The Landscape of Historical Memory

For those interested, my book The Landscape of Historical Memory: The Politics of Museums and Memorial Culture in Post-Martial Law Taiwan, which was published this past spring, is now finally available through Amazon or the University of Chicago Press.

[Abstract] The Landscape of Historical Memory explores the place of museums and memorial culture in the contestation over historical memory in post–martial law Taiwan. The book is particularly oriented toward the role of politics—especially political parties—in the establishment, administration, architectural design, and historical narratives of museums. It is framed around the wrangling between the “blue camp” (the Nationalist Party, or KMT, and its supporters) and the “green camp” (Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP, and its supporters) over what facets of the past should be remembered and how they should be displayed in museums. Organized into chapters focused on particular types of museums and memorial spaces (such as archaeology museums, history museums, martyrs’ shrines, war museums, memorial halls, literature museums, ethnology museums, and ecomuseums), the book presents a broad overview of the state of museums in Taiwan in the past three decades. The case of Taiwan museums tells us much about Cold War politics and its legacy in East Asia; the role of culture, history, and memory in shaping identities in the “postcolonial” landscape of Taiwan; the politics of historical memory in an emergent democracy, especially in counterpoint to the politics of museums in the People’s Republic of China, which continues to be an authoritarian single party state; and the place of museums in a neoliberal economic climate.

Kirk Denton

Fantasy and Global Cities seminar–cfp

Klaudia Lee (City University of Hong Kong) and I have proposed a seminar on the theme of “Fantasy and Global Cities, 1830–1930” for the forthcoming American Comparative Literature Association conference in Taipei from June 15–18, 2022 (with contingency plans for an online conference if needed). The deadline for paper submission is this Sunday, October 31: We very much hope you will consider submitting a paper. Here is the CFP:

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Klaudia Lee (, or me (

More information on the ACLA conference can be found here: As mentioned, at the moment, the meeting is planned to be held in person, but it may be moved online–that decision will be made in January. If you are interested in the conference but can only attend if it is in a particular format, please e-mail Klaudia and me with details when you submit your proposal. Thank you!

All best,

Sharin Schroeder

Astronaut Wang Yaping faces sexism

Source: NYT (10/23/21)
She Is Breaking Glass Ceilings in Space, but Facing Sexism on Earth
Sanitary pads and makeup: A Chinese astronaut’s six-month stay aboard the country’s space station has revealed conflicted cultural values toward gender.
By Steven Lee Myers

Col. Wang Yaping, center, with Col. Ye Guangfu, left, and Maj. Gen. Zhai Zhigang at a pre-launch ceremony on Oct. 15 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China. Credit…Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Col. Wang Yaping is a pilot in the People’s Liberation Army’s Air Force. She is a space veteran, now making her second trip into orbit. She is set in the coming weeks to be the first Chinese woman to walk in space as China’s space station glides around Earth at 17,100 miles per hour.

And yet, as she began a six-month mission last week at the core of China’s ambitious space program, official and news media attention fixated as much on the comparative physiology of men and women, menstruation cycles, and the 5-year-old daughter she has left behind, as they did on her accomplishments. (No one asked about the children of her two male colleagues.)

Shortly before the launch, Pang Zhihao, an official with the China National Space Administration, let it be known that a cargo capsule had supplied the orbiting space station with sanitary napkins and cosmetics.

“Female astronauts may be in better condition after putting on makeup,” he said in remarks shown on CCTV, the state television network. Continue reading

Chinese Animation and Socialism

Dear Colleagues,

My new book, titled Chinese Animation and Socialism: From Animators’ Perspectives is available for purchase now. It was based on a conference held at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in April 2017. For the book description and table of contents:

For the video trailer of the conference/book:

Sincerely yours,

Daisy Yan Du

Building Other Bodies

Event: Building Other Bodies: A Conversation About Speculative Fiction In Translation

Members of this listserv may be interested in this Hong Kong International Literary Festival event, held virtually at 10:00 AM HKT on Saturday, November 6, which I am co-moderating. URL and information about tickets can be found here.

