executive director. Continue reading

Qiu Miaojin conference

Qiu Miaojin: Textuality, Visuality, and Desire in Global Circulation

Qiu Miaojin: Textuality, Visuality, and Desire in Global Circulation
December 4, 2021 (Saturday), 9am-5:30pm (HKT)
On ZOOM: Please register and the ZOOM link will be sent to you prior to the event:

This conference engages with the literary works of Qiu Miaojin, a famous lesbian and queer writer of Taiwan whose premature death in 1995 marks a watershed moment in queer and literary discourses both in and out of Taiwan. Qiu’s queer classic Notes of a Crocodile (1994) centers on a lesbian protagonist who assumes a non-human alter ego of a crocodile in the narration. Showcasing the clever use of irony, sarcasm, and dark humor, Qiu’s first novel instantly became a defining work of lesbian queer fiction in Taiwan. Qiu’s writing career ended too early when she committed suicide at the young age of twenty-six, leaving us with her last work called Last Words from Montmartre (1996). Recently, filmmaker Evans Chan has also completed a full feature film called Love and Death in Montmartre (2019). This conference brings together scholars who are interested in the lifework of Qiu by considering the impact of her works across the fields of film studies, literary studies, affect theory, queer studies, animal studies, and translation theory. It takes the specific case of Qiu’s lifework to investigate how the mobility of queer desire enables a kind of cross-genre, transmedial, and transnational mode of textuality. Presenters will situate the cultural phenomenon of Qiu Miaojin in broader comparative and global perspectives. The conference brings together literary and cultural critics, a filmmaker, and creative writers from Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, North America, and the UK.

*Film screening: Love and Death in Montmartre 蒙馬特之愛與死 (2019), directed by Evans Chan (Vimeo link will be sent to you prior to the event.) Continue reading

Fordham position

Fordham University, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies
For details, see

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Fordham University (New York City) invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies to be based primarily at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus, beginning Fall 2022. We have particular interest in candidates working in political science or social science fields such as international studies with a primary focus on China. Potential areas of expertise may include: politics and political economy of China and their global implications, political philosophy, comparative politics, environmental politics and policy, social care practices, international relations, international security, peace and conflict studies. We will also consider candidates in the field of modern or contemporary Chinese history. The applicant’s research must be interdisciplinary, demonstrate a transnational approach to the study of China, and show a commitment to a non-Eurocentric methodology.

Posting Date:  11/05/2021
Closing Date: 02/03/2022

Posted by: Yiju Huang

Inquiry regarding donation of Chinese books

I am writing on behalf of our family friend who passed away last year and left behind a large collection of Chinese books on Chinese literature, roughly estimated to be about 30-35 boxes.  His family wishes to find a university or individual scholars interested in taking the entire or a subcategory of the entire collection and to donate a significant part of his book collections. He collected Chinese academic books in the field of Chinese history (pre-modern to modern), linguistics (pre-modern to contemporary studies of Chinese dialects), literature (pre-modern, modern, and contemporary), as well as many books on Chinese modern and contemporary fiction, literary criticism, and other titles that would be classified under general cultural studies.  Altogether the collection is more than 1,000 Chinese books.  For those interested in taking only part of the collection, the family will ask for the individuals to cover the delivery cost of the books to be shipped with the USPS media mail rate.

The book collection includes the following subcategories: Continue reading