Building Other Bodies: A Conversation About Speculative Fiction In Translation

This event brings together writers and translators of speculative fiction from Taiwan, South Korea, and Kuwait: Mona Kareem, NEA-award-winning poet who translated Octavia Butler’s Kindred into Arabic in 2020; Bora Chung, author of the short story collection Cursed Bunny (Honford Star, 2021) and the collection’s PEN-Award-winning translator Anton Hur; Chi Ta-wei 紀大偉, author of the 1995 queer Taiwanese classic The Membranes (Columbia University Press, 2021), and the novel’s translator Ari Larissa Heinrich (translator of Qiu Miaojin’s Last Words from Montmartre (NYRB, 2014)). The conversation will explore the craft of writing speculative fiction, the challenges—both technical and institutional—of bringing these works into/out of English, and the problems of race, genre, and geography. The 90-minute discussion will be moderated by Dr. Claire Gullander-Drolet and Dr. Dylan Suher (Society of Fellows in the Humanities, University of Hong Kong), followed by a Q and A. Continue reading

CW&WL special issue on Chinese sci-fi

Dear list members,

The newest issue of Comparative Literature & World Literature (CLWL), a peer-reviewed, full-text academic journal in the field of comparative literature and world literature, is available for download at the following link. It’s a special issue on Chinese science fiction:

Here is the table of contents with individual download links:

Please spread the word about the journal and consider submitting your work for consideration. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.


Liang Luo
CL&WL Editorial Board Member

‘Buddhist beauties’

Source: China Media Project (10/8/21)
Shaming China’s “Buddhist Beauties”
The recent wave of criticism in China’s state media of online influencers appropriating the trappings of Buddhism is a cautionary tale about what happens when internet enforcement becomes rule by shame, an exercise in moral finger-pointing.
By Stella Chen

There have been continued moves by Chinese internet authorities in recent months to assert control over digital platforms – restraining their commercial appetites and moral failings as well as their political/ideological impact. This has affected not just the handling of big data, but a wide range of social and cultural activities as well, from fandoms to online gaming.

Setting the tone for what would become a broad crackdown on the country’s internet sector, Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) chief Xu Lin (徐麟) said late last year of the application of big data and new technologies to the economy and society: “[We must] resolutely prevent the weakening of the Party’s leadership in the name of integrated development, and must resolutely prevent the risk of capital manipulating public opinion.”

One focus of concern for the authorities has been restraining the role of influencers, or wanghong (网红), the mostly young internet personalities who have drawn large followings. And since last month, one group of wanghong in particular has drawn fire from Party-state media outlets, held out as an example of the corrupting influence of commercialism online.

Meet China’s “Buddhist beauties.”

The term “Buddhist beauty,” or foyuan (佛媛), is a more recent addition to the online lexicon in China, applied to online influencers who pose themselves in Buddhist contexts, surrounded by Buddhist objects and rituals. They depict themselves lighting incense, studying the sutras, performing ritual bows, or eating in Buddhist vegetarian restaurants. They often appear delicate and demure in these spiritual settings, but their environments are often salted with commercial brands and products. Continue reading

Topping the inequality rankings

Source: China Media Project (10/12/21)
Topping the Inequality Rankings
When a recent news headline pegged China as leading the world with its high Gini coefficient, some web users flushed with patriotic pride. But hang on . . . . Isn’t a high Gini coefficient a mark of deep income disparity?
By Stella Chen (CMP Researcher)

Migrant workers on the worksite in China. Image available at Wikimedia Commons under CC license.

Warnings over income inequality have been a regular theme in Chinese politics over the past two decades, as rapid economic growth has turned the country and economic powerhouse but widened the gap between the richest and the poorest. One measure of inequality constantly reported and debated over the years has been the Gini coefficient, a statistic measuring the amount of inequality that exists in a population on a scale from 0 to 1, with a number closer to 1 indicating a greater level of inequality.

No country should hope for a high Gini index ranking. But as news of China’s Gini coefficient was shared across the internet last month, quoting a State Council adviser, the statistic was turned on its head, interpreted by some as an indicator of the country’s growing global prowess.

The confusion apparently originated with a September 25 online report from Beijing Business Daily (北京商报), a newspaper published by the Beijing Daily Newspaper Group, directly under the capital city’s municipal committee of the Chinese Communist Party. That story bore the headline: “State Council Adviser Tang Min: China’s Gini Coefficient Tops Global Rankings With Income Disparity Rather High” (国务院参事汤敏: 中国基尼系数在世界排名靠前, 收入差距较高). Continue reading

Schools impede women from entering male professions

Source: NYT (10/21/21)
As Chinese Women Seek to Crack Male Professions, Schools Stand in the Way
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
In China, some academic programs accept only men or cap the number of female applicants, who often must test higher than their male counterparts.
By Joy Dong

A graduation ceremony at Renmin University in Beijing last year. Credit…Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

When Vincy Li applied to a prestigious police academy graduate program in China, she knew her odds of success were low. After all, the school set quotas, typically capping the number of female students at no more than a quarter of the student body.

But her chances were even lower. When the school released admissions results earlier this year, just five out of 140 students who had tested into the program — less than 4 percent — were female, even though more than 1,000 women had applied. And the lowest-scoring woman to get in did 40 points better than the lowest-scoring male applicant who was admitted, according to the school’s admission data.

For Ms. Li, the message was clear: Women weren’t welcome.

“Female students were totally shocked,” said Ms. Li, who had spent more than a year preparing for the exam. “I don’t understand why they don’t even offer those academic opportunities to us.” Continue reading

“Fragile” music video

This new music video “Fragile” is something else!

“It might Break Your Pinky Heart” by Namewee 黃明志 Ft.Kimberley Chen 陳芳語【Fragile 玻璃心】@鬼才做音樂 2021 Ghosician. Premiered Oct 15, 2021.

  • A nice writeup:

Malaysian rapper Namewee breaks the hearts of mainland Chinese ‘little pinks’ – Namewee and Kimberly Chen’s music is now banned in China.” Written by Oiwan Lam, Global Voices, 19 October 2021.

The Chinese lyrics are fantastic, the English translation a little bit halting, but you get it. (Can’t read the Malay subtitles). The lyrics even mentions the camps and the forced confessions — and are otherwise chock full of allusions to things like the pro-Chinese govt trolls’ disgusting “NMSL” curse, “Your Mom Is Dead.” Also the apples and pineapples, referring to the Chinese regime’s weaponizing of Taiwan fruits; etc. etc. Every sentence politically loaded, while at the same time it can all be read like it’s about complaining about an impossibly thin-skinned and abusive-domineering boyfriend, with a “heart of glass”, always angry and always smashing something, yet always insisting “You Belong to Me.”

In the end, the main thing may be how the Chinese regime is proving the singer-songwriter Namewee 100% right — by censoring him and Kimberley! These massively popular Chinese-language singers are now banned in China. Simply out of spite. Ha — their song just passed beyond ten million views now on Youtube.

I confess I watched it twice.

Magnus Fiskesjö,

U of Maryland position

Assistant Professor in Sinophone Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park

The School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Maryland, College Park, invites applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor in Sinophone Cinema and Media Studies beginning Fall 2022. The successful candidate will be jointly appointed in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and the Program in Cinema and Media Studies. Qualified candidates will demonstrate recognized potential for excellence in scholarship, as well as interest and experience in teaching a wide range of courses in Chinese language and literature, modern Chinese culture and intellectual history, and film history and theory. Native or near-native fluency in both Mandarin and English is required. PhD must be in hand at time of employment.

The successful candidate will be expected to teach four courses per year (two in East Asian Languages and Cultures and two in Cinema and Media Studies) and to contribute to interdisciplinary initiatives in SLLC and across the university. The School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures is committed to increasing the diversity of the campus community. Candidates should show a strong commitment to teaching and mentoring a diverse student population; candidates who have experience working with a diverse range of faculty, staff, and students and who can contribute to a climate of inclusivity are encouraged to identify their experiences in these areas. Individuals from underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply.

For full consideration, applicants should submit: a cover letter, CV, a one-page statement of teaching philosophy plus a sample syllabus, a representative writing sample in English of no more than 20 pages, and the names and contact information for three references who may be contacted for confidential letters of recommendation. All materials must be uploaded to the University of Maryland web-based employment application (eTerp) system at by the application deadline of November 22, 2021. This search is contingent upon the availability of funds.

The University of Maryland, College Park, actively subscribes to a policy of equal employment opportunity, and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, and gender identity or expression. Minorities and women are encouraged to apply.

Posted by: Chanel A.Briscoe <>

Scripted murders

Source: NYT (10/16/21)
China’s Latest Craze: Scripted Murders, With Real Tears and Piracy
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
“Scripted homicide” clubs have opened around the country as young people look for ways to escape and connect. Naturally, the government has questions.
By Azi Paybarah and Isabelle Niu

Players preparing to take part in the murder mystery game “The Haunted Mansion” at a role play studio in Shanghai last year. Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The murders are scripted. The money is real.

In cities throughout China, young people are flocking to clubs to play a game that can be translated as “scripted homicide,” where they become different characters and spend hours solving fake murders.

This macabre entertainment is expected to generate more than $2 billion in revenue this year, by one count. The growing popularity has sparked some concerns from Chinese government officials about their sometimes gothic or gory content. It has also led to a proliferation of clubs and competition for new and compelling scripts that players and owners alike say has become, well, cutthroat.

“There’s a huge demand for good scripts that’s just not met,” said Zhang Yi, 28, a Shanghai resident who played more than 90 games in just over a year. “The script is the foundation to everything in this game.”

Scripted homicides, known as jubensha in Chinese, require players to gather in a group to discuss a fake murder or other crime. Each player is assigned a character from a script, including one who plays the murderer. Then they engage in an elaborate role-playing game, asking questions of the host and each other, until they determine which one of them did the deed. Continue reading

Mulan lecture

What Disney (and the Rest of Us) Can Learn from the Earliest Surviving Mulan Film
Christopher Rea, Professor of Modern Chinese Literature, University of British Columbia

Film to preview: Hua Mu Lan (Mulan Joins the Army, Mulan Congjun, 木蘭從軍, 1939), directed by Richard Poh (Bu Wancang)
Recommended film: Niki Caro, Mulan (2020)

Chinese-language Cinemas: Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan
(Virtual Zoom talks and film screenings)

This weekly series of six virtual lectures and accompanying films is curated by Tanya Shilina-Conte, assistant professor of Global Film Studies in the UB Department of English and curator of the annual riverrun Global Film Series. This virtual series is cosponsored by the UB Confucius Institute and UB Center for Global Film.

To register and obtain links for the lectures and films, please email Continue reading

Wei Desheng events

Wei Te-Sheng, director of “Cape No. 7” and “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale,” will be speaking at two free online events this week. The talks are hosted by the Department of Asian Studies of the University of British Columbia, and sponsored by the Taiwan Ministry of Culture, as part of the speaker series “Indigenous Taiwan, Transpacific Connections.”

Wei will be speaking about the making of, as well as representations of Indigenous peoples in, his films.

On Thursday, October 21 at 4pm Pacific Time, Wei will be in conversation with UBC Assistant Professor of Chinese Popular Culture Dr. Renren Yang.

On Friday, October 22 at 4pm Pacific Time, Wei will be in conversation with UBC Assistant Professor of Indigenous Lifeways in Asia (and Indigenous filmmaker) Dr. Aynur Kadir.

Details and free registration for both events at:

About the “Indigenous Taiwan, Transpacific Connections” speaker series:

Huron University College position

Probationary Position – Tenure-Track Appointment (Chinese Culture)

The Department of French and Asian Studies at Huron University College invites applications for a full-time probationary (tenure-track) appointment at the rank of Assistant professor, commencing July 1, 2022, subject to final budgetary approval. The successful applicant is expected to teach or design an advanced-level Chinese language course for professional purposes, as well as courses in modern and contemporary Chinese culture. Experience and interest in developing experiential learning opportunities for the Chinese program would be an asset.

Candidates for the position will have obtained a relevant PhD by the starting date, an excellent command of both English and Chinese languages, and a clear and verifiable record of success in teaching in both languages at the undergraduate level to a diverse student body. They are also expected to maintain an active research agenda and engage in enhancing the academic strength of the department and college.

To apply, please send (by email) a letter of application, including a summary of their teaching and research interests, curriculum vitae, and a pedagogical dossier (including a statement of teaching philosophy, evidence of successful teaching, and three sample course plans), and contact information for three references to: Dr. Yan Lu, Coordinator, Chinese Program, Department of French and Asian Studies, Huron University College E: W:

The closing date for receipt of applications is Friday, December 31, 2021 at 11:59pm.

For more information about this position, please visit

Posted by: Yan Lu <>